Erik Kabik / Retna / ErikKabik.com
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 | 2:01 a.m.
Do you have what it takes to go up against “Hell’s Kitchen” tormentor Gordon Ramsay? Could you take his ferocious temper and abusive screaming while you cooked? Would you dare give him back as good (or bad) as he venomously dishes out?
You will have that opportunity when Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit returns to the Strip from April 23-26. Star chefs including Michael Mina, Masa Takayama, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Guy Savoy will join Gordon. Julian Serrano also will debut his restaurant Lago at Bellagio.
“This is truly the only weekend each year when world-class chefs gather in one destination to host intimate dinners where they push culinary innovation and mix and mingle with their fans and peers,” said Adam Rapoport, Bon Appetit editor in chief. First-ever auto sponsor Buick will join returning sponsor Chase Sapphire Preferred for the feasting festival now in its ninth year.
Tickets go on sale today at VegasUncorked.com for perennial favorites the Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace and the returning Chef’s Counter: All-Star Feast at Aria. Additionally, there will be new events including Prime Time with Jean-Georges inside his Prime steakhouse at Bellagio; The House of Lago: An Italian-Style Brunch in Julian’s soon-to-open Lago; and In “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon at Caesars.
“Las Vegas continues to prove itself as one of the most dynamic culinary destinations in the world,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Our partnership with Bon Appetit raises the bar even higher by providing the once-in-a-lifetime experience to be up close with culinary masterminds.”
This year, Vegas Uncork’d will have a new dimension by incorporating the partnership between Bon Appetit and Bravo to put the winner of the network’s newest TV series, “Best New Restaurant,” in the spotlight at the Grand Tasting.
“Best New Restaurant,” produced and hosted by Las Vegas celebrity chef Tom Colicchio (MGM Grand and Mirage), will chronicle chefs from 16 restaurants across the country as they are challenged with tasks testing their performance, strength of staff and clarity of concept.
Chase Sapphire Preferred will allow cardholders to enjoy reserved tickets to coveted events and have exclusive access to interactive experiences with the chefs, including an intimate Spanish brunch with Julian and an opportunity to mingle with chefs inside the Chase Sapphire Preferred VIP lounge atop Neptune pool at Caesar’s Garden of the Gods during the Grand Tasting.
New and notable events on sale as of today include:
* In “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay, Saturday, April 25: Think you can take the heat in Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen”? Don’t miss this one-time opportunity to feel what it’s like to be a contestant on the competition TV show. During this event, guests will be divided into red and blue teams and get to experience the action of “Hell’s Kitchen” as Gordon fires up one of his signature dishes during a live cooking demo. All red and blue team participants will enjoy a corresponding dinner along with Gordon and his “Hell’s Kitchen” winning chefs Christina Wilson (Planet Hollywood) and Scott Commings (Caesars Palace).
* The House of Lago: An Italian-Style Brunch, Sunday, April 26: Be one of the first to experience the new restaurant’s outdoor patio from chef Julian. Opening in early 2015, Lago will offer a new take on social dining with a menu of Italian small plates and a build-your-own brunch cocktail bar.
* Prime Time with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Thursday, April 23: Chef Jean-Georges invites you to experience steakhouse dining at its finest. At his outdoor garden patio with close-up views of the Bellagio Fountains, the four-course dinner showcasing various cuts of beef with wine pairings will be served by Jean-Georges himself.
* Master Series: Decadent Delights with Master Chocolatier Francois Payard, Thursday, April 23: Experience French fare at its finest at Master Chocolatier François Payard’s patisserie in Caesars. With its atmosphere of a Parisian bistro, Francois will serve sweet and savory canapes and one-of-a-kind chocolate creations paired with wines.
* Beer and The Beast, Sunday, April 26: Renowned for his commitment to using sustainable and organically raised products, Sensi executive chef Royden Ellamar will take head-to-tail cooking to the extreme during this carnivore’s dream dinner. Large platters of whole cooked animals, including pig and goat, will be presented to guests throughout the meat-filled meal to be enjoyed with craft brews.
* Celebrity Chef Brunch: A French Affair, Sunday, April 26: Ooh la la! Enjoy classic French fare from an all-star roster of celebrated chefs: Jean-Georges, Michael Mina, Jean-Philippe Maury and Julian. During this daytime soiree at Michael’s new Bardot Brasserie, you’ll dine on a brunch featuring French dishes from each chef paired with French wines all while taking in the sounds of a French jazz band.
* The returning favorites are all intact, and the blockbuster is the Grand Tasting on Friday, April 24. More than 50 of the world’s most-celebrated chefs take over Garden of the Gods to serve their taste treats with free-flowing wines and spirits from around the world. Beat the crowd with an Early Access ticket.
The weekend itself kicks off in true Las Vegas style with the Chefs’ Counter: All-Star Feast, Thursday, April 23: : Aria’s lineup of celebrity chefs including Jean-Georges, Julian and Michael take over the Buffet at Aria and put their gourmet spin on self-service-style dining with unlimited champagne.
* Master Series Dinner: Beef & Bourbon Dinner at Old Homestead, Thursday, April 23: The Master Series Dinner with Greg Sherry is back by popular demand, but this year he’s created a lineup of steakhouse-style dishes to be paired with bourbons. Don’t miss your chance to experience the best-aged and hand-selected meats accompanied by bourbon during a seated dinner.
* Master Series: Pastry Savvy with Francois Payard, Friday, April 24: Chef Francois invites you to Payard Patisserie & Bistro for a behind-the-scenes look at how his French pastries are created. Guests will learn master techniques from one of the world’s most-renowned pastry chefs.
* Mix Master: Pour Like a Pro, Saturday, April 25: Break out your best bartending skills during this interactive cocktail competition and seminar. Before the throwdown, participants will get creative inspiration as they watch master bartender and mixology expert Craig Schoettler shake up Aria’s signature drinks. Then contestants will break up into teams, choose from fresh market ingredients and compete to see who can mix up the best original cocktail. The winning team will score a grand prize and have their drink featured on the menu.
* Little Italy From City to Strip: Rao’s Italian Brunch with The Pellegrinos, Sunday, April 26: Say ciao to an afternoon affair at Rao’s where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Southern Italy. Join Frank Pellegrino Sr. & Frank Pellegrino Jr. for a multicourse feast featuring favorite family recipes, specialties and entertainment that comes with a traditional Italian Sunday meal.
* Third Annual Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge returns this year with two Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts students battling as sous chefs alongside celebrity chefs for scholarships.
More events and chefs will be announced in the coming weeks, including details about the expanded Master Series Dinner program, which will now stretch across multiple Strip properties throughout the weekend.
Eat, drink and be merry at what’s become one of the finest dining weekends anywhere in the world. For additional information and to purchase tickets, please visit VegasUncorked.com.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.