James Beard Foundation Awards Brunch – The Venetian/Palazzo Las Vegas

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Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the official press conference announcing the finalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards. An invitation-only brunch paired with the highly-anticipated news was held at the The Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas strip. The Venetian houses more James Beard Award winners than any other property worldwide, so it was fitting that both the finalist broadcast and a 25th Anniversary Friends of James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner later that evening were held on premise.

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James Beard's Susan Ungaro, Mitchell Davis, Woody Campbell, John Washko

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Spring Pea Agnolotti w/ Crème fraîche & wild morels

Not surprisingly, the brunch menu was plentiful and consisted of liquid wake-me-ups, small plates, live stations and a tempting dessert selection. From a made-to-order House-Smoked Steelhead Buckwheat Crepe with a Fresh Duck Egg, to a basket of European Pastries (I ate three), this brunch was one of those decadent celebrations that Vegas is so good at throwing. Spotted in the crowd were a number of celebrated Las Vegas food and beverage professionals and media including Chef Julian Serrano, Master Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, Ivo Angelov of Le Cirque and Robin Leach who I will always remember as the host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

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The full list of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award finalists can be found HERE. The James Beard Foundation Awards, often called the "Oscars of the Food World" is a prestigious program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries. This year's Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place on Monday, May 7, 2012 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City and will be hosted by multiple James Beard Award–winning celebrity chef, television personality, and author Alton Brown.

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To purchase tickets for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards, visit HERE

For more info on dining at The Venetian and The Palazzo, visit HERE

For more photos, visit our James Beard at The Venetian/Palazzo Photo Album.

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