Welcome Back: Chefs to the Max

Max and Kerry Simon, chewing the fat
Max and Kerry Simon, chewing the fat

Special to Eating Las Vegas by Mitchell Wilburn:

The week before last marked a homecoming of great celebration for a missing face in the food community.  Max Jacobson is back in town, surely appreciative of the massive support he’s gotten from so many chefs, friends, and fans.  This most recent “Chefs to the Max” event took place at Carson Kitchen, the Kerry Simon spot downtown known for turning the tide in the Downtown food scene towards the hip.

While this Sunday Supper wasn’t exactly the super exclusive and star-studded first iteration of “Chefs to the Max”, this one had some really interesting dishes.  For a relatively small ticket price, this was quite the smorgasbord (obviously not an actual smorgasbord, the Swede palate of fish eggs and mayo is not all it’s cracked up to be).

From James Beard award-winning Luciano Pellegrini (who is now the consulting chef at Marche Bacchus) to a fellow named Vic “Vegas” (who looks exactly how he sounds, a sort of Johnny Brenden of the food game) of Cafe V, eight chefs lined up some fun, original dishes, coming out in teams of two throughout the whole night.

Social lubrication was provided by professional Boozeologist Daniel Marohnic – of the Commonwealth, Laundry Room, and BLVD – in the form of a few choice wines and a flowing fountain of Moscow Mules.

If you look hard, you can see the short balding guy in a Members Only jacket.  That's me!
If you look hard, you can see the short balding guy in a Members Only jacket. That’s me!

The Eponymous Victor “Vegas” Moea was serving up a really interesting dish, a “TV dinner”.  Wagyu Salisbury Steak skewer, a fried ball of mashed potato, corn on the cob, and a little brownie all in a pressed aluminum pan.  In true to form for the TV dinners of youth – or for those of us that were too poor for factory meals, of birthdays and graduations – the brownie was garnished with a couple little kernels of corn.  It always gets into the brownie.  ALWAYS.

The Soundtrack for this dish
The Soundtrack for this dish

Among other chefs, Matt Andrews of Carson Kitchen was doing their signature black rice and oxtail risotto, a crowd favorite.  Todd Harrington of Downtown Grand (and the miasma of the restaurants therein) served up braised short ribs, something of a new American staple, with pickled beets and Yukon potatoes.

La Comida, FU Asian Kitchen, Naked City Pizza, and several others lent their time and food for this event.  Southern Wine and Spirits provided the booze for said Boozeologists, and by the end of the night it was still flowing strong.  All this was for a paltry pittance, a $75 that I could have spent on drinks the night before, because I did actually.  Good ol’ Max Solano at Delmonico makes some amazing drinks, but they ain’t cheap.

Max, in good spirits, holding court
Max, in good spirits, holding court

Keep an ear to the ground when it comes to any future Chefs to the Max events; if the more recent of events is any indicator of a trend, then these will be some seriously worthwhile tastings.  Oh and by the way… 

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