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Colleagues show love for Simon

In one of the culinary community’s more touching tributes in many years, about two dozen local chefs joined chef Kerry Simon onstage Friday when he was honored at the Silver State Awards at The Venetian.

The emotional show of support came a day after Simon, 58, announced he is battling an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease.

Before Simon was announced as the recipient of the visionary award, the group of chefs filed onstage. When Simon arrived onstage in a wheelchair, he was greeted by “one of the longest standing ovations I’ve seen,” according to N9ne Steakhouse executive chef Barry Dakake.

He was presented the award by culinary legend Emeril Lagasse and “best restaurateur” winner Elizabeth Blau, a partner in several eateries with Simon.

Among the chefs onstage: Blau’s husband, Kim Canteenwalla, Rick Moonen, Akira Back, Carlos Guia, Michael Kornick and Dakake.

Simon, who has been a star chef in Las Vegas since helming the kitchen at Prime for New York chef/restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, thanked his fellow chefs for their support and the Nevada Restaurant Association for the award. Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque fame received the pioneer award.


Entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs returns to KSNV-TV, Channel 3 next month as host of “Vegas Vibe,” a half-hour show dedicated to the electronic dance music explosion. Jacobs, who left the station in early 2011 but continued to freelance there in 2012, is teaming up with executive producer-creator Ian Howfield. The show debuts Jan. 18 after “Saturday Night Live.” Jacobs said the plan was for an entertainment show titled “Vegas Uncovered” but an interview with DJ Armin van Buuren led to a decision to devote the full show to EDM, the DJ scene and up-and-comers. A factor in changing directions, Jacobs said, was the “huge syndication interest. It’s what people want.” …

Recent newsroom hires at KSNV-TV include Charlie Zobell, former Review-Journal managing editor, and media veteran Dave Berns, who worked at the R-J, the Sun and hosted KNPR’s “State of Nevada.” They are working as special projects producers. …

Haley Caldwell is the new communications coordinator for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. She is a 2012 graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in creative writing. …

Author, TV and radio figure Wayne Allyn Root will guest host Michael Savage’s “The Savage Nation” from Dec. 23 to 30.


Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. climbed into a Las Vegas taxi on Monday and found a novel way to promote his next fight. He commandeered the cab’s two-way radio and started talking up his fight (even though it has not been announced). A cab company supervisor scolded the “passenger” and told him to stay off the airwaves, according to the Twitter feed of @lvcabchronicles. …

Larry Edwards, best known for his Tina Turner impersonations for two decades, is one proud Larry after appearing in an Instagram photo with Britney Spears. The photo was taken at the welcoming ceremony for Spears at Planet Hollywood Resort two weeks ago. Spears loved his look: Edwards was wearing a pink boa and white sunglasses. Spears wrote: “How totally Vegas is he? … omg … love him.” More than 1 million people saw the Instagram photo, and 86,000 clicked “like.”…

Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl purchased Gene Kelly’s gray suit from the musical “Singin’ In The Rain” at a Dallas auction last week. A retired Northern California postal worker had bought the suit for $10 in 1970. Earl paid $106,250. Earl has not decided where to display the suit.


Jay Z, with friends at Hakkasan (MGM Grand) on Friday. He had performed earlier at Mandalay Bay on his “Magna Carta” tour stop. … Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, dining at Nobu (Caesars Palace) with Dakake on Friday. Montana also was spotted at Carmine’s (Forum Shops at Caesars) on Saturday. … Country superstar Toby Keith joined his daughter Krystal Keith onstage Thursday night at Revolver Saloon inside Santa Fe Station. They performed the song “Cabo San Lucas” off her debut, full-length album “Whiskey &Lace.” At Saturday’s finale of the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas &Mack Center: NFL great Gale Sayers and country music legend Charlie Daniels.


“HBO’s Liberace movie ‘Behind the Candelabra’ got the most nominations of any TV show. I hope whoever did the costume design gets an award. I don’t know how they pulled it off, but they made Liberace seem, well, kind of effeminate.” — Craig Ferguson

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.

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