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Strip Scribbles: Top Chef Season 6 begins filming here today

Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio of Bravo’s Top Chef. They look friendly enough until it’s “pack your knives and go” time.
Heidi Gutman/Bravo

*Check out this story with all the accompanying photos at*

Despite Top Chef producers from Bravo doing all in their power to keep it a secret, Steve Freiss, my colleague in chronicling life in Las Vegas, has total confirmation that the monthlong shooting schedule will start filming here today. Steve emailed me: “This is really big and really great timing for a much-suffering Vegas. It’s a great opportunity for the city to shine not as some crazy, wacky place, but as a serious culinary destination. “

Chief judge Tom Colicchio, who is the owner of Craftsteak and Wichcraft at MGM Grand, would not disclose the location, as they avoid announcing the city to prevent fans hanging around the house where the contestants live trying to figure out who's been eliminated at each round. “I even asked him to tell me if it was not in Las Vegas, and he wouldn't answer that, either,” wrote Steve, adding, “Of course, it's really hard for anyone to hang around the Skylofts at MGM Grand to see who’s coming and going, hmmm?”

Some of the filming will reportedly take place in the new Chef’s Kitchen at The M Resort. Judge Toby Young will definitely be on the Strip May 2 auctioning off dinner via eBay with himself at Craftsteak to benefit the Starlight Children's Foundation. The deal also includes two nights at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Click HERE for our story this month about all the Las Vegas chefs appearing on the new Top Chef spin-off Top Chef Masters.

*Congratulations to comedy veteran Bob Newhart, who was inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame during the National Association of Broadcasters convention here. Kelsey Grammer was presented with the Television Chairman’s Award at the annual luncheon honoring television’s greats. L.A. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the radio luncheon. Also visiting Las Vegas was Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who told buyers at the Sony booth that he’d installed 3,000 display screens throughout the new Dallas stadium and a 30,000-square-foot center scoreboard with 72-foot-high screen for fans to follow the games.

*Music legends Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago have reunited for a 30-city national co-headlining summer concert tour and will be making a stop at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on July 25. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

Wicked whispers & racy rumors

Is it true that a Strip entertainer shelled out $200,000 in advance, nonrefundable rent payments to land his latest theater gig? … Which local TV producer dumped his wife for the babysitter and now has her looking for a new babysitter they can play with, too? … What group of eye-candy girls and strippers are raving about a high-roller party they entertained at with generous TV stars watching the action and fun? … Was there a secret weekend meeting between hotel executives and producers to warn one of their performers to behave or risk heavy punishment if repeated? … What Strip headline performer was asked to bring girls with him to meet with another Strip entertainer in the same line of work? … Is it true that one of the new weekend pool parties is paying glamour girls $150 a day to hang out there as social hostesses, but only if they bring another curvy girlfriend with them? … How many girls were invited to a private pool cabana over the weekend on the pretense of meeting a famous pop star?

*American Idol judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest were at owner Victor Drai’s booth in XS for two consecutive nights at Encore. Hip-hop mogul Jermaine Dupri, who earlier was the guest DJ at Prive in Planet Hollywood, also hit XS for his night on the town. Also there at 3 a.m. for 45 minutes were socialite sisters Paris -- with boyfriend Doug Reinhardt -- and Nicky Hilton with poker pro David Williams and Beacher's Madhouse showman Jeff Beacher. Big Brother reality star Beau Beasley also stopped by after watching the Britney Spears concert at MGM Grand.

Star surveillance

Paris Hilton and beau Doug Reinhardt ordered up an assortment of small shared plates last night at Stack in The Mirage. The lovebirds noshed on sesame chicken lettuce cups, miso black cod lettuce cups, pigs in a blanket, Japanese spicy crab and tater tots. … Cirque du Soleil Believe illusionist headliner Criss Angel attended the Cher show at Caesars Palace last night on his day off from his Luxor show. … It was a Dancing With the Stars reunion when Penn Jillette stopped by to see Mel B in her new adult cabaret Peepshow in Planet Hollywood. Sexy actress Elizabeth Berkley, who appeared in Showgirls filmed here in Las Vegas, also attended the show, starting speculation that she might be up for Kelly Monaco’s guest role. … Boxer Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, a week away from his big fight, was seen shopping in Target near Eastern and Maryland Parkway with his fight entourage, and he even sparred with a little girl who wanted his autograph and photo. They both traded make-believe punches for her camera and showed fancy footwork in the aisle. … Masi Oka, Hiro Nakamura on NBC’s Heroes, had dinner on the patio at Pink Taco inside Hard Rock Hotel while Mike Inez, Alice in Chains’ bass guitarist, dined at a separate table inside. … America’s Best Dance Crew Season 3 champions Quest Crew hit the dance floor at LAX in the Luxor with their amazing hip-hop routines. The crowd went wild over their krump moves, back flips and unrivaled dance skills. After the high-energy workout, the group retreated to a VIP stage table for much-needed cocktails! … Wayne Newton was joined by family, friends and his band to celebrate the birthday of his sister-in law Tricia McCrone after his show at MGM over the weekend in Cathouse at the Luxor.

Tonight’s tips

R&B crooner Ray J hosts the “Rock Hip Hop” party at Prive right on the heels of his big finale for VH1’s For the Love of Ray J. … There’s a major “war” planned at Jet in The Mirage. Each table will be equipped with a confetti launcher and tons of ammo for the first-ever confetti party. … Chris Clouse performs at Tabu in MGM Grand.

Tomorrow’s teases

It’s peek-a-boo provocative and as sexy as striptease can be! We’ve got a complete photo shoot of Mel B and Kelly Monaco’s Peepshow. This will surely send temperatures sky-high! Plus we discover the secret to basketball great Spencer Haywood’s fingers as he celebrates his 60th birthday at Hoop Hall Experience. You’ll be checking your digits after you read the story! To wrap up the glamour and glitter, Sports Illustrated supermodel and Victoria’s Secret angel Marisa Miller poses for a platinum pictorial at the tops-optional Bare Pool Club!

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. Read more of Robin's stories at

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