Vegas Uncork’d Event History
Bon Appètit’s Vegas Uncork’d celebrated its twelve year anniversary this last weekend, and for the first time in a while, I decided to attend. A week after the Wine Spectator Grand Tour, I apparently thought that I was getting bored. Silly me.
Vegas Uncork’d is more than a one-day event, and to be fair, there was little about “cork” in the “uncork’d” moniker. Because the parent is Bon Appètit, you know that it’s all about the food. The extra events were scheduled throughout the weekend and were mostly about culinary. While there were a few events about adult beverages, including a private Bourbon dinner featuring Pappy Van Winkle (swoon), a Speakeasy tasting at the Mob Museum, and a Vodka and Caviar Happy Hour with Tony Abou-Ganim, among others, it was all about food!
Vegas Uncork’d began its four-day run on Thursday with a grand opening fanfare. There were groups of chefs and other important notables in the world of food and wine. Fun? You bet!
This debut event was held at “The Park,” a new open events area located roughly between Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo), the T-Mobile Arena, and New York New York. It’s an open, breezy area that was perfect for the event. Because the arena is the home of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, there’s all kinds of Knights love everywhere!
The title of the event was “Saber Off,” and was focused around the tradition of sabering the top from a bottle of Champagne, and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto was tasked with the honors. Those of us in the press stood on a raised platform, and the chefs and other culinary celebs stood opposite. Chef Morimoto took a few tries – well, more than a few – but eventually, he successfully sabered the bottle and thousands cheered. Okay, *dozens* cheered!
Pardon me while a do a little bit of name dropping! Susan Feniger was there sporting her always radiant smile. I didn’t get to meet her, but couldn’t help but smile every time I looked at her. I spoke briefly with Jason Smith, Master Sommelier and once the youngest person to achieve that status. I met Tony Abou-Ganim, and because I’m a former bartender and love the art and science of Mixology, I basically screamed like a schoolgirl. I’m so glad that he had such a great sense of humor and allowed a photo of us. Naturally, I had a photo with Chef Morimoto, as well as with Chef Christina Wilson, winner of Season 10 of Hell’s Kitchen and in charge of Chef Ramsay’s Las Vegas restaurants. We’re both Philly gals, by the way. A couple of players from the Las Vegas Aces WNBA expansion team were there, and we had the opportunity to try to sink some baskets. I sank about five out of eight. Yes, I rock. Who knew that the tall drink of water, Adam Rapaport of Bon Appètit, was the guy seemingly impressed with my skills, especially when he learned that I’m officially elderly.
A few people I saw and didn’t meet included Graham Elliott (Debbie always drools when she sees him. Interesting.) Michelle Tribble (Hell’s Kitchen latest winner), Timon Baloo (Iron Chef Gauntlet), and Guy Savoy, chef and eponymous restauranteur who has the best eyebrows ever.
The weather was prototypical Las Vegas – hot, sunny, and dry. It was the “hot” part that was melting lots of people who aren’t used to the weather. We were able to take a few photos, video the sabering event, and, afterward, mingle a bit. Because it was hot and dry, Debbie and I moseyed over to the BeerHaus, which is the “official” pre-game watering hole for the Vegas Golden Knights’ fans. There are times when beer is the only answer.
Enjoy the video! I apologize for the shakiness since I’m getting used to some new software and obviously made a boo boo. Or several.
Next up: The Grand Tasting!