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Celebrity Chefs

CELEBRITY CHEFS

HERE’S A QUIZ. WHAT DO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE, JEAN-GEORGES VONGERICHTEN, NOBU MATSUHISHA, JULIAN SERRANO, ALAIN DUCASSE, MARC POIDEVIN, AND JOACHIM SPLICHAL HAVE IN COMMON--ASIDE FROM HAVING DIFFICULT-TO- PRONOUNCE NAMES. IF YOU GUESSED CHEFS, YOU’RE PART WAY TO THE RIGHT ANSWER. IF YOU GUESSED FAMOUS COOKS WITH WORLD RENOWNED RESTAURANTS, YOU’RE REALLY GETTING WARM. IF YOU FIGURED OUT THAT THEY’RE ALL HEADED TO LAS VEGAS, YOU’VE PROBABLY BEEN LISTENING TO "A TASTE OF VEGAS", MY OTHER RADIO SHOW. IF PRESS RELEASES ARE TO BE BELIEVED, EACH OF THESE FELLOWS, ALONG WITH A COUPLE OF SIZZILIN’ HOMEBOYS, CHARLIE PALMER AND TODD ENGLISH, ARE ALL COMING TO LAS VEGAS TO OPEN WESTERN BRANCHES OF THE ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS DINING SALONS THAT MADE THEM FAMOUS FROM BOSTON, PARIS, SAN FRANCISCO AND NEW YORK. THROW ANOTHER INNOVATIVE TALENT, STEVEN PYLES OF DALLAS TEXAS, ALONG WITH THE VENERABLE PARISIAN PICES PURVEYOR - PETROSSIAN (AS IN CAVIAR), AND YOU SEE THAT A VIRTUAL GOURMET STAMPEDE IS AT HAND.

AMAZING AS IT MAY SEEM TO US OLD TIMERS--WHICH IN VEGAS MEANS ANYONE WHO STAKED THEIR GRUB HERE BEFORE 1990--WE HAVE BECOME THE HOTTEST RESTAURANT TOWN IN THE WORLD. WHICH IS THE ULTIMATE IRONY TO THOSE WHO REMEMBER WHEN THIS TOWN WAS CONSIDERED A GASTRONOMIC AND CULTURAL JOKE, ALSO JUST EIGHT YEARS AGO. CREDIT THE CONVENTION AUTHORITY AND SIMPLE ARITHMETIC FOR THIS TRANSFORMATION. CONVENTIONEERS ARE NOW A SIZEABLE PORTION OF THE 30 MILLION PEOPLE COMING HERE EVERY YEAR, AND EVEN IF MOST OF THEM DON’T KNOW OR LIKE GAMBLING--HEY--THEY ALL GOTTA EAT--AND GET THIS--THEY’RE DOING IT WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY, WHICH- IF YOU’VE NEVER HAD THE PRIVILEGE, MAKES THAT CHATEAUBRIAND AND A BOTTLE OF PETRUS MUCH MORE TEMPTING.

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YES, BIG APPETITES AND BLANK CHECKS EQUAL LOTS OF CELEBRITY CHEFS CLAMORING FOR A PIECE OF THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT PIE. WHETHER THE PIE IS BIG ENOUGH TO SERVE ALL OF THEM REMAINS TO BE SEEN.

THIS IS JOHN CURTAS

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Thursday, November 12, 1998

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