Wynn/Encore's European pool and patio served as the backdrop of the Celebrity Chef Blackjack Tournament during Bon Appetit's Vegas Uncork'd weekend. Having just got back from Monte Carlo a few weeks prior, the event and ambiance brought me back to drinking champagne at Jimmy'z and enjoying the nightlife of the French Riviera. Where this event had Monaco beat, was the roster of players at the blackjack table. The chefs competing for cash prizes totaling $10,000 included the likes of Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Francois Payard, Jet Tila, Joel Robuchon, David Walzog, Bobby Flay, Laurent Tourondel and many other of Vegas' top chefs.
Daniel Boulud at the Blackjack Table
In the end, it was Paul Bartolotta who ended up winning it all- for a second year in a row! It was definitely chef Bartolotta's winning week. First he won the James Beard award for Best Chef Southwest on Monday, then he ended up being crowned Celebrity Chef Blackjack king during the Vegas Uncork'd weekend.
One thing's for certain – there were definitely no losers at this blackjack tournament. Throughout the event, we were treated to a premium open bar which included Patron Spirits, and flutes of Perrier Jouet. And in typical French Riviera fashion, many of the attendees continued the evening at the neighboring XS, Encore's swanky nightclub. XS provided the perfect ending to another fabulous day of Vegas Uncork'd with the illuminating palm trees, crystal blue pool, and the most amazing weather one could ask for. I definitely got my Cote d'Azur fix that evening – and I didn't even need my passport.