Get Uncork’d

Culinary workshops, competitions, star chefs’ luncheons and dinners, Mother’s Day brunches, a grand tasting and a gala dinner will all be included in Vegas Uncork’d: A Bon Appetit Epicurean Experience, scheduled for May 8-11 at various local venues.

Events will begin at 6:30 p.m. May 8 with dinner at five Strip restaurants. A dessert seminar, workshop on getting the most out of your organic market, and a session on culinary trends (with luncheons at three Strip restaurants in between, just to ensure participants get proper sustenance) will follow on the afternoon of May 9, with the evening culminating in a cocktail smackdown and Grand Tasting of the fare of 52 local restaurants (plus wine and cocktails). Events of May 10 will include luncheons at five Strip restaurants and the completion of the Culinary Pro-Am, with the gala that evening featuring food by chefs Julian Serrano (Picasso), Todd English (Olives), Michael Mina, John-George Vongerichten (Prime) and Jean-Philippe Maury, all of Bellagio. And, in a nod to tradition, the festival will close with Mother’s Day brunches May 11 at Wynn Las Vegas.

Serrano, who is participating in a May 9 luncheon as well as the gala dinner, noted that because a lot of participants will be coming from out of state, the event is good public relations for local chefs — "to promote myself, the hotel and Las Vegas; a good moment to show people what you are doing."

Many of the sessions also will have educational elements. At his luncheon, Serrano will discuss tapas, the little plates of Spain (including their history), as well as preparing and serving them, and New York sherry expert Steve Olson will discuss sherries to pair with tapas.

Celebrity überchef Wolfgang Puck, who has six Las Vegas restaurants (Spago and Chinois at the Forum Shops at Caesars, Postrio at The Venetian, Trattoria del Lupo at Mandalay Bay, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at MGM Grand and Cut at the Palazzo) will be co-chairman of the festival along with Barbara Fairchild, Bon Appetit editor-in-chief.

Other participating chefs include Alex Stratta (Alex, Bellagio), Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill, Mandalay Bay), Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys and Burger Bar, Mandalay Bay), Carla Pellegrino (Rao’s, Caesars Palace), Paul Bartolotta (Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Wynn Las Vegas), Bradley Ogden (Bradley Ogden, Caesars Palace), David Walzog (SW Steakhouse, Wynn Las Vegas), Agostino Sciandri (Ago, Hard Rock Hotel) and Kerry Simon (CatHouse, Luxor, and the soon-to-open Simon Restaurant & Lounge, Palms Place).

Tickets range from $75 to $350; a full schedule and tickets are available at www.bavegasuncorked.com.

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.

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