Beloved food and wine festival UNLVino returns for its 45th year

The tuna carving has become a signature moment during UNLVino’s Sake Fever event.
Genevie Durano

UNLVino, Las Vegas’ longest running wine and food festival, returns this weekend for its 45th-annual fete featuring Bubble-licious at the Keep Memory Alive Events Center on Thursday, Sake Fever at Red Rock Casino Resort on Friday and the Grand Tasting at the Mirage Event Center on Saturday. UNLVino is the largest scholarship fundraiser for UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality.

Chef Nicole Brisson, who’s had quite the year with the opening of Eataly (where she has the distinction of being the first female executive chef of the brand in the U.S.), is one of three honorees of the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence, along with Don Ross of Caesars Entertainment and Hae Un Lee of Lee’s Discount Liquor.

The honor is one close to Brisson’s heart—she has called Las Vegas home for 15 years. “I came from a small town, and community is always very important to me,” she says. And the chef can relate to UNLVino’s mentorship component. In her relatively young but distinguished career—she is the youngest female to become executive chef in a notable Las Vegas restaurant—she considers herself very lucky to have met people along the way who have led her to the paths she has taken in her career.

“It’s really important for me to be a mentor and a guide,” says Brisson, who is also the first chef appointed to the board of directors of the Southern Nevada Health District. “As industry professionals, right now we have such an opportunity to be part of this community and make changes and be active members.”

UNLVINO April 11-13, various locations, $75-$150. unlvino.com.

Tags: Dining, Wine, Food, UNLVino
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