Celebrating its 10th anniversary April 28 to May 1, Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit overflows with once-in-a-lifetime food-fan moments, celebrity chef mash-ups and taste tours through the city’s local dining gems. In honor of the big birthday, organizers have pulled out all the stops, offering new events such as a brunch with Giada De Laurentiis at her namesake restaurant in Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Cromwell and sushi making with legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa at Caesars Palace.
Since this is Vegas, it makes sense that some of the best action happens at the after parties when the chefs cut loose and mingle with guests. Here’s how to best navigate through all of the delectable gatherings.
What to know
Launched in 2006, Uncork’d has gained serious momentum throughout its decade in existence, coinciding with the celebrity chef domination of the Strip. Most of the resorts and big-name restaurants in town have participated at some point during that tenure.
What started out with a few intimate dinners, demonstrations and grand tastings has expanded into a can’t-miss culinary adventure powered by an international convergence of like-minded food and beverage lovers. This year, four hotels take part: The Cromwell, Caesars Palace, Four-Star The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and Four-Star The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino.
The best way to secure a seat is through the fest’s website, which shows the full schedule and offers comprehensive event descriptions. Day and evening happenings include brunches, lunches, cocktail demos, master classes, master series dinners, dine arounds and culinary tours. Many have an attendance cap and most sell out, so it’s best to buy as soon as possible once travel plans are confirmed.
There are always a few events that still have tickets remaining at the last minute, so if you happen to be in Vegas this weekend and want to go spur of the moment, check the site.
As an exclusive partner, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders enjoy VIP access to coveted events like dedicated chef’s tables at the Grand Tasting (and includes a wait staff and interaction with celebrity chefs) and an intimate lunch at Border Grill with veteran chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.
What to do
It’s hard to pick the crown jewel in a veritable diamond mine, but here are a few strategies for planning the perfect Uncork’d.
This is the first year Uncork’d vests interest in the culinary happenings of DTLV. Try Steakhouse Redux: Michael Mina x Golden Steer on Saturday, April 30, where the front man of several of the Strip’s best restaurants takes over the kitchen of Las Vegas’ oldest steakhouse. The four-course lunch is paired with cocktails, wine and Rat Pack-era music.
Also Saturday, join the BA Navigator Downtown Tour for an on-the-move feast that visits four eateries and bars — led by a Bon Appetit editor — and offers an up-close look at the restaurateurs and dining experiences shaping the heart of the city.
The Ultimate Comforts & Classics Affair at Downtown Container Park (a dining and retail venue constructed of shipping containers located on Fremont East) pairs live music with indulgent foods such as Shake Shack’s limited-edition Crackle Burger and the one-night-only Vegas Uncork’d Concrete, as well as signature dishes from Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and its new, fast casual concept Spring Chicken.
Splurge on the big names
On Thursday, April 28, dine Strip-side with some of the most-renowned names in the biz as Emeril Lagasse, Daniel Boulud, Kim Canteenwalla, Olivier Dubreuil and David Werly prepare the ultimate family-style dinner paired with fine wines and spirits in The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace piazza. A pair of tickets runs $700.
Hit the after parties
The post-event action at Uncork’d is almost as legendary as what occurs on the clock. On April 28, The Night Rolls on at Tao in The Venetian with an after-hours sake and sushi tasting. The event pairs sommelier selects with passed hors d’oeuvres and includes a premium open bar — all situated in the restaurant/nightclub’s Loft Space. Mingle with attendees and chefs and receive complimentary access to Tao nightclub.
Decadence to the Rooftop: The Grand Tasting After Party takes place April 29 at Drai’s Beachclub and Nightclub in The Cromwell. Opening early for Uncork’d guests, Decadence permits you to nibble on delicacies and sip specialty cocktails from the luxury cabanas perched high atop the Strip. Even though it wraps at midnight, stay at Drai’s and take advantage of two drink tickets that can be used throughout the evening.
Where to stay
The all-suite The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino is perfect proximity between DTLV’s Uncork’d action and the Strip-centric goings on. It’s easy to get lost in the 3,000-plus-suite megaresort, but once you find your private space, you may never want to leave.
The accommodations are elaborately appointed in modern Italian style with remote-controlled Roman shades and Egyptian linens from Anichini. While taking a break from Uncork’d, work off some of those calories by hitting the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and Palazzo for a day of retail indulgence.