‘Hubert Keller: Secrets of a Chef’ filming its third season for PBS

Chef Hubert Keller’s got a new Las Vegas kitchen.

But unlike the kitchens at his local restaurants — Fleur at Mandalay Bay and Burger Bar at Mandalay Place — you won’t be able to order food from this one. Unless, of course, you make it yourself.

That’s because the new kitchen is at KLVX-TV, Channel 10 — and home to PBS’ “Hubert Keller: Secrets of a Chef,” which begins production on its third season this week.

Technically, production already has begun with on-location footage featuring Keller at his Strip restaurants.

This week, however, Keller moves into a new, custom-designed kitchen studio at KLVX headquarters, inaugurating a five-year partnership between Keller, producer Marjorie Poore and Las Vegas’ PBS station.

Keller describes his show’s new home as “the largest customized cooking show kitchen set” he knows, one designed like “a real restaurant kitchen, and you put all your knowledge in.”

The demands of the camera also played a role in Keller’s new kitchen set, he explains, from “knowing where we want to have the ovens positioned” to “making sure the refrigerator is close to me.” (Keller’s left-handed, so the custom set-up accounts for that as well.)

Viewers also will see some truly personal touches when “Secrets of a Chef” returns to PBS this spring, from Keller’s antique copper molds to chef sculptures by an artist from Sonoma, Calif., where Keller taped the show’s previous seasons.

Double shot: It’s a two-in-one week for Canada’s Merit Motion Pictures, which visits Las Vegas for two projects.

First up: “Skeptics,” an hourlong documentary for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that “examines why so many people believe in conspiracy theories,” explains director Andy Blicq .

The show will focus on conspiracy theories from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Princess Diana.

But it’s the UFO universe that brings “Skeptics” to Nevada, Blicq notes, with “a little bit of work around Area 51” and a visit to Rachel (home to the Little A’Le’Inn) planned today and Tuesday.

Las Vegas itself also figures in Merit’s location plans, according to Blicq; a camera crew will visit the World Market Center’s current furniture show for a pilot about “trying to market furniture in a sustainable living environment.”

Gamble on: It’s downtown and beyond this week for “The Gambler,” a made-in-Vegas update of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic novel shooting through early February.

So far, most of the movie’s locations have been downtown — and this week’s location list features a longtime Glitter Gulch staple, the El Cortez. But the Palms’ room-with-a-view restaurant, Alize, and the off-Strip Westin also turn up on this week’s location list, reports Rich Hopkins, one of the U.S. producers for the drama from Hungarian-born producer Zoltan Miklos Hajdu and his writer-director brother, Szabolcs .

Taxing question: With Nevada’s legislative season gearing up, so is a renewed effort to bring production incentives to Nevada, one of only six states without tax breaks designed to lure movie and TV productions. (States with incentives, such as New Mexico and Pennsylvania, have seen big-screen activity skyrocket in recent years.)

A request to draft legislation has been submitted, and “we’re looking forward to the session,” according to James “JR” Reid, president of Las Vegas-based JR Lighting and part of the Nevada Film Incentive Task Force, which is supporting the proposal.

For more information, check out the group’s website, www. nevadafilmincentive.com; you’ll find background information about tax incentives and their impact on filmmaking. And, naturally, stay tuned to Shooting Stars for regular updates.

Quick takes: Among the ongoing TV shoots continuing this week: History’s “Pawn Stars” and its “Rick’s Restorations” spinoff, E!’s “Holly’s World” and Animal Planet’s “Tanked.”

Carol Cling’s Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272.

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