Tag Archives: Rick Moonen

Las Vegas Chefs Battle for Best Chef of the Year honors at James Beard Awards

Three Las Vegas chefs are battling for the coveted title of Best Chef of the Year Southwest in the 2010 James Beard Awards, and several other Strip chefs are represented in the Oscars of the food industry, as well. 

The finalists were announced last week in New Orleans, and the winners will be announced May 3 at New York’s Lincoln Center. 

The three Best Chefs of the Southwest finalists are the off-Strip Saipan Chutima from Lotus of Siam, Claude Le Tohic from Joël Robuchon at MGM and Rick Moonen from RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay. 

Michael Mina from MGM, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio and Aria is recognized twice in the prestigious awards: His RN74 in San Francisco is nominated for Best New Restaurant, and his self-named restaurant, also in the City by the Bay, is nominated for Outstanding Service, competing against Robuchon’s restaurant at MGM Grand.

Robuchon’s MGM pastry chef Kamel Guechuda is up for the Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year. 

Chef Tom Colicchio, well known to foodies here for his Craft at MGM and as host of Bravo’s Top Chef, is nominated as Outstanding Chef of the Year for his original Craft in Manhattan. 

Two other New York chefs with outposts in Las Vegas will also battle in the Outstanding Restaurant Award category: Mario Batali, who has restaurants at The Venetian and Palazzo, has been nominated for his Babbo in New York City and Daniel Boulud from the Wynn for his Daniel in Manhattan. 

Timothy Hollingsworth, former Venetian chef for Thomas Keller Brasserie and now at Thomas’ French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., has been nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year. 

In other Las Vegas chef news, Todd English from Bellagio and Aria was nominated for Best TV Special for Food Trip With Todd English, as was The Venetian and Palazzo’s Emeril Lagasse who will go head-to-head with English in the TV category for Emeril’s Culinary Adventures: Napa

And architect and designer David Rockwell, who has masterminded numerous Las Vegas restaurants, Crystals at MGM’s CityCenter and the show Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, will be inducted into the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.

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Top Chef Filming in Las Vegas?

If the Tweets on Twitter are to be believed, the sixth season of Bravo TV’s Top Chef has reportedly begun filming on location in Las Vegas.  top-chef And apparently Los Angeles Times reporters are believers too, saying that filming for Season Six will begin today.

Las Vegas has already been an integral part of Top Chef history. The Season One finale took place at the MGM Grand and most of the season’s shows have found Las Vegas chef’s represented in the kitchen including Season One runner up Tiffani Faison, Season Two runner up Marcel Vigneron, Season Three winner  Hung Huynh, and Season Five chef Eugene “Gene” Villiatora.   

Althought the host site has not been officially named, the newly opened M Resort in Henderson, Nevada is rumored to be the site of the chef-on-chef competition.  

Other reports have Top Chef filming in Seattle, Washington.  However, it’s possible that both stories are true.  Bravo TV has announced both a “Top Chef Junior” and “Top Chef Master” series – spin-offs of the original TV show that targets a different caliber of culinary king and viewer. 

“Top Chef Master” will begin airing June 10 and will feature 24 prominent Las Vegas chefs, including Hubert Keller, Rick Moonen, Roy Yamaguchi and Ludo Lefebvre.

Keller has Fleur de Lys restaurants in San Francisco, his home, and at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas; Moonen co-owns rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay; Yamaguchi has two Roy’s Restaurants in Las Vegas and Lefebvre recently left Lavo at The Palazzo in Las Vegas to open Ludo Bites in Los Angeles.

Stay tuned to Las Vegas Backstage Access for more Top Chef details.

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DISH Las Vegas Culinary Fundraiser on April 3

In the depression of the 1930s, soup kitchens and breadlines were the primary sources of nutrition for a large portion of the country.  Now, in the recession of 2009, organizations like Three Square in Las Vegas are serving as disbursement hubs for donated foods and trying to keep meals on the tables of lower to middle class families in Southern Nevada. 

To support Three Square, local Las Vegas chefs and entertainers will be participating in DISH Las Vegas – a first time fundraiser at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve on April 3. 

Planned to participate will be Chef Kerry Simon, Chef Rick Moonen, Chef Peter Sherlock, Chef Rock of Hell’s Kitchen, Carrot Top, George Wallace, Clint Holmes, Louie Anderson, Susan Anton and UFC Fighters. 

The one-day event will include an art exhibit of personally designed plates, exceptional food, wine and musical entertainment.

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