For 27 years now, celebrity star chef Wolfgang Puck, who has six restaurants here in Las Vegas, has thrown an American Wine & Food Festival to benefit Meals on Wheels. This year, 80 top kings and queens of the kitchen and 73 vintners from all over America traveled on their own dime to Los Angeles to cook sampling meals and serve wines for thousands of foodies at the massive fundraiser.
Our Las Vegas restaurant luminaries represented were Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio from Craftsteak at MGM; Paul Bartolotta from the Wynn; Thomas Keller from Bouchon at The Venetian; Nobu Matsuhisa from Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel; David Robins, John LeGrone, Eric Klein, Matt Hurley and Ari Rosenson from Wolf’s Spago, Postrio and CUT at The Venetian, Mandalay Bay and Palazzo; David Walzog from Steve Wynn’s Steakhouse; Julian Serrano from Picasso at the Bellagio; Francois Payard from Payard in Caesars Palace; Laurent Tourondel from BLT at The Mirage; Joachim Splichal from Patina in The Venetian; Alex Stratta from Alex and Stratta restaurants in the Wynn; and Valentino chefs from The Venetian, owner Piero Sevaggio, Luciano Pellegrini and Nicola Chessa.
Other chefs at the MCA Universal Studios back lot cookout included such culinary stars as Larry Forgione, Traci des Jardins, Sam Choy, Alan Wong, Jonathan Waxman, Nancy Silverton Lydia Shire, Drew Neiporent, Stephan Pyles, Mark Peel, Mark Miller and Robert del Grande.
The three days of food festivities were capped by an extraordinary nine-course Grand Tasting from super chefs Wolfgang Puck, Lee Hefter, Thomas Boyce, Sherry Yard, Nobu Matsuhisa, Dean Fearing, Laurent Gras, Jerome Leung, Gina DePalma and Thomas Keller, who told me that he will be opening his new Beverly Hills Bouchon spinoff from The Venetian on Nov. 18, just two weeks after his new cookbook Ad Hoc is published. Watch for a local launch party for his latest tome.
It was the ninth annual star chefs dinner for 150 food fanatics, who each paid $750 to attend the fundraiser, which I emceed again with some unexpected help on the mic from L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa! We were just a few dollars shy of $200,000 raised for Meals on Wheels from the live and silent auctions.
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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