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Gaming Guru

Laura Carroll
 

Tourism officials hope wallets get Uncork'd

10 May 2012

Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit transforms the Strip into a food wonderland from today through Sunday , with ticketed place-to-be parties and up-close-and-personal chef encounters.

Along with the food-curious, though, comes an influx of revenue for the city. The event attracts a demographic with disposable income that's not afraid to spend $85 to get into a food truck festival. (Yes, that's the actual ticket price.)

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority did not track attendance for the event last year, and Bon Appétit didn't yet have projections for 2012. With ticket prices for the 26 events averaging from $140-$200, though, this is not a party to be ignored.

Maureen Crampton, marketing and business development director for the Forum Shops at Caesars, said the high-end, designer stores see a bump in sales from the festivities.

"It's noticeable, but I don't have exact numbers," she said. "That guest profile is definitely ... who our customers are."

To help attract more people to the center this weekend, six Forum Shops-based restaurants are featured in the Taste of the Forum showcase, and the center is giving away 20 $1,000 shopping sprees and a trip to Rome.

"It gives us an opportunity to say here's what we have to offer," Crampton explained.

Adam Rapoport, Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appétit, is the driving force behind this year's events.

"It's too obvious not to do a food festival in Vegas," he said. "It's like the best of every city in one city.

"I wanted every event to feel special, to stand out from other events the rest of the year," Rapoport said. "You're very rarely going to meet these chefs in question."

The chefs he's talking about? Only the best in the world.

Today, Rapoport is co-hosting a 20th-anniversary celebration at Spago with the restaurant's founder, Wolfgang Puck. Past and present Spago executive chefs David Robins and Eric Klein are scheduled to appear. The $150-per-person party includes a four-course meal with wine pairings.

The remaining days are filled with shindigs such as a celebrity chef poker tournament at the Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan; a food truck fiesta at the Bellagio; and the grand tasting at the Garden of the Gods pool at Caesars Palace with more than 50 chefs. Featured culinarians include Francois Payard, Bradley Ogden, Jose Andres and Rick Moonen.