Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shinkansen to Shibuya , Vegas UNCORK'D transports guests to late night Tokyo for Sushi ,Sake and Music at the MGM Grand's Shibuya

Guests who attend Bon Appetit's Vegas UNCORK'D can enjoy great libations and dishes late into the evening . The Shinkansen to Shibuya late night event took guests on a journey across the ocean to Japan.





Shibuya , (渋谷区 Shibuya-ku) is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, Japan. The name is also used to refer to the central business district of Shibuya Ward, which surrounds Shibuya Station, one of Tokyo's busiest railway stations. Shibuya is known as one of the fashion centers of Japan, particularly for young people, and as a major nightlife area.

Shinkansen (新幹線, new main line), also known as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Shinkansen literally means new trunk line, referring to the tracks, but the name is widely used inside and outside Japan to refer to the trains as well as the system as a whole.

The MGM Grand's namesake Japanese Restaurant Shibuya is expansive and spectacular, it's the ultimate destination for Japanese cuisine. Direct from the stylish Tokyo district, Shibuya features freshly prepared ingredients, stellar sushi and a large sake selection . This very special restaurant was the venue to experience the night life of Tokyo .


Guests were transported to Tokyo for an evening designed to evoke the hip, urban culture of Japan. Our first stop, the futuristic NeoTokyo inspired sushi lounge complete with food stalls and teppanyaki stations where many guests danced , drank and ate their night away.





Our next journey took us into Shibuya’s sake cellar for a chance to taste over 200 varieties of sake and finally enjoy an ultra lounge complete with Japanese go-go dancers and Japanese DJs .







Master Sushi Chef Yoshinori Nakazawa showed his expertise as one of the best as we walked "the streets" and sampled some great Sushi and Japanese street food.

Chef Yoshinori Nakazawa was born in Ibaraki State, Japan and raised in Tokyo. At the age of 18, Nakazawa took interest in Japanese cuisine and enrolled at Shinjuku Culinary School.



He trained there for one year learning basic cooking skills from around the world. Upon graduating from the school, Nakazawa set off on a series of apprenticeships throughout Tokyo.

His first was position was with his mentor Chef Hayashi at Sakae sushi restaurant, where he spent four years learning Kaiseki-style cooking, the Japanese version of haute cuisine.


Nakazawa then went on to learn new skills such as robatayaki, a Japanese grilling style, and isakaya, a traditional Japanese cooking style, at restaurants throughout Tokyo.























In 1995, Nakazawa moved to America to cook at the robatayaki-style restaurant, Yagura Ichi-ban, in Los Angeles. After five years, Nakazawa moved on to be part of the opening team for Sushi Roku in Pasadena, California before coming to Las Vegas as Head Chef of the newest Sushi Roku.

In 2007, Nakazawa joined Shibuya at MGM Grand as Master Sushi Chef. In his current role, he oversees the daily preparation and creation of sushi at MGM Grand’s modern, innovative Japanese restaurant.

Shibuya was a great venue for this transformational experience. The contemporary décor and Yabu Pahelberg’s dramatic design offered us a distinctive dining environment to match the diversity of Shibuya’s cuisine.

A large marble sushi bar and playful virtual aquarium set the stage for this Master Sushi Chef 's creative rolls and sashimi dishes, while teppanyaki seating create intimate environments for enjoying the culinary performance of teppan griddle cooking.

The main “Bento Box” dining room’s kelp-like pillars create private niches for savoring Executive Chef Stephane Chevet’s modern Japanese cuisine while sampling from Shibuya’s extensive sake collection.

The music , sushi , sake and decor all combined to make Vegas UNCORK'Ds Shinkansen to Shibuya late night event one of the most unique experiences a guest could have.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Pellegrino and Straci Familes provide a Master Series Dinner at RAOs for Vegas UNCORK'D that was impressive


The fourth Vegas UNCORK'D continued with its tradition of unmatched events over four days of " Foodie" heaven in Las Vegas .





The Master Series dinners held all over the famed Las Vegas strip provided guests with some real "Star " quality.With a choice of Masters Series Dinners at Restaurant Guy Savoy , Bradley Ogden , Bobby Flay and RAOs there was no way anyone could go wrong.


With all of those choices we stopped in at RAOs in Caesars Palace and enjoyed a multi-course dinner featuring Chef Carla and her Southern Neapolitan dishes served family style. Bon Appetit Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton hosted this wonderful evening with two legendary families

The Pellegrino and Straci families need no introduction. Ron Straci, co-owner of Rao’s, remembers serving as an informal waiter in 1947 at the age of twelve during the Feast Of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. During the feast, Rao’s closed its kitchen so as not to compete with the sidewalk stands set up during the holiday.
“I was allowed to don the famous white apron the uncles wore and help serve our customers.”


"Having spent every Sunday dinner I could remember with “Mama Jake,” as my grandmother Francesca was called by her children and grandchildren, Rao’s Bar and Grill, next door to my grandmother’s, seemed like such a wonderful haven of good friends, fast smiles, and wonderful smells. I can still remember the smell and taste of the sauce and meatballs that Mama Jake would make for our family. She would make enough to feed the family and the customers at the restaurant Uncle Lou reminded me of Clifton Webb; Uncle Vincent was casual, but polished. I remember the cars, usually convertibles and mostly black Cadillacs. I remember the dogs, usually large and black, always secondhand. Strays found a home at Rao’s, always wondering in and out of the restaurant. Only the passage of time has made me an owner, but the fond memories of family, food and friends live through our line of food products.”



When the family decided to expand the Rao’s concept to Caesars Palace Las Vegas in 2006, Carla Pellegrino was the natural choice to head up the kitchen. With Frank Jr. managing the front of the house, Carla has created inimitable classic Rao’s dishes, and some new favorites, as well.



Carla has made many guest appearances, including cooking on the “Today” show (NBC), the Food Network, and has been a favorite at the acclaimed DeGustibus Cooking School in New York City and various Williams-Sonoma stores. She is an author as well having contributed to six cookbooks, including Meat and Potatoes, The New York Restaurant Cookbook: Recipes from the Dining Capital of the World, and Rao’s Recipes from the Neighborhood.


Arriving at RAOs we were greeted by non-other than Frank Sr himself and were escorted to the RAOs patio over looking Caesars "Garden of the Gods " pool for some pre dinner cocktails. Shorty after our cocktails were winding down we joined the other guests in the main dining room and waited with great anticipation of what Chef Carla and her staff would come up with. Having eaten at RAOs many times in the past we knew were in for an incredible culinary journey though southern Italy.


RAOs Vegas UNCORK'D Master Series Dinner Menu

ANTIPASTI :



Calamari alla Sarda
Fresh Calamari stewed with Gaeta Olives, Fresh Tomatoes , Capers and White Wine

2008 Venica Sauvignon Blanc " Ronco Del Cero "



Insalata Capricciosa
Frisee Lettuce , Red Endive , Juliene Carrots , Tear Drop Tomatoes , Fennel and Shaved Parmesan Cheese with Dijon Mustard.

2008 Venica Sauvignon Blanc " Ronco Del Cero "


PRIMI PIATTI :




Risotto agli Scampi

Langoustine Risotto







Cappelletti con Prosciutto e Radicchio

Mini Raviolis made with Rabiolla
Riocotta and Parmesan Cheeses,
Parma Prosciutto , Radicchio Cream




Rao's Meatballs
Traditional Veal , Beef and Pork Meatballs

2007 Raimondi Valopolicella Classico " Santa Lena "

SECONDI PIATTI :




Dentice alla Livornese

Pan Seared Red Snapper over Sauteed Spinach ,
Topped with
a Tomato , Caper Berry and Gaeta Olive Sauce







Arrosto di Vitello Tartufato

Roasted Veal Stuffed with Pancetta and Burgundy Truffles

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes , Sauteed Fava Beans




2007 Campo Al Mare Vermentino

2006 Malvira Langhe Nebbiolo


DOLCE :



Panna Cotta con Salsa alla Nociola
Baked Cream with Hazelnut Salsa
Macedonia di Frutta Con Gelato
Italian Style Pinot Grigio Marinated Fruit Salad ,
Vanilla Gelato

2009 La Spinetta Moscato d' Asti " Biancospino "


The Masters Series Dinners at the Vegas UNCORK'D venues provide guests the rare opportunity to enjoy signature dishes and interact with renowned Chefs. This is just one of the aspects that Bon Appetit brings to "the table " with its Vegas UNCORK'D events. No matter which dinner , luncheon or other event the guest may choose to attend. You can be assured it will be world class. We know our dinner at RAOs was just that.



The Venetian and Palazzo team up for Master Series Luncheons at Vegas UNCORK'D


The Venetian / Palazzo's first year with Vegas UNCORK'D was a true success. The Cuisineist stopped into these award winning Resorts for their Master Luncheon series in association with Bon Appetit's culinary annual extravaganza of food and one of a kind events.


World-renowned chefs of The Venetian and The Palazzo delighted guests with creative, menus to tantalize their taste buds. guests of the luncheon were taken on a culinary journey, courtesy of the skilled and talented Executive Chef of the restaurant.

At The Palazzo, Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild along with co-host, Andrew Knowlton, Bon Appétit's Restaurant Editor, celebrated a delicious afternoon with pioneering celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at CUT. Modeled on Puck's critically acclaimed, award-winning Beverly Hills restaurant, CUT offers a contemporary twist on the classic steakhouse. A delectable four-course meal consisted of Austrian White Asparagus, Butter Poached Maine Lobster, US Kobe New York, and Baby Banana Brulee. Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Valentino even stopped by to say hello while Chef Puck was preparing the dishes! At the end of the event, guests received Wolfgang Puck’s newest cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy

At The Venetian, guests had an opportunity to escape to an urban Parisian brasserie with James Beard award-winning chef Joachim Splichal of Pinot Brasserie. A decadent selection of Chef Splichal’s award winning California-French cuisine with everything from seafood to traditional French desserts was offered. Hosted by Bon Appétit Executive Chef Cat Cora., the exquisite menu included a first course of Layer Tuna Tower with avocado and tomato, a second course of sweet and sour Santa Barbara spot prawn, a main entrée of Spring Lamb sampler with goat-cheese-tomato-asparagus stuffing, and a scrumptious dessert of Chocolate beignet with cherries chaud-froid. The Patina Cookbook, a gift presented to each guest, complimented Chef Splichal’s afternoon culinary genius and allowed guests the opportunity to embark on their own food-inspired adventure in the kitchen.

Also at The Venetian, Chef Luciano Pellegrini and restaurateur Piero Selvaggio hosted an intimate luncheon inside Valentino with Bon Appétit Senior Food Editor, Sarah Tenaglia . This award-winning restaurant, sister to the iconic Valentino in Santa Monica, delighted guests with a mix of classic and contemporary Italian cuisine.

















The Luncheon at Valentino was our choice of Luncheons and we were not disappointed. Upon arrival , guests were greeted by Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio and James Beard award winning Chef Luciano Pellegrini as we sipped on a Lemon Martini.

This mouth watering Luncheon began with appetizers that got us started off on a afternoon culinary journey that was memorable.





Fagittini di Burrata al Tartufo

Cannellini and Cuttlefish

Fried Lobster Lollipop with Vodka Sauce

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Lemon Martini


FIRST COURSE :

Smoked Tartare Trio with Agrumato

2008 Estate Chardonnay
Santa Lucia Highlands




SECOND COURSE :

Risotto all' Onda with Dover Sole Filet and
Spicy Vodka Sauce


Papapietro Perry , Pinot Noir
Elsbree Vineyard , Russian River Valley




THIRD COURSE :

Spring Lamb Medallions with Tender Fava Beans and Red Onion Marmalade




Papapiertro Perry Zinfandel
Elsbree Vineyard , Russian River Valley


DESSERT COURSE :



Gelato , Gelato , Gelato


Strawberry Beer Cocktail






A wonderful afternoon was experienced by the guests as we enjoyed culinary conversation, wine pairings, and extraordinary
interactions with renowned chefs . The Venetian / Palazzo raised the bar pretty high for their first ever Vegas UNCORK'D events. But how could they not be memorable when they are showing off with three James Beard award winning Chefs right in the heart of these beautiful resorts





Friday, May 21, 2010

A plan that can protect or weaken Wild Salmon is just around the corner


On the heels of the catastrophic oil spill that is crushing wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is poised to make a decision this week that could change the fate of endangered species in this country. On May 20, the Administration will release a federal salmon plan that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act, or weaken it. A decision to weaken the ESA for the West’s iconic Columbia and Snake River salmon could send an ecological ripple across the country — affecting every endangered species in the nation.

And the situation doesn’t look good. Instead of charting its own path, the administration is working off an illegal Bush administration plan for endangered salmon.




Because they return to the biggest, highest and best-protected habitat in America, endangered Snake River salmon are slated as the West’s best chance to save salmon for future generations in an environment threatened by climate change. These cold, crisp waters of spanning three Western states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho, will remain cold under warming climates, protecting these one-of-a-kind salmon with a one-of-a-kind habitat. Making the wrong decision on these rivers would effectively dam (pun fully intended) these salmon to extinction.

"The last cut at this plan largely ignored the impacts climate change will most certainly have on these salmon. And it ignored the unique habitat in the Snake Basin that these fish call home. The science tells us that getting these fish back home is the surest and perhaps only way to ensure salmon in the Columbia-Snake Basin under a warming world. Let's hope that in addition to protecting the ESA, the administration prepares for the current and future harms caused to these fish from global warming. Let's get these fish back to their habitat so we can ensure salmon in the Columbia-Snake Basin for generations to come." — John Kostyack, Executive Director of Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming for National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC. NWF is the lead plaintiff in the fight to protect Columbia-Snake salmon.


The Columbia-Snake Rivers may not be in your own backyard, but the effects of this decision certainly will be. Take action today to save salmon and protect America’s endangered species.

These fish are fighting right now to survive — tackling a gauntlet of dams, escaping predators and climbing higher than any salmon on Earth. They’re doing their part. Now let’s do ours !

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Cuisineist kitchen goes to work and trys a new twist on a favorite. Grass-Fed Bison Chili with Shiitake Mushrooms

Grass-Fed Bison Chili with Shiitake Mushrooms


Written by Laura Klein

















You can make this a day ahead, reheat, and serve. In fact, we found it tastes better when the flavors are allowed to sit for at least one day and become one.




Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground bison
  • 1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 pound shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons adobo seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle seasoning
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups of red kidney beans (fresh preferred, soaked overnight if necessary (read package instructions), most canned foods contain a BPA liner)
  • 1 1/2 pounds chopped fresh organic tomatoes (or canned Eden tomatoes, no BPA)
  • 3 cups beef stock (add more if needed to reach desired consistency)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses
  • 1 cup organic cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Crème fraiche
  • 2-3 chopped green onions for garnish

Directions:

Heat a deep, large skillet or a pot over high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and the meat. Season it with salt and pepper, browning and crumbling meat, for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate and return pot to stove.

Keep pan at high heat, add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, coat pan, add the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sautee mushrooms until browned and tender, remove from pan.

Add remaining veggies to the pan, once the onions, peppers and are soft add the mushrooms, back to the pan.

Add 1 cup of red wine to pan to deglaze pot and reduce to a syrup. Add meat back to the pan, season with chili powder, adobo, cumin and chipotle seasonings.

Add red beans, tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, brown sugar, molasses to pot.

Simmer for 45 to 1 hour, until flavors combine.

Top with crème fraiche, cheddar cheese and green onions and serve!

Have fun and

Bon Appetit


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

MGM GRAND AND MANDALAY BAY CHEFS HONORED AT THE 2010 JAMES BEARD AWARDS




Chefs Claude Le Tohic, Rick Moonen and

Tom Colicchio

Winners at Annual Ceremony in New York City



Chefs Claude Le Tohic, executive chef for Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Rick Moonen, executive chef and restaurateur of rm seafood at Mandalay Bay, and Tom Colicchio chef and restaurateur behind the Craft restaurants nationwide, have won coveted 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards, one of the highest marks of distinction within the culinary community.

“Among our collection of restaurants, we are very fortunate to have amassed an array of extremely talented chefs,” said Jim Murren, President and CEO of MGM MIRAGE. “I am thrilled for Rick, Claude and Tom to have been nationally recognized for their abilities by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.”

Culinary history was made in Las Vegas when legendary chef Joël Robuchon opened his first fine dining restaurant in the United States at MGM Grand. Since the September 2005 opening, Chef Le Tohic has served as executive chef for the most award-winning restaurant in Las Vegas and prepares unparalleled cuisine in a stunning setting.

Chef Le Tohic, who took home the Best Chef Southwest Award, said, “I’m delighted to have received such an esteemed honor, but I couldn’t have done it without my incredible team at Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand.”

Rick Moonen’s hosting duties on the PBS television show “Chefs A’ Field: King of Alaska” earned him a win in the Television Show, On Location category. In Chef Moonen’s episode of the Emmy Award-nominated series, he navigates the mighty Yukon River in search of the region’s legendary King Salmon which he calls, “The best fish I ever ate.” With the Native Yup’ik as his guide, Moonen fishes the glacier-fed waters and discusses the importance of salmon to the Alaskan people and the environmental future of the pristine river.

Moonen said, “I’m so proud of the ‘Chefs A’ Field’ episode which brought to light the sustainability issues I have spent my career fighting for. Winning the James Beard Award is the highest honor in the culinary world, and I could not be prouder of this achievement.”

This is the first win for both chefs and inducts them into the James Beard award-winning MGM MIRAGE family that includes Aureole, Chefs Julian Serrano, Shawn McClain, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Todd English, Michael Mina, Masa Takayama and this year’s winner for Outstanding Chef, Tom Colicchio, for his Manhattan restaurant Craft.