Vegas Uncork’d celebrates 10 years
Ten years has a nice ring to it. Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit celebrates a decade of bringing big name chefs cooking up their best dishes at resorts up and down the Strip with a few new surprises. For the 10th anniversary, The Venetian, The Palazzo, Caesars Palace and The Cromwell roll out the red carpet for food lovers with exclusive dinners, the can’t-miss Grand Tasting and opportunities to meet some of the biggest names in the culinary industry from April 28 through May 1. Think Gordon Ramsay, Giada De Laurentiis, Emeril Lagasse, Nobu Matsuhisa and Daniel Boulud.
“It’s a fun, playful challenge that makes it fun for the eater, too,” says Adam Rapoport, the editor in chief of Bon Appétit, who envisions the events for the biggest food festival in Las Vegas. “We push the chefs as much as we can so that you can get people there.”
The festival kicks off with Matsuhisa himself, whom Rapoport says “changed the way we eat Japanese food.” His exclusive $1,000 per person dinner features the chef making each course of this omakase dinner. Pricey, but net proceeds are donated to Keep Memory Alive, the nonprofit that researches and treats brain disorders.
“Uncork’d has so many great dinners,” Rapoport says. “Thomas Keller, Nobu, Gordon Ramsay. They walk in the room and people freak out.”
Two of those luminaries team up that same night for an only-in-Vegas dinner for 500 with Boulud and Lagasse in front of The Venetian with an after-party at Tao Nightclub.
The pinnacle of the event, the Grand Tasting, returns to the Garden of the Gods pool oasis at Caesars Palace. Dozens of restaurants serve up tastes of their best dishes, and diners can meet and chat with some of their favorites. Television personality Giada De Laurentiis hosts another first for Vegas Uncork’d when she serves up brunch at her only restaurant in the world at The Cromwell. “We’ve had Giada cook for us in the past with Bobby Flay, but never in her own restaurant,” Rapoport says.
In addition, celebrity chef Michael Mina tag teams a four-course lunch with the chefs at the oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas, the Golden Steer, from the Rat Pack era.
“Vegas Uncork’d is like the magazine. You want it to be familiar yet fresh,” Rapaport says as he talks about the festival. That means events that have become staples for the festival return as well. Ramsay cooks up Hell’s Kitchen dishes with some of the previous contestants from the television show.
Two Hot Tamales’ Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger come back for a tequila tasting dinner. François Payard returns with his pastry class, always one of the most popular events. Vegas Uncork’d wraps with another familiar event, brunch with the Pellegrinos at Rao’s.
“The festival’s challenge is that it’s only
as good as the individual events,” Rapoport says. “The events take a lot of effort and thought.”
April 28-May 1, times and prices vary, 21+. vegasuncorked.com