Venetian, Palazzo chefs compete in Culinary Clash

It’s time for one of the most outrageous chef competitions on the Strip. The Venetian presents its second annual Culinary Clash, a competition that pits chefs from Venetian and Palazzo restaurants against one another inside mobile food truck kitchens.

James Beard Award-winning Chef Emeril Lagasse will be back as a celebrity judge for Culinary Clash, which will take place Dec. 13 and 14. Robin Leach will host the event, which is part of the resorts’ Winter in Venice celebration.

The event – a favorite with guests during Winter in Venice in 2012 – returns in a revised all-in-one-weekend format, with more opportunities for the chefs to interject good-natured trash talking.

For Culinary Clash, chefs will be challenged to create recipes using ingredients provided in a “mystery basket,” to be prepared in mobile food truck kitchens, located at The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace plaza. Chefs have been divided into brackets and will compete head-to-head on Friday, with competition continuing on Saturday.

Last year, Chef Herb Wilson of SushiSamba was given the title of the Venetian and Palazzo Culinary Master. Chef Nicole Brisson of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse was runner-up.

In addition, a new element will be added this year, Masters of Mixology, a competition among resort bartenders, hosted by master mixologist Dale Degroff. During the competition, two teams will be headed by celebrity mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim and Francesco Lafranconi, each leading a team of four bartenders.

All chefs and mixologists from the nearly 40 restaurants, food outlets and lounges inside The Venetian and The Palazzo were invited to compete in this hands-on competition. The winning chef and mixology team will receive a trip to Italy.

It is free for the public to view the events.  At Culinary Clash, crowds gather around the kitchens to see the action, projected on giant screens visible along the Las Vegas Strip.

For Masters of Mixology, the first two rounds of competition will take place Friday, Dec. 13, and the last three rounds will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14, coinciding with Culinary Clash (times TBA). Here is the schedule for Culinary Clash:

Culinary Clash
Friday, Dec. 13

7:00 p.m. – Carnevino vs. Taqueria Canonita
7:30 p.m. – Venetian vs. Otto Pizzeria
8:00 p.m.  – Lagasse’s Stadium vs. Table 10
8:30 p.m.  – Palazzo vs. Aquaknox
9:00 p.m.  – Venetian vs. B&B Burgers & Beer
9:30 p.m.  – B&B Ristorante vs. Tao
10:00 p.m. – Lavo vs. Sushisamba
10:30 a.m.  – Morels vs. Delmonico

Masters of Mixology
Friday, Dec. 13

8:00 p.m.  – Blind tasting
9:00 p.m.  – Presentation of aperitivo

Culinary Clash
Saturday, Dec. 14

7:00 p.m. – Round two competition one
7:30 p.m. – Round two competition two
8:00 p.m.  – Round two competition three
8:30 p.m.  – Round two competition four
9:00 p.m.  – Round three competition one
9:30 p.m.  – Round three competition two
10:00 p.m. – The final smack down

Masters of Mixology
Saturday, Dec. 14

7:30 p.m.  – Mystery basket
8:30 p.m.  – Speed contest
10:30 p.m.  – Match final


It’s not that warm in Minnesota. I know this from spending half my life freezing in the northern part of the state. So 20 years ago, I decided to thaw out and traded in scarves and mittens for tank tops and flip-flops (Take that, polar vortex!). I swapped snow for 300 days of sun a year. I may not have been born here, but there are hotels that haven’t lasted in Vegas as long as I have. The Sands, Hacienda, Aladdin, Desert Inn and the Stardust too. I've been to my fair share of implosion parties. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) As a writer for, I've applauded hundreds of shows, explored every major hotel in town and raised a few glasses at most of the city's bars and clubs. Now I'm the resident foodie here. I write about all things dining — from $3.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate to the finest sushi at Nobu, and everything in between.