The woman who brought Las Vegas the Back of the House Brawl late-night cooking competition has a brand-new nocturnal party she’ll be rolling out later this month. A midnight meal and culinary competition called BOH Brawl presents Dine & Duel will launch on March 28 at The Sand Dollar Lounge.
Jolene Mannina created the Brawl, where established Las Vegas chefs cooked with a basket of mystery ingredients on borrowed food trucks, in 2011. She’s seen it through various incarnations on and off the Strip, and on cable TV, in the years since. This year, however, she’s doing things a little differently. While Dine & Duel will carry on the tradition of bringing members of the food-and-beverage industry together under the stars after work on a Saturday night, it will shift the focus more toward the community than the competition.
“We have chefs coming in to do a family meal, cooking kind of large-format,” she explains of the new series. “We’ll still do a level of competition in there. But it will be like a quick competition. So guests can put their names in a hat, front of the house or back of the house, and we’ll pull names out to do little, quickfire (cooking) challenges.”
Mannina says the old Brawls, which were held last year in The Park adjacent to T-Mobile Arena and also in the parking lot of The Sand Dollar Lounge, evolved over the years. And while that was exciting, she wants to take things back to their roots.
“When we turned into a TV show, I think it changed all of it,” Mannina said. “And then I felt like I had to do more production, and we started to build lineups in advance. We started to evolve it, which was fine. But I think a big piece of it is really the hangout time — let’s get some good food, chill out and unwind after work and have fun together.”
Graffiti Bao’s Marc Marrone will be the featured chef at the first Dine & Duel. He’ll create a meal to be shared family style in the courtyard behind The Sand Dollar, 3355 Spring Mountain Road, between 11:30 p.m. on March 28 and 2 a.m. the following morning. Tickets, available today through SecretBurger.com, are $25, and include dinner, a cocktail and beer tasting, and the opportunity to put your name in the hat for a chance to compete in front of the crowd.
Mannina is planning a total of seven events over the course of the year. And, while future dates and chefs haven’t been locked in yet, the short list is said to include James Trees of Esther’s Kitchen.