As the culinary world’s elite return this weekend for the 12th annual Vegas Uncork’d—the pinnacle of dining events in the city featuring the likes of Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Savoy, Nobu Matsuhisa and more—a group of local chefs are offering a homegrown rebuttal.
Vegas UnStripped, a one-night-only summit of Sin City’s hardest working kitchen warriors, will take place May 12 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at a yet-undisclosed location in the Arts District. Organized by The Feast of Friends, the lineup highlights the men and women behind the trendiest restaurants off-Strip, from The Black Sheep’s Jamie Tran and Sparrow + Wolf’s Brain Howard to Esther’s Kitchen’s James Trees and La Strega’s Gina Marinelli. Expect special creations that aren’t featured on their respective restaurant menus. The event will be followed by a free afterparty and chef appreciation at Jammyland.
“I love Uncork’d, but that should not be the only serious food event in Las Vegas,” says UnStripped creator Eric Gladstone.
By holding it the same weekend as Uncork’d (and riffing on its name), Gladstone hopes UnStripped will make a statement.
“We have a lot of different food events, but they’re just about having a good time. They don’t necessarily tell you about the chefs or the restaurants,” Gladstone says. “I want people to understand how much heart there is in these independent restaurateurs and what they do.”
How the event came together is an example of that heart.
Gladstone came up with the idea only a few weeks ago. When he pitched it to potential participants, he was expecting them to laugh at him. He wanted to hold it on Mother’s Day weekend, one of the busiest restaurant weekends of the year, after all. “It’s literally the worst day to ask them to do an event, and they all said, ‘Yes,’” he says.
On top of that, Gladstone didn’t have a massive budget. All of the chefs, however, were happy to help cover costs. In true community spirit, others in the food and beverage community were quick to chip in, donating beer and wine. As a result, any profit that’s made will be given to charity, according to Gladstone.
“It’s a true community event in every respect,” he says.
May 12, 9 p.m.–1 a.m., $65, undisclosed location in the Arts District, vegasunstripped.com