Vegas Uncork'd is an annual food event held in...you guessed it, Las Vegas. It was held this year (it's 3rd year) from May 7th through 10th. There were a ton of activities going on including Masters' Series/Gala dinners, culinary workshops (like making pasta, sushi, pastries, etc.), wine immersion seminars, culinary competitions, an interactive luncheon, black jack tourney, and the list goes on... I wanted to take part in quite a few activities. Unfortunately, 90% of the activities that interested me were sold out by the time we decided to book our trip. Do not feel sorry for me. This was a lesson learned on why we should stop being procrastinators! The one activity I did get to participate in was the Ultimate All-Star Interactive Luncheon. And it was awesome.
The interactive luncheon was held at the gorgeous Wynn Resort. This event was a lot of fun. Each table had a chef assigned to assist/direct the table in preparing each course. Our Chef was Joseph Leibowitz from Alex. Here is a not so great and out of focus photo of Joseph and I.
The lunch consisted of 5 courses and 5 expertly paired wines. Each course was created by a different acclaimed Wynn or Encore Chef. Each Chef presented how to prepare the course at the head of the room. At the same time, Chef Joseph assisted our brave table mates prepare the various courses. I REALLY wanted to cook the 2nd from last course, but another woman at the table beat me to it. My only excuse for losing the opportunity is that the delicious food and wine had dulled my cat like reflexes dramatically. The last course was prepared by Frederic Robert, Executive Pastry Chef, Wynn/Encore.
So here is the menu... You'll want a napkin close by to catch the drool.
Chilled Lobster with Spring Vegetable Crudites and Lemon Vinaigrette
Terlano, Sauvignon Blanc, Quarz, Alto Adige, Italy 2007
Sauteed Sea Scallops with Porcini Mushrooms
Planeta Cometa, Sicilia, Italy 2007
Spring Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto
Vincent Girardin, Rully, Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy, France 2006
Marinated Squab Breast, Caramelized Japanese Eggplant
Couscous with Fresh Mint and Pistachios
M. Chapoutier, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, La Bernardine, Rhone, France 2005
Crispy Chocolate Dome
Domaines Schlumberger, Gewurztraminer, Vendanges Tardives, Cuvee Christine, Alsace, France 2000
Each course was bursting with flavour and absolutely delicious. I wish I could have had 2nds (3rds even) of everything. The wine was also wonderful. The pairings really showed how the flavour profiles of both food and wine are enhanced when properly paired together. It also made me wish I had a Master Sommelier on staff! Speaking of which... each table had it's own Master Sommelier. I unfortunately did not catch the name of ours. Here is another, poorly taken photo (have I mentioned that I regret taking my point & shoot with me to the event instead of my DSLR?).
One of my lunch companions was Shaena Engle, from The Divine Dish. Shaena is, among other things, a free lance food and travel writer. I really enjoyed speaking with her about her travels and the different restaurants she has dined at. Shaena is the person who recommended eating at Dos Cominos! I owe her big time for that recommendation. Everyone else at our table was also really friendly, outgoing, and just great dinning companions. I think that helped make the event so much fun.
Vegas Uncork'd has already set the dates for 2010 - May 6th through 9th. I'll be keeping an eye on the event schedule. I really REALLY hope I can go again next year. And this time, not procrastinate and be able to participate in more than one activity/event!
Now, as previously promised... Here are one of the recipes from the luncheon. I've made this twice since returning from Vegas. It is awesome. So print it off, run to the store, and make it for your friends and family this weekend. They'll love you for it!
Spring Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto
Recipe by Marc Poidevin, Switch
2 cups semolina flour
2 tbsp fine sea salt
3 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced fresh prosciutto
1/4 cup diced leeks
1/2 cup fresh spring peas, shucked
1/2 cup fresh pea shoots
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the flour, salt, olive oil, egg and water until thoroughly mixed. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a small strip (like a play dough snake); then cut into small pieces about the size of a quarter. Mold the small pieces on the back of a fork. Refrigerate the gnocchi on a lined sheet pan for an hour before cooking. Cook the gnocchi 20 minutes in salted water. Toss with a little olive oil and allow to cool down on a sheet pan.
Blanch the peas very quickly in salt water and reserve. Cook the prosciutto very slowly until brown and then add leeks, peas and pea shoots. Add the chicken (or vegetable stock) and butter. Once butter is combined, add the warm gnocchi. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.