We’ve always been big fans of the Bravo channel’s popular reality show, Top Chef. We confess –watching some of the contestants’ huge egos positively wilt under head judge Tom Colicchio’s incredulous stare or sharp-as-a-Wusthof criticism is the high point of our Wednesday nights. (No doubt that particular joy comes from our experiences dealing with the many prima donna chefs we encountered during our decade-plus in the restaurant industry.)
So, take one of our favorite guilty-pleasure TV shows, combine it with our favorite guilty-pleasure city in the world then set it within the walls of a swanky new casino resort and… wait, wait, you know it’s coming… you have a recipe (there, we said it!) for a hugely entertaining waste of an hour every week.
This year, filming takes place at the stunning new Henderson-located M Resort Spa Casino. When I interviewed the M’s Anthony Marnell III back in March for Casino Player magazine, the CEO made it very clear that food and the nine dining outlets of the M were going to be the highlights of the new resort. At the time, Mr. Marnell said “We believe food is one of the most, if not the most important reason why guests will visit the property. The restaurants we have developed will introduce a new kind of dining experience that reflects my family’s reputation for great food and great value.” We think that by agreeing to let the show film at his resort, Mr. Marnell further cements the M’s reputation as a “destination-dining” spot in Las Vegas.
Now, back to the show: Last week’s episode offered viewers the chance to get a glimpse of some of the best chefs working not only in Las Vegas but in the world today. The assembled group of top toques was so impressive that even Chef Colicchio admitted to being humbled in the presence of such cooking masters as Joël Robuchon, the man awarded the title “Chef of the Century” by the venerable dining and travel guide, Gault Millau. Chef Robuchon’s Las Vegas restaurants — L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon at The Mansion – are located at the MGM Grand. 5 Diamond Award Winner: Joël Robuchon Restaurant at MGM Grand.
Last night’s show found the contestants far from the neon lights of the city and cooking over open firepits in the sizzling 100+-degree stark Nevada desert. Their guests (and critics) were a group of real Southwestern cowboys. As always, some dishes stood out for their taste and originality while others were remarkable for their awfulness. Ceviche for cowboys? I don’t think so. With that, Mattin, the French chef (who reminded me of the character Remy from the movie “Ratatouille“) was told to “pack up his knives and go.”
Tips and More Info:
- For a taste of the new M, try the resort’s highly-praised 500-seat buffet restaurant, “Studio B,” where a live-action exhibition kitchen features the restaurant’s chefs preparing signature appetizers, entrées and desserts.
- Check out Top Chef on Bravo TV’s website and you’ll find lots of ideas for hosting viewing parties with a Vegas vibe. You can also catch up on past shows from this season as well as those from other years.
- Get a glimpse into the world of renowned chef, Joël Robuchon, with a visit to his website where you’ll see pics of his Las Vegas and other restaurants plus read articles on his accomplishments in the culinary field.