Secrets of a Keller, Strat to Remodel Pool and Chefs Lend a Hand to St. Jude’s

Chefs Rick Moonen and Barry Dakake. | Photo by Bryan Steffy/WireImage.

Chefs Rick Moonen and Barry Dakake. | Photo by Bryan Steffy/WireImage.

Chef Hubert Keller recently shot the fifth season of his PBS show, Secrets of a Chef, in the network’s local affiliate studio. The season will run for 26 episodes, half of which are cooking demos shot here, with the other half being culinary tours of the Las Vegas-based chef’s favorite cities, including Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Paris and, of course, Las Vegas. Among the demo episodes are “Classic Dishes for Entertainment,” “Seafood,” “Gluten Free,” “Healthy,” “Pool Party” and “Beer Pairings.” Catch Keller this summer on Vegas PBS.

While I was chatting with the Stratosphere executive chef Rick Giffen for an upcoming Thanksgiving dining feature, the chef let it slip that the resort is planning a $3 million renovation for its eighth-floor pool during the down season. The revamp will include the installation of an additional bar, two more hot tubs, a putting green, nine “huge” cabanas that will accommodate 10-12 people each and 15 smaller cabanas. Giffen adds that he’s already retooled the pool menu, “so the food can be on the same level as the pool deck.” In other words, elevated.

Finally, I dropped by the Palms on November 7 to check out the St. Jude Against All Odds Celebrity Poker Tournament and dinner to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and bumped into a couple of local chefs. N9NE Steakhouse’s Barry Dakake prepared a surf and turf dinner for the event’s guests, who included RM Seafood/Rx Boiler Room’s Rick Moonen. Moonen raised $20,000 by offering three hosted meals during the live auction. Later, the two chefs participated in the tournament: Moonen was eliminated about halfway through, while Dakake progressed to the final table and finished just one place short of the prize pool. In all, the evening raised more than $400,000 for the cause.