In ChefDancing Shoes

Vegas chefs put on a tasty show at Sundance 2011

What do you get when you put three outstanding Las Vegas chefs in a Utah nightclub basement with guitarist Slash? We’re still not quite sure, but it was both tasty and entertaining. Vegas Seven was front and center as guest chef Kerry Simon served up a four-course dinner plus amuse bouche to the star-studded assembly at Sundance’s eighth annual ChefDance dinner series ( Four films were celebrated that night as was the launch of rocker Slash’s new horror-movie production company, Slasher Films.

Preparations for Simon’s fourth ChefDance began well before the Jan. 23 event and required that all the dinner’s components be shipped up from Las Vegas to Park City, Utah. Simon says, “There’s no running to the store.”

Chef’s menu was as sensitive to the season as it was mindful of the purposes of a hard-partying Sundance audience. The warm, winter vegetable soup with farro was welcomed for its hearty flavor yet remarkable lightness, leaving room for golden trout and, later, the Black Angus short rib that was a huge hit at Slash’s table. Dinner was accompanied by Rosenthal wines and a custom Belvedere cocktail created by San Diego mixology outfit, the Snake Oil Cocktail Co.

Palms Place executive chef Daniel Waked and Comme Ça executive sous chef liaison Brian Howard (formerly of Cathouse) also contributed their considerable talents. “We always try to outdo ourselves,” says Simon, who added that this year he took a half-step back, allowing the other chefs more space for creativity.

To chef Simon’s dessert of sticky pudding with warm toffee sauce, executive pastry chef/instructor Jeff Bonilla of Cups La Jolla contributed a cotton-candy homage to Simon that featured the latest buzz-worthy ingredient—the Szechuan button or buzz button flower—which kept the whole room in a heightened state of culinary consciousness.