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Four-week Culinary Clash adds foodie fun to Venetian’s Winter in Venice

Mario Batali’s cooking demonstration at Winter in Venice at the Venetian on Nov. 25, 2011.

The popular Winter in Venice holiday celebration—launched at the Venetian and Palazzo casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip last year—is getting a new culinary component, and it’s kind of a big deal.

The Culinary Clash is a four-week competition open to all sous chefs and chefs de cuisine at more than 30 restaurants at the two resorts. Cooks from First Food & Bar, Tao, Aquaknox, Sushi Samba, Carnevino, Public House, Valentino and many more Strip eateries will create recipes on the fly in makeshift kitchens using mystery ingredients, and the battles will be broadcast live on a giant TV screen on the Venetian’s clock tower. It’s all going down at Venetian’s Doge’s Palace plaza from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. on November 29, and December 7, 14 and 21.

The best part: Each competing chef’s creation will be available for sampling, in addition to other Italian-inspired food and drinks. Throw in street performers, a DJ and an afterparty each competition night at Tao and you’ve got a pretty crazy Vegas Strip block party. Adding to the stakes are the celebrity judges, aka the biggest names from Venetian and Palazzo restaurants. Emeril Lagasse will judge on November 29, Mario Batali on December 7 and Sammy DeMarco on December 14. The final round judge is a surprise.

Winter in Venice, which includes a six-week run of “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas in Las Vegas,” a nightly parade, tree-lighting ceremonies and the return of the skating rink above the Venetian’s outdoor Grand Canal, began November 18 and continues through January 6. For event information, visit or

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