US Bocuse Team Chosen, Blau To Mentor Women and Andrés Encourages Dine N Dash

The 2017 Bocuse d’Or Team USA (bottom row) with Ment’Or chefs Bocuse, Keller and Boulud.

The sports world has the Olympics. But when it comes to food, the greatest international challenge is the Bocuse d’Or. The cooking completion, founded by legendary chef Paul Bocuse, takes place every two years in Lyon, France, with teams representing nations from around the world. To determine who would represent the Unites States at the 2017 battle, a preliminary round was held on December 17 at the Venetian. The team from Thomas Keller’s famed Per Se in New York, helmed by Matthew Peters (pictured above, bottom row, center), won the honor and promised, “We’re gonna represent [the U.S.] with a gold.” All of the competing teams were mentored by chef Keller, who operates Bouchon in the Venetian, as well as Daniel Boulud, who runs DB Brasserie in the same resort. Boulud says the event was held here because “Las Vegas is able to project—internationally—a wonderful image of a city that cares about food in all spectrums.”

Are you a woman who wants to break into the culinary world—or do you know one? The James Beard Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2016 Women in Culinary Leadership grant program. Beard Foundation trustee Rohini Dey says, “The WICL Grant was created to break through the barriers of what I call the ‘gastro ceiling’—a paucity of women executive chefs and even fewer as leading restaurateurs. This program is about building women’s operational skills, financial literacy, confidence and networks in the field.” Twenty-two positions are up for grabs this year with 19 mentors, including Las Vegas’ own Elizabeth Blau, co-owner of Honey Salt, Andiron Steak & Sea and Made L.V. The deadline is January 20.

For most of us, the old “dine-n-dash” is a dirtbag way of ditching the check after the meal. But leave it to José Andrés to turn it into a good time for some good causes. On February 5 the chef will lead his own version at SLS Las Vegas that will allow guests to enjoy the food at Bazaar Meat, Katsuya, Cleo, Ku Noodle, Umami Burger, 800 Degrees and Northside Café. Joining him for the fun will be his pal Curtis Stone, whom you might know from Top Chef Masters or his L.A. restaurant Maude. In addition to the food, you’ll get to enjoy a cooking demo by the chefs and some “cocktail theater” at the casino’s Center Bar. Unlike the traditional dine-n-dash, however, you will have to cough up some dough. Tickets start at $99, with proceeds going to Three Square food bank and Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, which works to find solutions to poverty and hunger worldwide. Spring for a VIP ticket, which start at $199, and you’ll also get to attend a happy hour at the Bazaar Casino and a concert by AWOLNATION.