Culinary Clash in Las Vegas

Staff Writer
Facebook/The Venetian Las Vegas

The winning dish of Culinary Clash 2012, created by chef Herb Wilson of SUSHISAMBA.

Las Vegas will be the center of several culinary events in December, all part of The Venetian’s Winter in Venice celebration. From Dec. 5 to 8 La Cucina Italiana Food & Wine Festival will bring a taste of Italy to the Las Vegas Strip, and now the date has been released for the popular late-night event Culinary Clash Master Chef Competition. This year, the event will take place during the weekend of Dec. 13 and 14, and be hosted by Robin Leach.

The culinary event returns for the second year in a row, in a revised all-in-one-weekend format, with "more opportunities for the chefs to interject good-natured trash talking, in what can only be described as a culinary 'smack down,'" according to press release.

In the Culinary Clash, chefs from The Venetian and Palazzo restaurants will be competing against one another inside mobile "food truck" kitchens located at The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace plaza. The chefs will be challenged to create recipes using ingredients from a "mystery basket," and they will be judged by chef Emeril Lagasse and other judges whose names have not yet been released. The competitions are divided to take place on both Friday and Saturday.

In addition, this year’s Culinary Clash Master Chef Competition will include a new element, Masters of Mixology, a competition among resort bartenders. Hosted by master mixologist Dale DeGroff, the competition will be set up as two teams of four bartenders, one of which will be headed by celebrity mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim and the other by Francesco Lafranconi.

All chefs and mixologists from the nearly 40 restaurants, food outlets, and lounges inside The Venetian and The Palazzo were invited to compete in the hands-on competition. The winning chef and mixology team will receive a trip to Italy, to experience firsthand the inspiration behind The Venetian and The Palazzo resorts. Last year, chef Herb Wilson of SUSHISAMBA took home the title of "Culinary Master."  

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Culinary Clash is free of admission, and people can gather around the kitchens to see the action, or watch projected on screens visible along the Las Vegas Strip.