Pop the Cork

A bigger, bolder Vegas Uncork’d returns May 6-9, overtaking not only Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay, Wynn, Encore and MGM Grand, but three new resorts this year: the Venetian, the Palazzo and Bellagio.

Bon Appetit’s fourth annual celebration of food and wine once again attracts the biggest personalities the country’s culinary scene has to offer, and this year adds 20 new names to what was an already impressive roster. Among the new additions are local restaurateurs Charlie Palmer (Aureole at Mandalay Bay and Charlie Palmer Steak at Four Seasons), Luciano Pellegrini (Valentino at the Venetian) Wolfgang Puck (13 Las Vegas locations), Joachim Splichal (Pinot Brasserie at the Venetian) and Pierre Gagnaire (Twist at Mandarin Oriental).

The Grand Tasting moves to the Garden of the Gods pool deck at Caesars Palace on May 7, showcasing the culinary prowess of the four-day festival’s considerable lineup. Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys and Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay) adds a different dimension to the party and takes to the turntables in the Fiji Water DJ booth from 9-9:30 p.m., while more than twice the number of vine-sourced, wine-based offerings will be available compared to last year (90-plus different bottles).

The epicurean extravaganza grows to include several new events this year, too, including the smallest of the entire festival—a long sold-out, 14-person lunch with Alain Ducasse (Mix in The Hotel at Mandalay Bay); an evening of so-called “culinary theater” starring three Mandalay Bay chefs— Keller, sustainable seafood advocate Rick Moonen (RM Seafood) and Susan Feniger (Border Grill); one of, if not the first-ever cooking demonstration with Joël Robuchon (Joël Robuchon and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand); and a fashionable feast at Bellagio that merges style and taste, hosted by Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild.

The celebrity (and celebrity chef) blackjack tournament returns May 8 to the pool at Encore, with XS once again hosting the post-tournament party. Adding to the after-hours action is Shinkansen to Shibuya sake and sushi party May 6 at MGM Grand (see page 45) and Crushed: Wine that Rocks, featuring chef Joe Bastianich and Scott Ian of Anthrax May 8 at the Palazzo. vegasuncorked.com.