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‘Chopped’-style competition with Las Vegas chefs makes return

Updated July 19, 2017 - 4:08 pm

Just a few years ago, the hottest underground event in the local food world was the Back of the House Brawl, a series of late-night cooking competitions at Tommy Rocker’s on Dean Martin Drive, which challenged top chefs to cook with bizarre ingredients on cramped food trucks.

After a short-lived TV series spin-off shot at the Palms, it will return for six monthly contests beginning Sept. 16 in rotating locations across the valley. The full lineup hasn’t been announced, but confirmed so far are Shaun King (Momofuku), Emily Brubaker (Urban Seed), Ricardo Heredia (China Poblano), John Courtney (Carson Kitchen), Daniel Laferriere (Spago, Boston), Josh Clark (The Goodwich), Nicole Brisson (Mario Batali restaurants), Richard Hoffman (Border Grill), Vincent Rotolo (Evel Pie), Rick Giffen (Top of the World), Justin Hall (Sparrow & Wolf), Sean Collins (RM Seafood), Chris Decker (Metro Pizza) and James Trees (Esthers).

Mirage shakes up lineup

The Mirage is in the midst of a shakeup of its restaurant program. The sushi and robata restaurant Japonais became Otoro this year, and two more major changes have been announced. Samba Brazilian Steakhouse will close Aug. 31, with Portofino following by the end of the year. The good news for Portofino chef Michael LaPlaca’s dedicated fan base is that he will be on board for the opening of a new Italian concept in the old Samba space. As for what will become of the Portofino space, nobody is saying yet.

Openings

Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast has unveiled its renovation and expansion that made it 50 percent larger.

The second valley location of Metro Diner has opened at 7305 S. Rainbow Blvd.

And another location of Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken has opened at the Grand Bazaar Shops on the Strip.

Sightings

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Eric Thames at Shake Shack at The District at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson. In town for NBA Summer League: legendary coach Pat Riley and players Jamaal Franklin, Devin Harris, Tyler Ennis, Derrick White, Ivica Zubac, Brandon Ingram, Harry Giles, Jamal Murray, Pat Connaughton and Bryn Forbes at Topgolf at MGM Grand.

Have an item for Kitchen Confidante? Email hrinella@reviewjournal.com or amancini@reviewjournal.com.

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