Las Vegas has plenty of food festivals at which our best chefs get to show off. But it’s rare that Vegas talents get to strut their stuff in significant numbers out of town. So last weekend’s Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival proved notable for how many of our local chefs were involved.
At the Live On The Plaza evening on August 11, one could have almost forgotten what town it was, with tastings from Michael Mina (assisted by our own Gary LaMorte), François Payard, Hubert Keller and a svelte-looking Luciano Pellegrini. Thomas Keller’s Bouchon had the longest line for its fresh oyster display. The Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday featured Holstein’s Anthony Meidenbauer, Border Grill’s Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken and Kerry Simon among the throngs. Comme Ça’s David Myers and the Fukuburger boys took part in Andrew Zimmern’s Asian Night Market.
Vegas eaters would also have felt at home at the special lunches presented by Susan Feniger (Street), Hubert Keller and Joachim Splichal (Patina), Scarpetta’s Scott Conant alongside Napa’s Michael Chiarello, and former Social House chef Joseph Elevado, now at Livello in L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. Kerry Simon also hosted a lunch at his LA Market (the popular restaurant of host hotel JW Marriott).
Appropriately enough, Saturday night was capped by an invite-only afterparty catered by STK’s Stephen Hopcraft and sponsored by the Cosmopolitan, which brought its two-story festival booth and handed out free Art-O-Mat packages and Neopolitan push-up pops.
Of course, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Vegas chefs were well represented: The festival is chaired by a man who knows Vegas well—Wolfgang Puck. Now, maybe we should invite some of LA’s finest, like Mark Peel, Josiah Citirin and Michael Voltaggio, to come cook here? Just a thought.