Bon Appetit’s Restaurant Issue Ignores Las Vegas

The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.

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This is a photo of the current edition of Bon Appétit magazine. ELV finally got around to leafing through it yesterday and was struck by one thing: the complete absence of a single restaurant or chef from Las Vegas.

Nada. Not one. Not a quote, not a recipe, not a picture, not a restaurant named in any capacity. Correction: Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapaport does say he remembers a memorable “…long night for an even longer wait for an In-N-Out Double-Double in Vegas.” — in 2001.

Really Adam? Really?

Your magazine has partnered with Las Vegas hotels and the LVCVA for five straight years putting on Vegas Uncork’d — a wildly successful event heavily promoted nationwide and bringing immense visiblity to both your ‘zine and the Vegas restaurant scene — and all you, your writers and editors can think of to publish in your yearly “Restaurant Issue” is a one sentence, ten-year old anecdote?

Did anyone notice this but ELV? Is anyone but ELV a little bothered by it?

How about the hotels — that pay big money to promote the event, and give Bon App’s p.r. flacks and writers (and editors) the VIP treatment for Uncork’d week?

How about the LVCVA — that pays almost a million bucks to stage the event every year?

How about the restaurants — that bend over backwards to accommodate the press and the public for their individual and collective good?

All of which begs the question: Just what is the future of Vegas Uncork’d (especially as it concerns the magazine’s involvement)…and just what does Bon Appétit bring to the party anyway?

Eating Las Vegas learned last month that Rob O’Keefe — the founder and executive director of Vegas Uncork’d  — was no longer affiliated with the event. Who knows what internal politics were involved, but one of the reasons, it seems, was the LVCVA (Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority) wished to continue its affiliation with Bon Appétit, because it believes the magazine brings value to the event. O’Keefe would not comment for the record, but it’s no secret the event was his idea, and that he shepherded it to national acclaim and yearly growth (in the worst economy in fifty years). Insiders acquainted with the inner workings of these things tell Eating Las Vegas they expect next year’s event to be bigger and better than ever — even without O’Keefe to guide it.

Really? When the major media partner’s yearly restaurant issue pretends we don’t exist?

ELV has long pondered how and why Las Vegas gets used by businesses as a cheap, money-making whore. Whether you’re a homegrown car salesman (hello Fletcher Jones Jr.!) or an out of state carpetbagger, Vegas’ visibility is too lucrative to resist, and it’s all too easy to pay us a little attention, and toss some filthy lucre on the pillow, before getting what you want and heading back to your sailboat or skyscraper in a different city. It bears mentioning at this point that Bon Appétit doesn’t pay a dime for its involvement with Vegas Uncork’d…and we’re sure Rapaport and his troops eat for free when they’re out here.

Maybe when you’re not invested in something, and only look at it in terms of what it can do for you, free of charge, you really don’t appreciate it.


8 thoughts on “Bon Appetit’s Restaurant Issue Ignores Las Vegas

  1. I am disgusted by Las Vegas’ omission. I shutter to think what Bon Appetit will do with next year’s Vegas Uncork’d. I hope you are correct with the rumors you are hearing about next year’s Vegas Uncork’d schedule. I miss Mr. O’Keefe, and I wish he could become involved with October’s Food and Wine All-Star Weekend. I bet under his guidance or consultancy, that event could be a more diverse and a more enjoyable culinary event.

  2. ELV you are not alone my friend. Yes, it’s very clear that Bon Appetit omitted any mention of Las Vegas in the Restaurant Issue. There I was, on the daily commute, thumbing through page after page of Bon Appetit, telling myself that soon I would land on a story about the unique stable of restaurants at The Cosmopolitan. No. Nada. Nuttin. Am I bothered by it? Terribly so.

    Now while I like a roast chicken as much as the next hungry man, (albeit a chicken that is marinated and cooked sous vide before roasting), really Bon Appetit? Another “local, seasonal, organic,” plate of chicken with vegetables wins the best restaurant dish of the year? What about the experience at e’ by Jose Andres or paella cooked over an open fire at Jaleo? Really Bon Appetit? Did you miss out on that when you were in Las Vegas in May at Uncork’d? It wasn’t worthy?

    Every Writer, Editor and the Editor-in-Chief at Bon Appetit should be required to buy and read a copy of the September issue of Wine Spectator for an informed view and learn how great French Chefs and Las Vegas have shaped our tastes for dining in America.

    Mr. Rapaport made it clear to the public and the food press that his vision for Bon Appetit would focus on the food. One has to wonder after reading his first “Restaurant Issue” if the spoken word at the time was merely pandering or will pan out by the end of Rapaport’s tenure at Bon Appetit. Whenever that may be.

  3. Thanks for the update. Goodbye BA; we won’t miss you and your ignorance of what the population appreciates.

  4. Rob O’Keefe is a smart guy. From conversations with him three years ago it was clear he had ‘the’ vision for Vegas Uncorked from his perch at R&R. Our local and fly-in “celeb” chefs work insanely crazy hours to meet the commitments of promoting each event. It wouldn’t bust anyone’s editorial firewall to recognize what’s happened here to create a cohesive foodie event that’s on a scale much more personal than Miami with a lot of cross-resort collaboration. Very disappointing that BA doesn’t appreciate what a gem it has . . . had?

  5. LV is full of good restaurants with very high prices…as opposed to places like NY or Chicago with very good restaurants with very high prices.

  6. Even Zagat has ignored Las Vegas culinary scene entirely, i’m not sure if this is good or bad. The problem is that good celebrity chefs make it as a franchise as opposed to hands on, in their Own and One restaurant. Also i feel few of the chefs are overated by local media and they have lost the art, the dedication and creative side like a good movies directors. Coppola or Scorsese can’t franchise their talent and maintain the quality-the good chefs shouldn’t either.

  7. A case could be made that BA got it wrong in overlooking Vegas in their Restaurant Issue, but expecting positive mentions based on promotional efforts is like expecting good reviews based on ad buys. Now, if there is evidence (as opposed to gossip) that Vegas was excluded due to a lack of support for the editorial staff in a future Uncorked, that would be just as unseemly.

    I’m sure that Vegas benefits from Uncorked coverage in BA, so the claim that Vegas gets exploited and tossed aside seems a bit dramatic, as well.

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