A slew of culinary events showcased the chefs behind the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., this past weekend. From private dinners to hands-on demonstrations to a blowout tasting event, it’s hard not to think that the culinary offerings at the Borgata are just as good as what you’ll find at Las Vegas’ best casinos, with chefs that are just as passionate about what they do.
The weekend’s events included a marzipan demo in the hotel’s bakery with executive pastry chef Thaddeus DuBois, a three-course "lunch and learn" demo with Wolfgang Puck American Grille chef Aram Mardigian, a hands-on ravioli-making demo with Fornelletto chef Stephen Kalt, a sushi-making demo and sake pairing with Izakaya chef Michael Schulson, a bourbon and barbecue pairing with Jillian Vose, the head bartender at New York’s Death & Co, a blind wine tasting with sommelier Robert Bigelow and Borgata wine director Anjoleena Griffin-Holst, a beer-pairing lunch with Goose Island, a wine seminar, a class on making a "molecular" Bloody Mary, tequila and tacos with Casamigos tequila, and a brunch with Geoffrey Zakarian. Bobby Flay was also on hand to demonstrate making a clam chowder and pork chops in front of a packed house in the casino’s Music Box Theater.
The signature event of the weekend, however, came on Saturday night, as hundreds of guests gathered to sample more than 20 bites prepared by the hotel’s staff in the main event center; a walk-around tasting called Street Eats. Flay was on hand to dish out his New Mexican-style chicken skewer with green chile vinegar dipping sauce, as was Iron Chef Michael Symon, who served a vinegary pulled pork sandwich with pickled onions. Both chefs took the time to chat with each guest and pose for photos. Other dishes on offer were a "pork three ways" sandwich with pulled pork, pork roll, and bacon; waffle-battered fried chicken with cilantro apple slaw; bacon cheeseburger egg rolls; lamb gyros; shrimp po’boys; three types of house-made sausages from Wolfgang Puck American Grille; fluke, yellowtail, and salmon hand rolls from Izakaya; and assorted cake pops for dessert. Wine and beer were also free-flowing.
This weekend was not only devoted to showing off the amazing skills of the kitchen crew at the Borgata, but also the skill and commitment of their lineup of chefs, who were elevated to celebrity status (the participation of huge name-brand chefs like Flay and Symon didn’t hurt, either). While Atlantic City is starting to get chilly as fall wears on, this weekend confirmed that there’s always a good reason to make the trip down to the shore.