Luxe Life Blog
Photos: ‘Top Chef Masters’ picnic challenge at Venetian airs tonight
The past seven weeks of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” have all been edge-of-the-seat challenges filmed in Las Vegas, and tonight comes the toughest yet. As the cheftestants get down to the wire with two episodes to go for the finale, they were challenged in one of the greatest underground dining events: a Diner en Blanc (all-white dinner).
Each chef had to create a picnic-style meal with overflowing ingredients to create an epic feast and box it up for the first-ever Diner en Blanc in Las Vegas. As the chefs said: “A sea of white came from nowhere and just as suddenly we had to feed 150 people!”
I was in the thick of it. My James Bond assignment was to find five ladies dressed in white ready to report for 7 a.m. film assignments at the Venetian. We were given seating charts, chairs and tables and baskets with plates, cutlery, crockery and glasses. At high noon, we raced onto the Strip front and amazingly within five minutes were in place outside the Venetian forecourt awaiting the exhausted chefs. Watch the episode tonight at 10; until then, no secrets can be revealed.
I can tell you that my five beautiful guests all get to meet the chefs and the celebrity judges after the challenge. Twelve chefs set out at the start of Season 4 of “Top Chef Masters” competing to win $100,000 for their charity and the prestigious title of Top Chef Master.
They were headquartered at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which has been featured in several episodes. The winners of every Quickfire Challenge have been awarded $5,000, while the victors of the Elimination Challenges received $10,000 for their designated charities. Chef Curtis Stone has been the host alongside returning judges James Oseland and Ruth Reichl, and our entertainment scene has been well represented.
Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard and burlesque queen Dita Von Teese were in last week’s knockout episode, “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood headliner Holly Madison hosted a brunch pool party episode, and other celebrities have included the Indigo Girls, the B-52s and Olympic champion Brian Boitano.
“Food is sexy and pretty seductive,” Curtis said. “But there’s a reason some foods have been widely accepted as aphrodisiacs; they’re just undeniably luscious. The same could be said for Dita Von Teese, our guest judge for the Quickfire Challenge. Aside from the obvious, what really made her sexy was how much she loves food. What chef isn’t a total sucker for a girl who likes to eat?
“We gave our contestants a crash course in Thai cuisine at Lotus of Siam … arguably the best Thai restaurant in America. This unassuming restaurant serves some of the most exciting Thai food I’ve eaten outside Thailand. It was fantastic having Sugar Ray Leonard as a guest judge, too. An amazing fighter in the ring, he was super insightful about what it means to be a competitor in any profession.”
Tonight’s episode will be screened directly onto the Strip on the Cosmopolitan’s digital marquee with fans watching from the resort’s Boulevard Pool deck. Only one more viewing party remains for Sept. 26.
Additionally, the Cosmopolitan’s chefs have been featured this season, and now Estiatorio Milos has launched an “Eat Like a Top Chef Master” menu in honor of the top-rated show. He was featured on last week’s episode. Restaurateur Costas Spiliadis’ four-course, $150 prix fixe menu with wine pairings will be available during dinner and served through the end of October. It features several signature dishes, including charred Mediterranean octopus and a daily selection of salt-crusted fish.
We’re having our own Diner en Blanc at Valentino’s in the Venetian, and we’ll have that follow-up report Thursday.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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