Monday, May 20, 2013

Las Vegas Uncork'd 2013: Grand Tasting @ The Garden of The Gods Oasis Pool, Caesar's Palace (Photos)

This years Las Vegas Uncork’d 2013, was something to behold. It isn’t often you can attend a multitude of parties designed to indulge ones gastronomic desires all while rubbing elbows with the most celebrated names in the culinary world. We were able to catch a few great photos and snack on an assortment of feats directly from the minds that control the most sought after kitchens around the globe. Although bon appetite magazine presented the entire affair, a myriad of public relation firms, hotel marketing teams and many other companies helped to make all of these wonderful events achieve the results everyone was anticipating.

Hitting up the Grand Tasting at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace we were amongst the mob of people looking to get their hands on freshly prepared canap├ęs from the likes of Chuys Tacos, Gordon Ramsay Steak, Hypnotiq, Don Q Rum, Aureole, Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak and many more. It was interesting to see everyone’s approach to eating so much food in such a tight space, being that everyone was so elegantly dressed. With Chefs like Morimoto, Boon, Colicchio and Ramsay walking amongst the crowd it was truly a foodies dream to be able to shake hands, show some love and enjoy a great cocktail in this atmosphere.

The drinks were flowing, the mood for the evening was incredibly fun and to top it all off, the food was incredible. From al pastor tacos, pork belly over candied peppers, alcohol infused root beer floats to beef sliders and house made marshmallows over chocolate sauce, truly this evening wasn't designed for those with a diet in mind. Many of us have worked in kitchens or have at least attended enough functions at restaurants to have caught an up close glimpse as to how hard it is to make events of this nature happen, especially when your firing off hundreds of orders by the minute. That being said our hats go off to each and every staff member of every restaurant, liquor brand and hotel staff member on hand, who kept the drinks flowing, the food circulating and grounds clean so that a fun time could be had by all in attendance. From the young up and coming culinary arts student to the experienced restaurant owner looking for new ways to bring in customers, Las Vegas Uncork’d is a place to find inspiration or rekindle your love with the kitchen.

Highlights in the form of food for me came in the way of a Wagyu Beef Tongue Shepherds Pie from Strip Steak (who you will see a review on in the next few days on the site) and the Al Pastor tacos from Chuys. Stepping up to the lively booth, we were greeted by Chef Jordan Hoffman who with a smile and a bit of conversation handed us a plate of pure joy. 

Growing up in Southern California and eating tacos of almost any kind is nothing new, but these tacos had so much flavor coming from the slow cooked pork combined with the perfect amount of old school cilantro and onions to let you know Chef Hoffman and his gang weren’t taking any shortcuts this evening. True there were dishes on hand that oozed elegance and class, such as the house-made Italian sausage Crostini but sometimes all it takes to make people happy is a good old fashioned taco and a perfectly blended libation.
I would have to say the hit of the evening came from Chef Gordon Ramsay’s corner of the function as he had smoke wafting throughout the entire party, that was literally stopping people in mid sentence to have them ask “do you smell that and where can I find whatever it is?” Chef Gordon Ramsay was in full force at this party, taking pics with guests and sharing a few laughs with his hardworking crew who, all were working feverishly to produce the necessary amounts of beef sliders, pork belly and sticky toffee pudding to feed the horde of hungry party goers.

Having spent a few hours at the party it became evident it was time to head to the next affair when a few happy party goers began to take off their shoes and slip their tired dogs into the pool. For those unsure if they would have a good time in such a high-class themed event, the answer is a resounding yes indeed! Even the stuffiest of individuals would feel compelled to let their guards down this evening too partake in two of greatest things that make the world go around, Food & Drink.

If this event was any sort of indicator for what we had in store over the next few days we knew we were in for a great time. Thanks to all who worked hard to make it such a success for you truly deserve a nod of appreciation.   

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