With a backdrop setting on an elegant outdoor patio at the Bellagio Hotel, the Gala Dinner started off with a meet and greet reception with wine and passed hors d'oeuvres by chef's Todd English and Isaac Carter of English's Olives restaurant. The savory offerings included Lobster Salad on Blueberry French Toast, Frog Leg Lollipops, Melon and Prosciutto, and Artichoke and Goat Cheese "Drum Sticks" paired with Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Cloudline Pinot Noir or Piper Heidsieck "Cuvee Brut" Champagne. Guests mingled with the celebrated chefs of the evening who were beside large tables which featured their hand picked chosen products for the evening.
w/ Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse
After the cocktail reception, we all headed into the adjoining ballroom which was decorated with whimsical floral arrangements and elegantly adorned large round tables. The event was hosted by Bon Appetit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild and Special Correspondent Alan Richman who made a dynamic duo on stage keeping the audience entertained while also introducing the chefs on stage to explain their presented dishes. As if the pressure in the kitchen for these perfectionist chefs weren't enough, seated in the dining room were French legend's Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse - two chefs who need no introduction.
Akira Back's Japanese Snapper
Each of the six courses were prepared by various chefs of the Bellagio Hotel, and boy were we in for a treat. Following Todd English's Hors d'oeuvres, was a first course by Akira Back of Yellowtail who served a Japanese Snapper Carpaccio with Micro Shiso and Tosazu. His distinctive dish was paired with a Loimer Riesling, Austria 2006. The rare snapper was as fresh as the freshest you would find at the Tsukiji fish market.
Julian Serrano's Roasted Scallop
Michael Mina & Anthony Amoroso's Crispy Pork Belly
MICHELIN two star chef Julian Serrano of Picasso served the third course of Roasted Scallops, Green Asparagus, Hollandaise Mousseline & Confit of Leeks paired with a Torres "nerola" Cataluyna 2005. Chef's Michael Mina and Anthony Amoroso followed with a fourth course of Crispy Pork Belly, Vegetables a la Grecque, Wild Arugula & California Ranch Oliver Oil with a Domaine Ott Rose' "Clos Mireille" Cotes du Provence 2007. Both the Picasso and Michael Mina dishes were beautifully executed and exquisite in taste.
Isaac Carter and Todd English take the stage
Robert Moore's Dry Aged A5 Wagyu
Chef Robert Moore of John-Georges Vongerichten's Prime Steakhouse finished the pre-dessert portion of the meal with a mouthwatering Dry Aged A5 Wagyu Rib-Eye with Grilled Shitake Mushrooms & Sesame Mustard. The wagyu was paired with a Chateaur Goulee, Medoc, Bordeaux 2005. Must mention what a thoughtful person Chef Moore is. I was coughing at the table and he immediately asked if I needed tea or something to drink. I already liked him after eating my Wagyu, and I liked him even more after his kind gesture. Not only a great chef, but a great guy! Gotta love it.
As if a meal prepared by Chef's Todd English, Akira Back, Julian Serrano, Michael Mina, Anthony Amoroso and Robert Moore weren't enough, the Gala Dinner ended with a Grand and when I say Grand I mean GRAND!!! Dessert by Chef Jean-Philippe Maury and team. Dessert was paired with an Inniskillin Vidal Blanc "Ice Wine" Niagara Peninsula 2006. The dining room doors flung open, and awaiting us in the large patio balcony where we first enjoyed the initial reception was a dessert utopia. The entire balcony literally spanned with hundreds of pastries, chocolates, stations of gelato, nuts, sugar swans, and everything and anything sweet and sugary your mind could imagine.
Pastry Chef Jean-Philippe Maury
The Gala Dinner was an elegant highlight of the Vegas Uncork'd weekend. Perhaps with the exception of the cheezy themed outfits on the hired models who walked the chefs arm in arm to the stage, it was otherwise, a world class evening with an extraordinary dinner prepared by Las Vegas' most award-winning chefs. The setting was gorgeous, our palates were satisfied, and what better way to end the Gala than with the most perfect ending of the sweetest dreams by pastry chef extraordinaire Jean-Philippe Maury.