After a successful launch last year, this year’s version of Vegas UnStripped—the little local festival that could—returns on May 11, bigger and badder than ever. Eight of the 10 chefs who participated in 2018 are back, plus another 10 newcomers including Saipin Chutima of Lotus of Siam, Johnny Church of Cookfast LLC and Shaun King, formerly of Momofuku.
“We want to show visitors and locals that we have this critical mass of [culinary] talent that needs to be supported and there’s a value in supporting them,” says Eric Gladstone, founder of the event.
Vegas UnStripped: Second Helping will also feature six local bars shaking up cocktails to complement the cuisine, including Jammyland, the Sand Dollar Lounge and Velveteen Rabbit. The goal of the fest, which takes place in the parking lot behind Esther’s Kitchen in Downtown’s Arts District, isn’t just to introduce the high-level talent of “neighborhood” chefs to patrons, but also for the chefs to push beyond what they would normally do and give attendees a dining experience they haven’t had anywhere else.
Says Gladstone, “We don’t just want a dish from their menu. We want them to do something unique that says, ‘This is our next step, this is the next frontier.’ You’re going to get interesting, exciting food.”
Vegas UnStripped May 11, 8 p.m.-midnight, $75. Esther's Kitchen parking lot, 1130 S. Casino Center Blvd. #110, vegasunstripped.com.