Best Food Week Ever – Parts Four And Five Preview

Tonight (in less than three hours) begins Part Four of ELV’s Best Food Week Ever. As part of the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Event, ELV will be hosting a dinner at Fiamma at the MGM Grand (with an amazing meal + wines being offered by Carlos Buscaglia and Fabio Trabocci at the not-exactly-bargain-priced-but-all-for-a-worthy-cause cost of $350/per). As wonderful as the food (and the privately selected wine) is sure to be, you won’t want to miss ELV’s sparkling commentary on same — delivered with the twinkle-in-his-eye irony and rakish charm for which he is known.

Equally compelling (and a whole lot cheaper — actually free), is the panel discussion taking place tomorrow morning at UNLV (in the Stan Fulton Bldg. on East Flamingo), beginning at 10:15 AM (with complimentary champagne provided by DeLuca Wines and Spirits. With Allen (The Hitman) Richman and Jeffery (The Man Who Ate Everything) Steingarten in attendance, ELV may have trouble getting a word in edgewise, but you know it won’t be boring.

Here are the topic notes for the discussion:

1 Toward a Definition — What is a great food city? Can you define/describe one generally or specifically? Are there common characteristics? Unique features?
2 Breadth and Depth — Is variety important? Does immigration play a part? What about economy? Class? Citizenry?
3 Food culture — Are restaurants enough? What else is required? Markets? Local media outlets? Food/identity discourse? Clientele? Chef groups and professional organizations?
4 Emic vs. Edic (Say what?)— To what extent is a food city created from the inside out or the outside in? Role of locals versus tourists?
5 Business Concerns — How do the realities of business impact a city? Food production, distribution and availability? Rents? Labor force? Demographics?
6 Media — Do food cities exist or are they a product of the media? The tourist marketing boards? Nostalgia?
7 The Case of Las Vegas — Vegas has transformed from what to what? When? Why? How? What has the impact of this transformation been on the issues raised above?
Tomorrow night is the James Beard Gala Event at the Palazzo — with KLAS TV Anchor Denise Valdez and you-know-who conducting an amazing auction (a gourmet tour of JBF Award-winning restaurants in America is one up for grabs), along with a celebrity auctioneer whose identity must remain a secret but whose initials are: Alan Richman).
Details for all of these events are in the box on the left — and I hope to see many loyal readers of Eating Las Vegas at each of them. Bon appetit and buon gusto to all!