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It used to be that you had to travel to Manhattan to eat fromthe table of a celebrity chef. It also used to be that Las Vegaswas a barren wasteland of $5.99 all-you-can-eat prime rib buffets.Both are no longer true. In the last 15 years, the Las Vegasculinary scene has changed dramatically. The worlds of conspicuousexcess and super gourmet dining have fused together under thebright lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

Vegas, the place to be

Sure, most of the best celebrity chefs still have restaurants inNew York, but that is no longer enough. Now every major hotel andresort boasts one or more world-class restaurants run by acelebrity chef. The MGM Grand out does them all with four celebritychefs in its stable: Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck, Tom Colicchio andJoel Robuchon.

No one knew it at the time, but when Wolfgang Puck opened abranch of his famous Spago eatery at Caesar’s Palace, he started atrend that has nearly every celebrity chef opening a restaurant inLas Vegas. Before Spago, thoughts were that people went to Vegasfor entertainment, while dining and culinary events were anafterthought. The famous Las Vegas buffets were just a way forcasinos to keep their patrons close to the gaming tables. Thesuccess of Spago, however, showed that Vegas visitors were alsolooking for unique dining experiences to go along with the gamblingand shows.

A “who’s who” of culinary captains

It may have taken them a while to call Vegas home, but you can’twalk a block on the Strip without seeing the names of celebritychefs plastered on billboards or up in lights. Nearly every majorresort and casino boasts a top celebrity chef, whose culinarycareers have expanded in the Vegas area. Here are just a fewthat serve the tourists and the high rollers.

* Wolfgang Puck

One of the first celebrity chefs and the first to open arestaurant in Las Vegas, Chef Puck is the clear front runner, withsix restaurants in Sin City. He has a sampling of everything frombistro to Chinese fusion to a taste of southern Italy.

* Bobby Flay

This Food Network star was an early adopter to Las Vegas. HisMesa Grill Las Vegas continues Flay’s unique blend of haute andSouthwest cuisines. Your meal is sure to be spiced up with anchos,habaneros or chipotles, a Bobby Flay signature.

* Michael Mina

With three Las Vegas restaurants, Chef Mina seems to be chasingafter a Wolfgang Puck-like coverage of the strip. Of the three,Seablue at the MGM Grand is the best. It’s maybe even the bestseafood restaurant in Las Vegas.

* Nobu Matsuhisa

Anyone who has ever eaten at one of Matsuhisa’s 25 restaurantsaround the world knows that they are in the presence of a mastersushi chef. The competition among sushi restaurants in Las Vegas isfierce, but Nobu Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has noproblem rising to the top.

* Alain Ducasse

So what do you do when you are literally the greatest Frenchchef on Earth? You open a restaurant in Las Vegas, of course. Mixin Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Resort and you get ChefAlain’s classical French traditions to new-style American cuisine.The results are undeniably delicious.

The list of celebrity culinary talent continues with EmerilLagasse, Charlie Palmer, Daniel Boulud, Bradley Ogden, ToddEnglish, Mario Batali, Hubert Keller, master French chefJean-Georges Vongerichten and many more. The culinary awards thatcome from these chefs and their restaurants in the Vegas areacontinue to grow.

Clearly, if you go to Las Vegas for the entertainment and fun,you should stay for the food.

Information in this article was provided by Le Cordon BleuCollege of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas. Contact Le Cordon Bleu todayif you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge andcareer-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program. (LeCordon Bleu does not guarantee employment or salary.)

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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