Monday, March 22, 2010 | 5:46 p.m.
Three Las Vegas chefs will battle it out for the title of Best Chef of the Year Southwest in the 2010 James Beard Awards, and several other Strip chefs are represented in the Oscars of the food industry, as well.
The finalists, whittled down from the semifinalists, were announced today in New Orleans, and the winners will be announced May 3 at New York's Lincoln Center.
The three Best Chefs of the Southwest finalists are the off-Strip Saipan Chutima from Lotus of Siam, Claude Le Tohic from Joël Robuchon at MGM and Rick Moonen from RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay.
Michael Mina from MGM, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio and Aria is recognized twice in the prestigious awards: His RN74 in San Francisco is nominated for Best New Restaurant, and his self-named restaurant, also in the City by the Bay, is nominated for Outstanding Service, competing against Robuchon's restaurant at MGM Grand. Robuchon's MGM pastry chef Kamel Guechuda is up for the Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year.
Chef Tom Colicchio, well known to foodies here for his Craft at MGM and as host of Bravo's Top Chef, is nominated as Outstanding Chef of the Year for his original Craft in Manhattan. Two other New York chefs with outposts here will do battle in the Outstanding Restaurant Award category: Mario Batali, who has restaurants at The Venetian and Palazzo, has been nominated for his Babbo in New York City and Daniel Boulud from the Wynn for his Daniel in Manhattan.
Timothy Hollingsworth, former Venetian chef for Thomas Keller Brasserie and now at Thomas' French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., has been nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year.
Other Las Vegas Connections
• Todd English from Bellagio and Aria was nominated for Best TV Special for Food Trip With Todd English, as was The Venetian and Palazzo's Emeril Lagasse who will go head-to-head with English in the TV category for Emeril's Culinary Adventures: Napa.
• Architect and designer David Rockwell, who has masterminded numerous Las Vegas restaurants, Crystals at MGM's CityCenter and even Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, will be inducted into the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.