On Monday, the Venetian and Palazzo hosted the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award nominations press conference. Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation and other board members of the foundation presented the semifinalists in each category. No Las Vegas restaurants made the final cut despite long list nominations for Picasso at the Bellagio for Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Wine Program, Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand for Outstanding Service and Mitsuo Endo, the chef at Aburiya Raku, for Best Chef: Southwest.
Ungaro expressed her gratitude for the host property, citing that the Venetian and the Palazzo are home to more James Beard Award-winning chefs than any other property in the world. Olivier Dubreuil, the executive chef of the resorts, created a menu including seared Wagyu strip loin with crunchy purple potato mash, baby branch carrots and Japanese artichoke, croquet Madame with slow cooked egg in rosemary ham béchamel, truffle brioche toast and Gruyere cheese and Moroccan lamb and sweet potato hash filled “cigar” with yoghurt gelee, lemon crunch and cilantro.
The press conference was streamed live on the Venetian’s Facebook page as well as Eater National’s website. Archives of the webcast can be found on the Venetian’s website.
Later in the evening, resorts hosted the Friends of James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner to salute their 25th anniversary and to support the foundation’s scholarship fund. Foodies and their guests enjoyed a savory five-course menu prepared by chefs representing James Beard Award-winning restaurants including Matthew Hurley from CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Jacob Wetherington from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Jason Neve from Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante and Carnevino, Sean Roe from Emeril Lagasse’s Table 10, James Beard Award-winner Luciano Pellegrini from Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino and Olivier Dubreuil, executive chef for the Venetian and the Palazzo with wine pairings provided by Southern Wine & Spirits.
Courses included roasted heirloom beet salad sun chokes, petite mache and black truffle vinaigrette; hand-made orecchiette with local spring vegetables, arugula pesto and mangalitsa pancetta; roasted sturgeon with wild mushrooms, fava beans and red wine sauce; spring lamb medallions over a fava bean puree with a spring garlic-flavored demiglace, served with whit easparagus tips, butter fried potato tourney, wild mushrooms and fava beans; and chocolate mascarpone cream, nougatine tuile with sweet Amarena cherries with balsamic reduction.
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