Saturday, May 16, 2009
Celeb Chef's Blackjack Tourney
My favorite part of Vegas Uncork'd 2009 was attending the Chef's Blackjack Tournament at Encore standing behind Chef Robuchon. Thanks to Emily Wolford for this perk. I served the important duty as official cheerleader and gave moral support to JR( this man has 25 Michelin Restaurant stars)! Alex Gaudelet, MGM's director of Food & Beverage, served as translator/coach. Chef told me that he was a novice blackjack player, however he knew when to bet, hit and hold.
After round 1 of 10 hands, Chef was ahead in chips. It was the 11th hand, doubling down on a pair of 8's that broke his bank. What an honor to stand behind my culinary mentor during the short tournament. Elaine Wynn, owner of Encore Las Vegas and event hostess graciously greeted players. I extended my hand to introduce myself as a loyal patron of the Wynn dynasty. Elaine welcomed me like I was a long lost friend. SO impressive.
Chef and I left the table after his elimination. He & Alex went to dine at Botero Steakhouse (Encore). I went into Casino Encore to find Goldberg hitting the machines. After an hour I returned to the exclusing outdoor pool area to get another glass of Perrier-Jouet Champagne and explore the chi-chi nightclub XS scene (I was doing research).
There was Chef Robuchon holding court on a comfy outdoor sofa with chilled Belvedere Vodka and Verve-Cliquot Champagne for his posse (Exec. Chef Eric Bouchenoire,GM Emmanuel Cornet, and resv. manager, Dara Pierce). What a host! He waved me over to sit next to him, enjoy more champagne with pulsing European disco and watch the parade of loosing tourney chefs. Too much fun. A lovely end to Vegas Uncorked.
How great to hang out with Robuchon & his A- team! Merci, Chef.
p.s. Chef Paul Bartolotta won the Tourney.