Haute Event: Recap of the Food & Wine All-Star Weekend

Aria chefs Shawn McClain, Michael Mina, Masa Takayama, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Julian Serrano and Jean-Philippe Maury with Food & Wine’s Gail Simmons at the All-Star Lunch. Photos: MGM Resorts International

This weekend, Las Vegas showcased its culinary prowess as four of MGM Resorts’ marquee properties came together for the third annual Food & Wine All-Star Weekend at Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay.

Aria’s lineup of culinary superstars came together Saturday for a meal to remember, the All-Star Lunch at Sage hosted by Food & Wine’s Gail Simmons. Guests had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy an meal prepared by master chefs Masa Takayama, Michael Mina, Julian Serrano, Shawn McClain, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Jean-Philippe Maury.

Chef Masa kicked off the meal with hors d’oeuvres consisting of Chutoro Zuke, Karei with green grapes and Santa Barbara Shrimp with Uni; Michael Mina presented a beautiful Foie Gras Terrine alongside roasted ciogga beets and candied Marcona almonds; the next course was from Julian Serrano who created a Thyme-Infused Scallop with citrus Valencia orange marmalade and poached sweet cherry tomato; Sage’s Chef/Creator and event host Shawn McClain made a Caramelized Salsify and Fennel Ravioli with glazed pork bell, mustard green and preserved lemon; Jean-Georges wowed with a Roasted Wagyu Filet Mignon with foie gras dumplings and miso butter; and for dessert, Jean-Philippe created “Holy Peach,” made with orange blossom, caramelized peach and yogurt sorbet.

Hosted by Michelin-starred Chef Masa Takayama, Food & Wine’s Gail Simmons and Robb Fulmer of Moet Hennessey USA, the Ultimate Champagne and Sashimi at barMASA featured sashimi paired with the world’s best champagnes. The menu included Lobster Ceviche with Veuve Cliquot Rose; Hairy Crab with Chrysanthemum with Krug Grand Cuvee; barMASA’s signature Toro Caviar served with Angel Black; “Kawahagi” Trigger Fish with white truffle julienne served with 2002 Dom Perignon; Toro, Shimaaji and Ika served with 1999 Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose. For dessert, guests enjoyed Yuzu Sorbet served with Angel Platinum.

For Four Farms, Three Chefs, Two Brothers and One Table, an incredible event hosted by Food & Wine’s Gail Simmons, Bellagio’s Grand Patio was transformed into a farmhouse setting. Sensi Executive Chef Royden Ellamar and Colorado-based Zolo Executive Chef Brett Smith created a magnificent meal using seasonal ingredients from their favorite farms complemented by wines handpicked by Bellagio’s Wine Director and Master Sommelier, Jason Smith. Guests enjoyed cured Skuna Bay Salmon, Rumskey-Glazed China Ranch Dates, Crispy Pork Belly, Buffalo Taquitos, Vegas-Grown Prawns and Colorado Lamb Loin. For dessert, Bellagio Pastry Chef Simon Bregardis presented an assortment of friandises, tarts, cakes and éclairs.

The weekend’s finale, Jasmine Dreams of Dim Sum and Champagne, offered a gourmet brunch set among the breathtaking Fountains of Bellagio. Guests were greeted by three specialty cocktails – Bellagio Spice, Far East and Caballero – created by Mixologist Ricardo Murcia, Bellagio Assistant Director of Beverage. Jasmine Executive Chef Hiew Gun Khong and Noodles Executive Chef Patrick Lee presented incredible buffet-style culinary selections such as a Lakeside Shellfish Bar consisted of plentiful portions of Alaskan Red King Crab, Chilled Green-Lipped Mussels, Fresh-Shucked Oysters on the Half Shell and Jumbo Poached Shrimp. From the Cold Table, offerings of Blackberry Yogurt Parfait, Kobe Beef Carpaccio, Lobster Profiterole and Ahi Tuna Medallions delighted palates. The event was hosted by Bellagio Director of Wine Jason Smith MS and Food & Wine’s Gail Simmons, who said this was her “first time at Jasmine Brunch and I am blown away.”

Early Saturday, Joël Robuchon Restaurant Executive Chef Claude Le-Tohic and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Executive Chef Steve Benjamin expertly guided guests through the preparation of two Robuchon signature courses at the restaurants’ Cooking Demo and Lunch event. Large flat-screen televisions lined the restaurant and projected every detail as Le-Tohic and Benjamin went to work showing guests the ins and outs of preparing, cooking and plating the spectacular five-star creations Robuchon restaurants are known for. After the demonstration, the delicious dishes were enjoyed through a three-course meal with wine pairings.

At Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, patrons were treated to some of the finest cuisine and most sumptuous wines on The Strip with an exclusive Wine Tasting and Food Pairing on Saturday evening. Winemaker Todd Anderson presented his Californian crown jewel – Ghost Horse Wine. Previously reserved to his purchase directly through his vineyard, guests enjoyed multiple glasses of this rare varietal – usually priced at $5,000 a bottle – along with four courses of Craftsteak’s world-class slowly marinated meats. A recent addition to its impressive wine list, Craftsteak is the only restaurant serving Ghost Horse Wine in the country.

Saturday afternoon, guests had the special opportunity to go back into the kitchen at Aureole for a Seasonal Pasta Demonstration with Executive Chef Vincent Pouessel, where they learned the secrets behind hand-rolled pastas highlighting the freshest ingredients of fall. Mandalay Bay Wine Director Christophe Tassan MOF poured unexpected pairings that perfectly complemented a four-course meal in Swan Court, including Yellow Fin Tuna Poke with a 2010 California Albarino, Braised Beef Short Rib Raviolis and seared foie gras with a 2007 Pinot Gris from France, Roasted California Wild Bass with a 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Coconut Scented Cheesecake with a 2009 Austrian Ice Wine.

That evening, Mandalay Bay opened its beach for a Surfside Soirée hosted by Food & Wine’s Gail Simmons, with an incredible lineup of celebrity chefs, including Michael Mina of STRIPSTEAK; Rick Moonen of rm seafood; Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken and Mike Minor of Border Grill; Hubert Keller of Fleur and Burger Bar; and Vincent Pouesel of Aureole. The chefs displayed their culinary expertise, from Moonen’s station of personalized boulibases featuring his celebrated seafood to Mina grilling his specialty-cured steaks. Embracing the beachside cookout spirit, Border Grill’s team roasted an 80-pound pig and Chef Keller seared a whole lamb over an open fire. Guests enjoyed a gorgeous Vegas night which also included top-shelf cocktails, live music and the soothing sounds of crashing waves.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Like Haute Living Las Vegas? Join our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Want Haute Living Las Vegas delivered to your in box once a week? Sign up for our newsletter.