Tickets are on sale for the 13th annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit culinary festival. The preliminary lineup includes 15 events at various properties and attractions on and off the Strip that will take place over Mother’s Day weekend, May 9-12.
This year’s lineup includes the return of some of the most popular participants from previous years. They include Gordon Ramsay, Guy Fieri, Guy Savoy, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Nobu Matsuhisa, Michael Mina, Masaharu Morimoto, Shawn McClain and Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, among others. The event will also feature representatives of some of the hottest recent additions to the local culinary scene and at least one that’s still in the planning stages. Among the first-time participants are NoMad’s Will Guidara; reality, TV star restaurateur and future Caesars Palace operator Lisa Vanderpump; and L.A. food truck sensation and creator of Park MGM’s Best Friend Roy Choi.
As in years past, Friday night’s Grand Tasting remains the centerpiece event, providing fans the chance to sample the cuisine of more than 50 top chefs accompanied by a choice of over 100 wines and spirits within Caesars Palace’s sprawling Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis. To counterbalance that bash, and Saturday afternoon’s multi-chef Picnic in the Park dine-around across from Toshiba Plaza, there will more intimate events such as Masters Series dinners by Ramsay, Savoy and Matsuhisa.
For those looking for something new, first-time participant Christina Tosi will teach guests how to make her famous cake truffles as they sip champagne. And Mark LoRusso will stage a miniature dine-around of his own in the poolside cabanas at Wynn Las Vegas’ Costa di Mare.
“It’s going to be all outside and it’s going to represent the coast of Italy, the Amalfi coast,” LoRusso explains of the format. “We’re going to be grilling langoustines out there, grilling octopus, roasting whole fish in the kitchen and fileting it out there … showing lots of different types of fish and lots of different cooking methods.”
This will year will mark the 13th time Susan Feniger’s Mandalay Bay Mexican spot Border Grill has been at the event. This year, she’ll participate in three events: the Grand Tasting, Picnic in the Park and a solo endeavor called “A Smokin’ Good Time with Susan Feniger.”
Feniger says for chefs, Uncork’d provides “an opportunity for people to hang out and chat and reconnect.”
Moreover, she says after all these years the attendees, both the locals and returning visitors, view it in a similar way.
“I don’t (always) know their names,” she says of the familiar faces. “But there are people who have come to our events and said ‘I’ve been here every year for one of your events.’ And I meet people at the Grand Tasting who say ‘I always come to your booth.’ ”
Newcomer Roy Choi says large food festivals like this usually aren’t his cup of tea.
“It’s something I kind of stopped doing a long time ago. I wasn’t really (into) how things were going in the whole food festival world. I kind of became my own Pearl Jam and kind of went to my own little space and put all my energy back into the streets, just taking care of the people.”
He says he’s not sure what to expect from Uncork’d, noting it’s geared toward an older, more affluent market than his target audience. But he’s optimistic.
“I think they have the opportunity to make it a lot more inclusive and a lot more young,” he says.
“Everyone seems to really enjoy it, and it’s pretty exciting to see Morimoto and Guy Savoy and (some of the other chefs), all in the same place.”
Contact Al Mancini at email@example.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.
If you go
Tickets for all Uncork’d events are on sale now at vegasuncorkd.com. Prices vary, ranging from $100 for a tasting and tour at The Mob Museum’s Underground speakeasy to $6,500 to reserve the Krug Chef’s Table at Guy Savoy’s Master Series Dinner.