In the 38 years that the UNLVino weekend celebration has been in existence, the Grand Tasting marked the end of the weekend. The 39th year, however, brought yet another event to enjoy. The inaugural "BAR-b-q" was held on a beautiful Sunday morning at Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
The unique building awed guests with its architecture, which closely resembles a brain. This "brain" however, on this day was full of celebrity chefs, mixologists, and an eclectic mix of food, wine, beer, and spirits.
Just inside the entrance, guests got the spirited afternoon going by stopping at Flight 69 Gin’s booth, complete with flight attendants and a pilot pouring their gin cocktail.
The main room was all abuzz with spirits, dishes, and celebrity chefs. A first stop for many was Poppy Den and a visit with Top Chef alum Angelo Sosa for a photo op, conversation and a sample of his unique tasty creations. Looking across the room, we noticed yet another big-name chef and headed in his direction. Chef Scott Conant needs no introduction as he is well known for Chopped, other shows, and of course his renowned Scarpetta restaurants. Guests also got a bonus treat when Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto stopped in to "hang out" and enjoy the inaugural festivities as well.
The Bar-b-q was not just about food, however. The afternoon was elevated even higher with craft cocktail creations by master mixologist Francesco Lafranconi. "We are pleased to introduce BAR-b-q as UNLVino’s first mixology-focused event," Michael Severino, director of marketing and special events for Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, told the crowd. "Given Las Vegas’ burgeoning mixology scene, the talents of Francesco Lafranconi and a truly extraordinary event venue, we are excited for BAR-b-q to join the ranks of UNLVino’s longstanding signature events."
MGM Grand president and chief operating officer Scott Sibella , an alumnus of UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration and a 25-year hospitality industry veteran, was recognized with the Dom Perignon Award for Excellence by distinguishing himself through inspirational leadership, character, and work ethic.
The Inaugural UNLVino Bar-b-q, with its A-list mixologists and chefs, provided guests with a lovely, intimate afternoon with delicious bites and enticing spirits that is sure to be added to UNLVino events in the future. We are already thinking about what next year’s Bar-b-q will bring!