CHEFS FOR THREE SQUARE
Observation: As a kick-off event to the long Vegas Uncork’d weekend, getting chefs together to help feed the needy is one whale of an idea. Send out the call, and everyone from Cat Cora to Kerry Simon will come. Three Square expected twenty or so chefs to show up to help stuff weekend groceries for hungry children and needy adults. Almost 50 arrived and pitched in to alleviate hunger and draw attention to this shameful problem.
Crititcism: There is no way on God’s green earth, anyone (not even ELV) can criticise anything about the good that Three Square and Julie Murray do.
ELV Highlight: Finally meeting Cat Cora and uber-athlete Steven Jackson — who looks like he could both out eat and out run ELV — both of whom are remarkably friendly for folks as famous as they are.
LUNCHIN’ WITH SUPERSTARS @ LOS MOLECAJETES
Observation: Getting great chefs to have lunch with you is remarkably easy if you just say: “Good Mexican food.”
Criticism: There ain’t nuttin’ to criticise about Los Molecajetes, other than it isn’t closer to ELV’s house.
ELV Highlight: Swapping stories and listening to Paul Bartolotta, Kerry Simon, Rick “Fishboy” Moonen and uber-restaurant writer and Andrew (I’m not a heartthrob but I play one on Iron Chef) Knowlton debate and discuss the fundamental tenents of cooking food v. manipulating it through molecular gastronomy.
KICK-OFF PARTY @ PURE
Observation: Veuve Cliquot Rose is one fine and bubbly way to start a long weekend with the greatest chefs in the world.
Criticism: If the greatest French chefs in the world are going to toss ELV around like a rag doll, there should have been some caviar and foie gras lying around to ease his landing….
ELV Highlight: Getting tossed around by those aforementioned chefs (Laurent Tourondel, Daniel Boulud, Hubert Keller and Guy Savoy) and Mon. Savoy’s decapitation of a champagne bottle with a sword — something every foodie or wino should witness once in their lives.
MASTERS SERIES DINNER @ GUY SAVOY
Observation(s): Guy Savoy is one of the greatest chefs in the world and Guy Savoy Caesars Palace is one of the world’s greatest restaurants (duh!). As Alan (The Hitman) Richman said during our Culinary Conversations discussion: “Eating food this flawless is something everyone who ever has the opportunity… should do at least once in their lives.”
Criticism (murmured by ELV and others in the room): The (pre-selected) wines were not the equal of the food. Chateau La Nerthe (a white Rhone) and Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay appeared to be afterthoughts, paired with the menu by those not connected to the restaurant (and certainly not connected to the taste of the world-class vittles). Guy Savoy’s food screams for Burgundies (white and red), and pairing it with anything else is a crime against all that is holy and pure in the world of gastronomy.
ELV Highlight: Just being in the same room with that guy name Guy.
CULINARY CONVERSATIONS: THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Observation: Much better attended than in years past, this free-flowing conversation about the past, present and future of French cuisine, was an only in Vegas happening. No where else in the world (not even Paris) would you find Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy, Alain Ducasse and Francois Payard on the same stage — educating and ruminating about what their cuisine has meant to the world.
Criticism: ELV wishes he hadn’t flunked French.
ELV HIghlight: Listening to each of them recount when they first knew they wanted to be a chef — especially Guy Savoy’s describing the magic he felt the first time he baked cookies at age 6.
To Be Continued…