Top-secret filming of the Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” is underway at MGM Grand with host Alton Brown, food writer and broadcaster judge Simon Majumdar and chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who also is a judge on “Chopped.” Geoffrey won the most recent Season 4 of “The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs” in December when he defeated Elizabeth Falkner.
Previous winners include Cleveland’s Michael Symon, Chicago’s Jose Garces and Marc Forgione, the son of former Wynn chef and P.J. Clarke’s in the Forum Shops consultant Larry Forgione.
The three fab foodies were hunkered down Monday plotting the show’s twists, turns and challenges while having lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill in MGM Grand. Each season is a standalone competition to select a chef to be designated an Iron Chef who will star on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”
Filming is wrapped in secrecy, but we have learned that its subtitle will be “Redemption,” which indicates several past cheftestants will do battle. Normally, eight to 10 U.S. chefs start in the challenge before it comes down to a final Kitchen Stadium showdown in New York City with two finalists.
WICKED WHISPERS & RACY RUMORS
There’s a lot of industry buzz about the increasing breaks that Donny and Marie Osmond are taking from their Flamingo showroom. I am not suggesting anything is amiss or changes their contract, but they are away this week and all of August. Additionally, they have a series of dates in Arizona, L.A. and England in December and January.
We do know that Flamingo entertainment officials have reached out to other stars to perform, as late-night comedian George Wallace is away in August, too. Magician Nathan Burton, who had been expected to move from his 4 p.m. performances to the primetime slot, is staying put in his high-demand afternoon shows. I know one entertainer who was approached for a two-month fill-in for Donny and Marie, but stage, theater and electrical union workers costs look too expensive for his lower ticket price.
*I didn’t know until now that actor David Arquette had split from Beachers nightclub in L.A. operated by former Las Vegas resident Jeff Beacher, who closed his club here at the Hard Rock Hotel to open there. No word if it was amicable, but David is now going into battle against Jeff; he’s opening a 1970s vaudeville vibe nightclub called Bootsy Bellows. It’s not a jab at ex Courteney Cox but the name his mother used when she was a performer.
*A wave of rock stars are confirming to attend the Aug. 26 Vegas Rocks Awards at the Hard Rock. In addition to honorees Sammy Hagar and David Coverdale, Geoff Tate from Queensryche and guitarist Michael Schenker (UFO and the Scorpions) have RVSP’d yes.
*There’s another restaurant “switch” at Encore. Starting July 9, Botero will do dinner as normal from 5:30 to 8:59 p.m. but nightly at 9 turns into a supper club with a new menu from chef Mark LoRusso, celebrity DJs and parties. Jesse Waits, managing partner at nearby XS and Tryst, said the hotel wants the supper club to be a contemporary, pre-club experience. Switch also is changing this summer. It’s set to close next month and reopen after the summer with a new look, decor and theme.
TV TEARS: One of the most emotional and heart-wrenching episodes of “Coming Home” is set to air on Lifetime on Wednesday. The one-hour program was filmed at Nathan Burton’s magic show at the Flamingo and featured the unsuspecting family of a U.S. serviceman who had been away in Afghanistan for more than a year.
His wife and kids were treated to a Las Vegas vacation that included Nathan’s performance. He invited one of the kids to come up onstage to magically make snowfall, and then Nathan asked what magic he would really like to happen. The child told him how much he missed his dad and on cue Nathan “produced” him in full military uniform on a snowmobile that roared onto the stage. Needless to say, everybody was crying as the group hugged onstage, including the audience.
MICROMOSAIC'S RENAISSANCE? Interior designer Roger Thomas, who has crafted the designs at Steve Wynn’s global hotel empire, has created a collection of jewelry to launch the mosaic SICIS jewelry line from Italy. The collection is crafted in Micromosaic, marrying tones and minute pieces of mosaic. The 18th century art was rediscovered and is now interpreted in a contemporary way. Nine mother inks are used in the micro pieces to create a variety of hues in conjunction with SICIS founder and President Maurizio Leo Placuzzi.
Roger said: “The enchantment and mystery of Micromosaic caught my attention as a very young man, and I have always searched for and devoured every example I could find in museum collections and antique galleries. This material offers unlimited colors, extraordinary detail and the permanency of stone. I was excited to receive the invitation from SICIS to utilize this historic media in an entirely new and original way. I am confident that the art of Micromosaic will find a renaissance.”
“American Idol” Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks dined with his band at Bally’s Steakhouse on Monday night. Taylor begins an eight-week run at Bally’s tonight. Members of Chippendales at the Rio hosted a pool party at Voo Pool to autograph their calendars and pose for photographs. And Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher partied at Marquee Nightclub in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Monday night.
“The Vampire Diaries” actress Kat Graham turns singer in a Rock the Vote party at Pure Nightclub in Caesars Palace. Jazz trumpet titan Dave Perrico returns with his 18-piece Pop Evolution band and vocalist Naomi Mauro at South Point. Comedians Rocky LaPorte, Don Barnhart and Ron Morey headline at the Improv in Harrah’s through Sunday. And singer-songwriter Ron Pope is at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip with Josiah Leming and Zach Berkman.
We’ve got a video preview of “Surf: the Musical” opening at Planet Hollywood, plus Kat’s party at Pure and Taylor’s debut at Bally’s. It’s also the day that our $2.4 billion Terminal 3 opens at McCarran Airport with new flights from Europe and Asia to boost our tourism.
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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