Las Vegas-raised chef Robert Butler didn’t like his odds when confronted with the barbecue challenge in the World Food Championships last weekend.
"It’s not my style of cuisine, and I don’t indulge in it," said Butler, a classically trained chef.
What mattered were his technique and creativity.
First his two-man team repping Paris Las Vegas won the sandwich competition with braised pork butt crisped in duck fat. That $10,000 win sent Butler and wingman Lowell McCain to the final table against other category winners (the other categories were chili, side dish, burger, best recipe and chef challenge).
In a blind draw, barbecue came up as their challenge.
That was last on his list of preferences, Butler said.
But Butler and McCain went to work on a pulled pork sandwich that beat out a jumbo burger by one vote to win the $50,000 prize.
Butler took over the kitchen at Café Ile St. Louis at Paris Las Vegas a year ago, and McCain is the chef at Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas.
Butler, a 1996 graduate of Chaparral High School, grew up around a professional chef. His mother worked in kitchens at the Golden Nugget for years.
He plans to place his winnings in an investment for his two sons, Dominic, 15, and Gavin, 7.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Marley Taylor and Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie perform together for the last time tonight, after a run of nearly 12 years together. They will be on the Third Street Stage at Fremont Street Experience. They said goodbye to their fans at Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort on Friday, where they had spent most of their 6½ years since moving to Las Vegas. They kept the act together after separating as a couple about three years ago. She got married this summer.
At Friday’s grand opening of Cirque du Soleil’s "Zarkana" (Aria at CityCenter): Francis Ford Coppola, Taylor Hicks, Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad," "Glee" stars Dot Jones and Harry Shum Jr., Siegfried & Roy, Guns N’ Roses stars DJ Ashba and Richard Fortus, Pia Zadora, Criss Angel, Carrot Top and chef Carla Pellegrino.
Grammy winner Sergio Mendes, dining at Bartolotto Ristorante di Mare (Wynn) on Thursday Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, dining at Tao Asian Bistro (Venetian) on Thursday before heading up to the club. Also at the club: former NFL lineman Warren Sapp and Olympic swimming gold medalist Cullen Jones, at separate tables. … Patrick Duffy appears at Saks Fifth Avenue (Fashion Show mall) on Thursday, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Duffy is joining Saks vice president and fashion director Eric Jennings. Open to the public, the event is a benefit for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.
THE PUNCH LINE
"I went out to vote. I was in line for four hours. And then it turned out later that it was a gas line." – David Letterman
Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. His weekly segment, "Norm Clarke’s Vegas," airs on KTNV-TV, Channel 13 every Thursday.