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‘Top Chef’ contestant Shirley Chung returns to Las Vegas for dinner

Celebrity chef Shirley Chung is back in Las Vegas to co-host a sold out collaborative dinner Saturday night at Red Plate in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The evening will serve as a sort of homecoming for the veteran of Seasons 11 and 14 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” After spending time in the kitchens of Thomas Keller and Guy Savoy, she served as executive chef at Jose Andres’ China Poblano, located just one floor down from Red Plate in The Cosmopolitan.

“I always feel like I’m coming home,” Chung said of returning to town, and the hotel.

“I opened Cosmopolitan hotel nine years ago,” she continued. “So (it’s) such a blessing. And now I’ll be able to showcase how I’ve grown since I left China Poblano.”

Saturday’s meal will launch a new rotating culinary series at the resort called “Paired,” that will partner guest chefs and industry personalities with members of the Cosmopolitan’s culinary team. It will consist of eight courses: three from Chung, three from Red Plate’s Yip Cheung, and two collaborations. Cheung’s contributions will focus on a more classic approach to Chinese cuisine, while Chung is promising a more modern interpretation.

The chefs hosted a late lunch on Friday to preview a few of the dishes for members of the media. And in a development that seemed like it could have come straight out of Top Chef, Chung found herself unable to prepare one of her dishes, matsutake mushrooms with steamed egg custard and matsutake consommé, in time to present it to the guests. So after introducing her contribution to the collaborative first course, a compressed Asian pear with Sichuan peppercorns and ice lettuce, she took a seat with the guests as they enjoyed Chueng’s dishes.

The Red Plate chef made sure nobody left hungry by adding a sample of his lobster and foie gras course to the tasting, which already included his pickled tomatoes, a panko-crusted crab claw and baked sea bass. And Chung promised everyone that all of her dishes would be ready to go in at the real dinner.

There’s no word yet on who will participate in the next “Paired” event, or when it will take place, but they’re expected to happen about once every quarter.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.

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