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Border Grill, Lotus of Siam chefs to represent Las Vegas at James Beard House

Representatives of three Las Vegas restaurants will be at the James Beard House in New York next month.

Mike Minor, executive chef of Border Grill and BBQ Mexicana at Mandalay Bay, will be featured in the “Bold Mexican Flavors” program Feb. 3. Minor said he was invited to make the appearance.

“I’m still not 100 percent sure how it happened, but I’m just very excited,” Minor said Monday. “A lot of people have told me getting invited is a really big deal” (it’s more common for chefs to apply to cook at the house and submit plans before they’re approved).

Minor said he’s even more excited because he’ll be taking a winemaker from the Mexican winery L.A. Cetto, and those wines will be featured with the dinner. Also making the trip will be restaurant general manager Yancy Perez and a couple of sous chefs. Minor’s menu of four hors d’oeuvres and five courses includes such dishes as Black Mission Fig quesadillas with house-made flour tortillas, caramelized shallots, Roquefort cheese, Oaxacan string cheese, candied pecans and chipotle aioli, and pan-roasted Mexican grouper with Okinawan sweet potatoes, seared pea tendrils, oversized choclo corn, habanero-ginger beurre blanc and cilantro oil. It’s $140 for James Beard Foundation members, $180 for members of the general public.

Minor said after the dinner, he plans to re-create it in Las Vegas, and anyone who attends the one in New York can come to the local version for free.

The excitement in Minor’s voice was palpable Monday.

“We’re going to hop on a plane, head to New York and show people what Vegas is all about,” he said.

Later that month, Penny Chutima, general manager of Lotus of Siam, will take part in one of a series of events that highlight the alumna of the foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program. “New Voices: Thailand Meets Japan” on Feb. 20 ($140/$180) also will include a chef from Nashville and a butcher from New York; the menu has not been announced.

James Beard Award-winning Saipin Chutima, chef of Lotus of Siam and Penny’s mother, will also participate in the event, and a Beard spokeswoman said they’re planning a future dinner “that will highlight fully Lotus of Siam and Saipin’s irrefutable legacy on our food culture.”

And in another Las Vegas connection, Vegans, Baby founder and CEO Diana Edelman will return to the Beard House for a May 18 vegan dinner collaboration.

For more information and details on these events, visit jamesbeard.org.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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