By now you’ve probably heard that the Killers, Imagine Dragons, the Kings of Leon, Beck and a whole bunch of other musical acts will be in downtown Las Vegas in October for the Life is Beautiful Festival.
What you may not know is that there will be plenty to eat there, too.
Kicking it all off will be an exclusive event open to only 40 attendees — at $5,000 per person. Take a Stand, from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 25, will be a charity dinner benefiting Three Square food bank and Communities in Schools and co-hosted by restaurant developer and Honey Salt owner Elizabeth Blau and Hubert Keller, whose Fleur is at Mandalay Bay.
“The name refers to the fact that the organizers of Life is Beautiful felt that it was really important not only that art and music and food are part of this wonderful festival and celebration, but acknowledging, through a charitable component, that this festival wanted to make some impact on the city,” Blau said. “It’s taking a stand for education and against hunger, and in support of what Communities in Schools’ mission is, trying to combat the tragedy that we have in terms of our dropout rate in the state of Nevada.”
Blau said large charitable events always include food, but in this case, only 40 people will be able to attend.
“It’s really like a dinner party,” she said. “The chef-attendee ratio is really like 2-to-1.”
The venue was still being finalized at press time and is being kept a secret to be divulged only to those who purchase tickets, but she said it will be both downtown and offbeat.
“It’ll be somewhere that’s really cool, that makes this very special, not just a catering venue,” she said.
Blau said the charitable focus was important to her.
“I thought it was really cool that they wanted this to be one of their platforms,” she said. “They asked Hubert Keller, who as a chef I greatly admire, and myself to co-host the event. Now we have a really amazing lineup of chefs who are going to participate.”
Among the chefs that have signed on for Take a Stand, besides Keller, are Michael Mina, Todd English, Akira Back, Paul Bartolotta, Grant MacPherson, Charlie Palmer and Megan Romano. At presstime, Blau said tickets were nearly sold out.
The festival’s first night also will feature an event that promises to be far more casual, and in which Blau’s husband, Honey Salt chef and owner Kim Canteenwalla, will be participating. Grills & Guitars, from 9 p.m. to midnight (8 p.m. for VIP) Oct. 25, will pair live music and grilled food that’s anything but down-home. Participating chefs include Bruce and Eric Bromberg, Jonathan Waxman, Cat Cora, Tom Colicchio, Michael Symon, Nancy Silverton, Jet Tila, Scott Conant, Aaron Sanchez, Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Rick Moonen and David Myers. Tickets are $175, or $225 for VIP, and do not require purchase of a festival ticket.
Two-day general-admission tickets are $159.50, or $349.50 for VIP, which includes a shaded lounge, lounge seating, VIP restroom facilities, admission to VIP concessions and more. Festival tickets will allow admission to The Culinary Village, which organizers are calling a “bazaar of epicurean delight.” Participating restaurants, which include Blue Ribbon, Honey Salt, Fleur, Strip Steak, the various Wolfgang Puck restaurants, Nobu and many, many more (more than 50 chefs will participate) will offer their own takes on festival food, which will be offered a la carte, from 1 p.m. to midnight Oct. 26 and noon to 11 p.m. Oct. 27.
Festival tickets also will allow admission to The Alchemy Gardens from 1 p.m. to midnight Oct. 26 and noon to 11 p.m. Oct. 27. This event will enable participants to meet master brewers, winemakers and distillers (with purchase of additional tickets), with a la carte beer, wine, spirits and sake available. Flight tastings will be available in the Alchemy Gardens for $40 for nine tastings.
Chefs on Stage, included with festival admission, will run from 1:45 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26 and 12:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 27 in The Culinary Village. More than 20 chefs are expected to participate in demonstrations.
For an additional $130, plus festival admission, or for $290, which includes a two-day general admission ticket, is the Culinary Crawl, a dining tour from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26. The topics and chefs are “Pigs & Whiskey” with Kim Canteenwalla and Sven Meade at The Flame Steakhouse at the El Cortez, “From Korea to Japan” with Akira Back at the Park on Fremont and “Amaro & Amare,” with Richard Camarota and Megan Romano at Eat.
On Sunday, for an additional ticket, the topics will be “Rare and Rosso” with Jonathan Waxman and Nancy Silverton at Eat, “Tongue and Cheek” with Rick Moonen at Le Thai and “Bones & Brews” with Cat Cora and Jason Tuley at the Park on Fremont.
Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at email@example.com or 702-383-0474.