This weekend The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas, along with celebrated chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and an all-star team of culinary personalities, hosted Ultimo-A Weekend of Excellence.
Now in its third year, Ultimo took luxury to new heights with four uniquely themed experiences and exceptional feasts celebrating Earth, Water, Air and Fire.
The extravagant celebration kicked off Thursday, Dec. 17 with the distinguished Bocuse d’Or Team USA competition, held in partnership with ment’or BKB Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Jerome Bocuse. Bocuse d’Or is the world’s most prestigious culinary competition for young talented chefs. Four teams went head-to-head Thursday in The Venetian Ballroom. After 4 hours and 35 minutes, Chef Mathew Peters and commis Harrison Turone from New York restaurant, Per Se, New York, NY were announced the winners and will go on to represent the United States at the 2017 Bocuse d’Or biennial competition in Lyon, France.
The esteemed Team USA event was followed by an impressive dinner prepared by Chefs Daniel Boulud, Jerome Bocuse, Josiah Citrin and Diane Yang, where the theme Earth was showcased through wild game, Urbani truffles and French tradition. Guests savored black truffle soup, Wolfe Ranch quail (foie gras, perigord truffles), and Millbrook venison (endives, chestnut, molasses-date, rose hips), paired with lovely champagne and wines.
On Friday, Dec. 18, the evening welcomed the return of the spectacular Grand Banquet in the iconic Grand Colonnade. Guests dined in the spirit of Air on one spectacular single table made of glass with big beautiful white accent pieces and chandeliers underneath dangling over a pristine white carpet. Using custom effects, artificial “clouds” were blown into the space throughout the night making the evening more magical. Chefs Thomas Keller, Philip Tessier, Shaun Hergatt and Ming Tsai prepared a decadent European-inspired dinner that was complemented with opulent champagnes and wines from Krug Champagne, DAOU Vineyards & Winery and Memento Mori Wines.
“The Ultimo dinner is a menu I have been thinking about doing for years,” said Chef Keller, during the event. “It’s a very special dinner and tonight with all of these wonderful lovely people we are going to eat some wonderful food and drink some wonderful wine.”
Songstress Christina Grimmie (finalist of NBC’s The Voice) sat at the piano and entertained guests throughout the evening, while the celebrity chefs mixed and mingled. Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega Dieppa also made a special appearance.
On Saturday afternoon, Ultimo introduced the magnificent Floating Lunch in Grand Canal Shoppes, to celebrate Water. A table was specially created and built over the water of the famous Grand Canal. Gondoliers sang and served Prosecco from their boats while guests dined on dishes from Chef Richard Rosendale including charred tuna (edible vegetable “garden,” rye soil, avocado silk), king crab salad (caviar, green apple gelee, nasturtium), and roasted halibut (saffron mousse, herb persillade, black garlic emulsion, white asparagus veloute). This intimate experience made guests feel like they were transported straight to the Mediterranean.
Ultimo continued Saturday night and heated up with the theme of Fire. A cocktail reception outdoors on Doge’s Palace plaza kicked the night off. Guests sipped on Champagne as they watched big pieces of steak, whole fish, and a traditional full-size pig roast on an open flame. The party moved inside to the private Paiza Club for a dinner masterfully prepared by Olivier Dubreuil, executive chef of The Venetian and The Palazzo, and Dario Cecchini the famed Chianti “Butcher of Panzano.” Sizzling dishes included wood-grilled wild salmon (fire-roasted poblano pepper sauce, crispy onion straws), spit-roasted capon (wild rice cake, fire-roasted red onion, cranberry, lemongrass gel), whole roasted hog “En Choucroute”, wood-grilled giant porterhouse (egg yolk ravioli, shaved white truffles) and wood-grilled USDA prime ribeye (aged cheddar, hash browns, perigord sauce), paired with wines selected by Southern Wine & Spirits.
The exceptional weekend wrapped on Sunday with a Truffle Farewell at Emeril Lagasse’s award-winning Delmonico Steakhouse. The menu featured Urbani truffles, organic farm-fresh eggs, premium beef, house-cured salmon and Krug Champagne, marking a decadent end to an extraordinary weekend of Ultimo experiences.