The eyes of the culinary world were focused on Vdara at CityCenter last night as the luxury hotel hosted the kick-off event for the Food & Wine All-Star Weekend. Featuring “Top Chef” judge and “Top Chef: Just Desserts” host Gail Simmons, the night celebrated culinary genius as some of the world’s greatest chefs gathered at CityCenter.
The night started off with a red carpet to remember. Simmons, recently named one of the top 25 most fashionable New Yorkers by US Weekly, led the charge, wearing a glamorous purple dress and gray stilettos. She was soon joined on the carpet by Food & Wine writer Anthony Giglio and Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2009 Vinny Dotolo. The trio posed for pictures while talking about, you guessed it, food.
A crowd began to gather around the carpet and camera flashes erupted as “Top Chef Masters” contestants Hubert Keller and Rick Moonen were joined by “Top Chef” contestants Stephen Hopcraft, Hosea Rosenberg, Fabio Viviani, Carla Hall and Jennifer Carroll. Like a high school reunion, the group shared hugs and handshakes while laughing and joking around.
The last group to hit the carpet was the prestigious chefs of CityCenter and Bellagio, including Masa Takayama, Shawn McClain, Julian Serrano, Jean-Philippe Maury, Martin Heierling and Brian Massie, among others. The group, clad in their chef’s whites (or chef’s grays, in the case of Heierling), were a lineup of the who’s-who of culinary stars as they posed for pictures with one another.
After the carpet ended, the party began as the chefs and celebrities made their way into Bar Vdara, the chic new indoor/outdoor lounge. Once inside, the chefs mingled with the excited guests and posed for pictures with their adoring fans. Heierling went to work as he prepared the food and beverages for the evening’s festivities while Simmons took to the microphone to say a few words, thanking both CityCenter and Food & Wine for the great event.
The night at Vdara came to an end as many of the chefs left to participate in Deuce After Dark, an event where the chefs competed in blackjack tournaments with eager guests.
Saturday will be another activity-filled day as the chefs have the Luxe Lunch at Tuscany Kitchen in Bellagio at noon followed by the Cocktail Seminar at Café Vettro in Aria at 4:30 p.m. and then the All-Star Tasting at the pool at Aria at 8 p.m.