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October 21, 2017

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Photos: Chefs kick off eighth-annual Vegas Uncork’d with sabers for sparkling ceremony


Tom Donoghue /

The saber-off for the eighth-annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at the Venetian.

2014 VUBBA: Saber-Off at Venetian

The saber-off for the eighth-annual Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at the Venetian. Launch slideshow »
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Chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Sirio Maccioni attend the saber-off for the eighth-annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at the Venetian.

2014 Vegas Uncork’d saber-off

It was the kindest, cleanest, fastest and sharpest cut of all.

It took French master chef Daniel Boulud one single “swoop rapide” of his very own super-sharp saber to pop the cork off the top of a bottle of prosecco to launch today’s eight-annual Vegas Uncork’d food and wine festival.

It won him cheers from an extraordinary lineup of celebrity chefs gathered at the Venetian, where Daniel also officially opens his DB Brasserie today.

He told me: “I brought my very own sword from New York to ensure that the cork came off in one pass. It would have been bad luck for me, my new restaurant and Vegas Uncork’d if I’d missed.”

To prove his expertise, he promptly did it three other times! Not to be outdone, his friend fellow French star chef Guy Savoy from his self-named restaurant at Caesars Palace also grabbed another saber and promptly took out two more bottles of Italy’s sparkling wine. (Only in France is it allowed to be called Champagne.)

Thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery and Richard Corey for his YouTube video of the kickoff celebrations; thanks also to Glenn Pinkerton of Las Vegas News Bureau for his first photos.

As I reported earlier today, 70 of the world’s best chefs, 20 of the most talented sommeliers and 50 culinary events make up the annual, festive four-day weekend.

This morning’s highlight was the arrival from New York of legendary 84-year-old Le Cirque restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, proudly wearing his prestigious James Beard gold medal Lifetime Achievement Award. The king of cuisine’s former chefs Thomas Keller and Daniel gave him a warm welcome. Sirio has Las Vegas restaurants at Bellagio (Circo) and Aria (Sirio).

Tonight the Venetian hosts the extraordinary East Meets West Night Market with “The Chew’s” Mario Batali, “Cake Boss’s” Buddy Valastro, Thomas and Daniel. That one-in-a-lifetime teaming goes up against top chefs from Australia, Singapore and Macau.

There also are Master Series Chef dinners at Caesars Palace in Old Homestead and with Giada de Laurentiis and Bobby Flay together at his Mesa Grill, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gordon Ramsay, Francois Payard, the Pellegrino Family at Rao’s and an ultra-exclusive Guy Savoy dinner for six privileged people at his Krug Chef’s Table.

All 70 chefs join together Friday night for the Grand Tasting at Garden of the Gods at Caesars Palace. The full, hour-by-hour schedule of events for Friday, Saturday and Sunday is at

Las Vegas truly shines this weekend as the world’s culinary mecca and the top dining destination on Earth.

Daniel summed up: “What a great day! I open my new restaurant. Vegas Uncork’d is underway. The weather is beautiful. We are here all as friends and all loving the best of food and wine. Could you ask for a more beautiful day in a better city?”

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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