With festivals slowly making a comeback, the Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival returned to Tivoli Village on Oct. 6. Numerous chefs from across the country came to welcome locals and tourists alike for five days of food, wine and interactive culinary experiences.
Angela Sweetser, a local pastry chef and sugar artist, brought a “wonderfully weird” presence to the festival, representing her Henderson-based tea house, Queen of Hearts. Chef Sweester, best known for her sugar artistry on Food Network’s “Halloween Wars,” brought the magic of sugar to life on Friday night at the festival. Her handmade sugar skull collection, along with her detailed “Alice in Wonderland” theme display, was a definite showstopper throughout the evening.
Chef Kevin Des Chenes brought both the food and energy to the night. Known for his time on Food Network and named the 2015 winner for “Top Celebrity Chef Showdown,” his new take on a classic street taco paired nicely with the array of wine booths throughout the plaza. Guests were able to walk in, grab a commemorative wine glass and start their night off right.
Each food booth was set up for a grab-and-go experience. Chefs would plate up the food and present it to the guests to grab, all while briefly explaining their dishes.
Todd English, chef and 1991 James Beard Award Winner for “Rising Star Chef,” brought the flavor and passion to the night, all while promoting his new Virgin Hotels restaurant, Olives. English’s years in the industry and number of awards made his presence at the festival only that much more special. His new restaurant at the hotel is a take on classic Italian cuisine. Olives will take any guest right to the hills of Italy.
Each year the festival awards the 2021 Food and Wine Chef of the Year. This year’s honor went to Chef Katsuya Uechi, founder of the Katsu-ya Grou. Chef Uechi is known for his inventive hybrid of California and Japanese cuisine and being one of the country’s most well known Japanese chefs. The authenticity of the sushi served at this year’s festival is something very few can ever experience outside of Japan.
This almost week-long festival allowed guests to pick and choose their own experiences. From private dinner evenings for small groups to the overall large festival settings, there really was something for everyone.
The popular tequila brand Casamigos attended with bartenders ready to not only sling cocktails, but also to help guests pair the right cocktail with their particular meal. A newer face to the celebrity alcohol business is Snoop Dogg. His new gin, Indoggo, had bartenders serving his new spin in a gin and tonic and other cocktails for the majority of the evening.
Guests also were able to experience numerous wines and spirits throughout the festival. With various wine booths as well as opportunities to the perfect wine with delectable hors d’oeuvres and the perfect bourbon with dessert, the possibilities were endless at the 2021 Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival.