Vegas Uncork’d

Emeril Lagasse just added to all-star chef lineup with roster of returning culinary favorites

Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit will be unleashed from one end of The Strip to the other April 23 to 26.

The legendary Emeril Lagasse has just been added to the all-star lineup along with 10 new events at the ninth annual affair, one of the glitziest, largest and over-the-top food festivals on the planet, all presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred.

In his first appearance at at the festival, the “Bam!” Chef Lagasse will give guests a taste of New Orleans with his first-of-its-kind seafood extravaganza at MGM Grand.

Repeat chef favorites Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger will take diners south of the border with a taco fiesta; Hakkasan Chef Ho Chee Boon will host an intimate tour through China; James Beard Award-winning Shawn McClain will pair his farm-to-table menu with exclusive wines by Flowers Vineyard; Master Chocolatier Francois Payard will get hands on at his fan-favorite pastry demonstration; and Michelin-starred Chef Guy Savoy will dazzle wine lovers with the first Krug Champagne event of its kind.

Furthermore, the Bellagio will host a special wine tasting featuring wines and experts from four vineyards, and the popular Grand Tasting event will return bigger than a Greek orgy to the Garden of the Gods pools at opulent as well as elegantly lighted Caesars Palace.

There, Chefs Lagasse, Giada De Laurentiis, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Steve Martorano, Julian Serrano, Brian Malarkey, Michael Mina, and the above-mentioned McClain and Chee Boon will pair their signature dishes with small bites around the pool.

MGM, Caesars and more

Besides his appearance at the Garden of the Gods at Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand’s Producers Pool with live music from the Big Easy, Lagasse will wow those lucky enough to get tickets to an intimate New Orleans Fish House feast at his MGM restaurant with Creole dishes and several fine wine selections from his award-winning list. It’s seafood-centric with a Southern twist.

The Too Hot Tamales dynamic duo, Chefs Milliken and Feniger, will return for their ninth year to spice up the festival with a taco dinner accompanied by a build-your-own margarita station at Border Grill inside Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

And “boozy” is back -as the famous lady chef team will also do a boozy brunch cooking demo with a five-course menu and five cocktail pairings. Ole!

Creative Cantonese & Wine comes to life at Hakkasan Las Vegas in MGM Grand, where Michelin-star Chef Chee Boon transports diners on a guided journey through the art of modern Cantonese cooking coupled with exquisite wines that pair perfectly with the restaurant’s globally acclaimed cuisine.

For another event featuring perfect pairings, French chef Guy Savoy will take guests on an unforgettable epicurean adventure celebrating the very best in food and Krug Champagne, the world’s foremost luxury champagne house. The first event of its kind will showcase Savoy as he serves a four-course meal featuring many of his signature dishes – all paired with prestigious bottles, such as Krug’s exclusive Grand Cuvee and Krug Rose.

Farm to Table with Flowers Winery will be held at Sage April 25. Flowers Vineyard and Winery has been producing premier wines out of Sonoma County for more than 30 years. You will taste its most highly coveted vintages paired with farm-to-table cuisine from James Beard Award-winner McClain.

Held in ARIA hotel and casino’s sophisticated seasonal restaurant, this special five-course dinner event will feature wines typically only available at the winery, and library selections at the peak of their maturity – all hand selected by Flower’s Estate Director Greg Miller and ARIA Director of Wine Kim Wood.

California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir: A Tasting of Balance on April 25 will be exciting and educational, featuring four members of the In Pursuit of Balance group.

The panel includes Rajat Parr of Domaine de la Cote, Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards, Matt Licklider of Lioco and Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson.

The expert panel will discuss food and wine pairings, winemaking and their definition of balance. Moderated by Bellagio Director of Wine and Master Sommelier Jason Smith with color commentary by Bon Appetit Wine Editor David Lynch, this tasting of eight wines is sure to entertain.

The Chefs of Wolfgang Puck: A Lunch Across the Empire will be April 24: The team will come together for one afternoon only to showcase the many flavors of Puck’s empire at this special lunch hosted by Spago Executive Chef Eric Klein.

Puck is largely credited as one of the first name chefs in Vegas to shape the current fine dining scene, when he opened Spago inside The Forum Shops at Caesars more than 20 years ago. He now has six unique restaurant concepts in town and guests will enjoy five courses from his chefs at restaurants such as Trattoria del Lupo, CUT and more.

A Taste of Bravo’s Best New Restaurant will come to life April 25 during this star-studded Saturday soiree at Bravo’s Best New Restaurant Pop-Up at Caesars Palace. Glimpse what it takes to win the title of America’s “Best New Restaurant,” and enjoy an exclusive four-course seated dinner.

Ticket crunch time

Tickets are now on sale for the new events. Many of the other events at the April festival are already sold out, including some previously announced at the Bellagio.

With the addition of new chefs, events and interactive experiences, you are encouraged to purchase tickets now. Tickets to select events by Chefs Masa Takayama, Francois Payard, Jean-Philippe Maury, Frankie Pellegrino Jr. and Mina are still available. For tickets or further details, visit www.vegasuncorked.com.

* Carla Tracy can be reached at carlatracy@mauinews.com.