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November 20, 2017

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Counter Intelligence: French Master Chefs; 2014 Vegas Uncork’d demand skyrockets


L.E. Baskow

Executive chef Olivier Dubreuil shows his excitement at the start of La Cucina’s Grand Banquet at the Venetian on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.

Vegas Uncork’d Preview Dinner at Joel Robuchon

The Vegas Uncork’d preview dinner at Joel Robuchon on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in MGM Grand. Launch slideshow »

2013 Vegas Uncork'd: Mansion by Joel Robuchon

Bon Appetit hosts the 7th annual Vegas Uncork'd on Saturday, May 11, 2013, in Las Vegas. (Isaac Brekken for Bon Appetit) Launch slideshow »

2013 Vegas Uncork'd: Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand

Chef Joel Robuchon conducts a cooking & wine demo presented by Bon Appetit as they host the 7th annual Vegas Uncork'd on Friday, May 10, 2013, in Las Vegas. (Isaac Brekken for Bon Appetit) Launch slideshow »

Hot off the grill!

For the first time since its inception 59 years ago, the General Assembly of French Master Chefs (Maitres Cuisiners de France) hold its worldwide meetings in the United States today through Sunday here in Las Vegas. The event also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the American and Canadian delegations and the U.S. Chapter of L’Academie Culinaire de France.

The Venetian and Palazzo executive chef Olivier Dubreuil, who also is a Master Chef of France, masterminded the five-day event at the Venetian and Palazzo. “Being a Master Chef of France is the most envied title that chefs aspire to have, but not everyone can become a Maitre Cuisinier,” said Olivier.

The organization’s mission is “to preserve and spread the French culinary arts, encourage training in cuisine and assist professional development.” Nearly 150 Master Chefs arrived today at the Venetian to review 2013’s accomplishments and look ahead to next year.

New members will be added to the Master Chef list with an induction ceremony at Thursday night’s Friendship Dinner, with a Woman of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday.

Five of the 12 new inductees are Las Vegas-related chefs: Olivier; Claude Le Tohic (Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand), Steven Benjamin (L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand); Jean Joho (Eiffel Tower at Paris) and David Werly (Mandarin Oriental). Chef of the Century Joel Robuchon has flown in from Paris for the ceremonies.

On Saturday, 12 chefs and 12 wineries will team up for a Master Tour de France dinner on the Strip at the outdoor Doges Palace of the Venetian, which will be open to the public.

VEGAS UNCORK’D: Demand from food fanatics around the country for our upcoming eighth-annual Vegas Uncork’d food and wine festival with 70 of the world’s best chefs is almost more than double last year, and already 12 of the 31 dining events have sold out before the May 8 kickoff.

On Tuesday night, Joel hosted a preview of his extraordinary MGM Grand restaurant experience planned for May 10. Joel served an amazing seven-course meal and hosted a tour of his never-before-seen kitchen for 20 Vegas Uncork’d fans and Strip hotel organizers.

He dazzled with extraordinary dishes of caviar, truffles, foie gras, beet gazpacho and herb ravioli, ending with a raspberry dome on mascarpone with red fruit coulis and capico jelly. Superb and fantastic don’t begin to do justice. We were all reduced to silent respect mumbling ooh’s and aah’s in unison.

This year’s Vegas Uncork’d is bigger than ever with more hotel resorts, chefs, events and guests. There will be a collaborative dinner with Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis, a luncheon with Thomas Keller, celebrity golf with Mario Batali and the first-ever High Roller package at MGM Grand with Joel.

Mario will join with “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro as headline mentors for two Cordon Bleu students battling for $20,000 in scholarships over a sizzling grill. Star chefs include Daniel Boulud, Gordon Ramsay, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Julian Serrano, Guy Savoy, Michael Mina, Pierre Gagnaire, Nobu Matsuhisa, Shawn McClain, Thomas Keller and Masayoshi Takayama. Go to for full program details and ticket sales.

I DO (JE FAIS): Joel’s restaurant at MGM Grand is one of the most romantic dining spots on the Strip, and now he’s letting you celebrate your marriage in the elegant setting reminiscent of Paris in the 1930s. For your wedding day, use his picturesque Parisian terrace with its vertical garden of ivy landscape design providing the magical backdrop.

You also get a post-ceremony toast in the jewel box Apertif Lounge, followed by an elegant five-course meal by the master in the private dining room. The $6,000 fee also includes bridal hairstyling, a bouquet and matching boutonnieres, a limo to and from the courthouse for the marriage license, a violinist, two hours of photography, a “Grand Beginnings” DVD of the ceremony and the minister or judge to preside over the “I do’s — je fais.”

Guy Savoy and Robin Leach at Caesars Palace

Robin Leach and Guy Savoy at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Caesars Palace. Launch slideshow »

2012 Vegas Uncork'd: Border Grill, Michael Mina, Jose Andres

Day 2 of 2012 Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit with Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken and Adam Rapoport at Border Grill, Michael Mina at Stripsteak and Jose Andres at Jaleo on Friday, May 11, 2012.
Launch slideshow »

GIANT TRUFFLE: The largest black truffle in the history of Caesars Palace weighing 1.17 pounds and measuring 6 inches was delivered to Guy’s celebrated restaurant there. You have just a few days left now until the black truffle menu ends its run. Guy has created eight black truffle Prestige menus, with the seven courses priced at $420 per person. Don’t forget his separate and always available artichoke and black truffle soup.

The truffle was unearthed in the French region of Perigord by a specially trained dog. Guy also is celebrating his second consecutive five-star Forbes Award. His is one of just three Las Vegas restaurants to receive the 55th annual award. Since opening seven years ago, Guy has won multiple other honors.

SECOND BORDER GRILL: Border Grill chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger will open a second Las Vegas location inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace this summer, their seventh U.S. location.

“We’ve been considering a second Las Vegas location for a while, keeping our eyes open for the right opportunity,” said Mary Sue. “We are thrilled to be opening with a vibrant, cutting-edge design, as well as lots of new dishes to showcase the latest and greatest ingredients we’ve discovered.”

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.

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