Food & Wine’s inaugural All-Star Weekend kicked off last night at Vdara in MGM CityCenter with Top Chef judge and Top Chef: Just Desserts host Gail Simmons hosting some of the world’s most-renowned chefs and culinary kings and queens, and contributing photographer Denise Truscello was on duty for the evening’s events.
The night began with a red carpet featuring Simmons; Food & Wine writer Anthony Giglio; Vinny Dotolo, Food & Wine Best New Chef of 2009; Top Chef Masters contestants Rick Moonen and Hubert Keller; and Top Chef winners and cheftestants Stephen Hopcraft, Hosea Rosenberg, Fabio Viviani, Carla Hall and Jennifer Carroll.
The final group to hit the red carpet was the esteemed chefs of CityCenter and Bellagio, including Masa Takayama, Shawn McClain, Julian Serrano, Jean-Philippe Maury, Martin Heierling and Brian Massie, among others.
The party began as the group made its way to Bar Vdara, where the celebrity chefs mingled with guests and fans and posed for photographs. Heierling prepared the food and beverages for the evening on his home turf, and Simmons thanked Food & Wine and CityCenter for hosting the event. The evening ended with Deuce After Dark at Deuce Lounge in Aria, where the chefs and VIPs competed in blackjack tournaments with guests.
Today’s events include a Luxe Lunch at Tuscany Kitchen in Bellagio at noon, a Cocktail Seminar at Cafe Vettro in Aria at 4:30 p.m. and then the All-Star Tasting at Aria’s pool at 8 p.m. The weekend wraps up tomorrow with a champagne and caviar brunch at the Bellagio.
*Season 3 of The Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef features Aria and CityCenter in episodes airing tomorrow and Sunday, Nov. 14. During tomorrow’s episode, host Alton Brown and Iron Chef America Chairman Mark Dacascos welcome the show’s remaining five contestants to CityCenter, where they discuss a test of inspiration. The chefs are led to Jean Philippe Patisserie in Aria, where world-champion pastry chef Maury showcases his edible art and reveals a challenge to create a wedding-worthy dessert using the secret ingredient: chocolate.
Later in the episode, the Chairman’s Challenge, which takes place in McClain’s Sage, forces the chefs to create a modern Las Vegas buffet in three hours, with a double elimination. In the Nov. 14 episode, the remaining chefs face the test of seduction. In the Secret Ingredient Challenge, the competitors are at Aria’s Jean Georges Steakhouse bar with 30 minutes to create a cocktail and snack using liquor that seduces the judges’ taste buds.
Next, the chefs meet Brown in a Sky Villa on Aria’s top floor for the Chairman’s Challenge. The chefs must race throughout Aria to gather ingredients from Julian Serrano, Bar Masa, American Fish, Sirio Ristorante and Jean Georges Steakhouse to make an elaborate three-course meal for the judges in 90 minutes. The two winners will battle for glory in the Kitchen Stadium, while two chefs leave the competition in another double elimination.
The episodes were filmed over the summer, and the Season 3 finale airs Nov. 21.
*Former Venetian and Las Vegas star chef Charlie Trotter is featured on A&E’s Fix This Kitchen today. Check your listings for air times.
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