Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 | 5:37 p.m.
It was down to the wire in the closing moments of the Season 10 finale of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” on Monday night. The fiery and controversial celebrity chef in a nail-biting closer chose 32-year-old Philadelphia chef Christina Wilson as the winner. She earned the head chef position working under Gordon’s executive chef Kevin Hee at Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris and starts work there Wednesday with a full turnout of employees greeting her first day.
“As chef Ramsay counted down, I took a deep breath and told myself I did my absolute best against a truly talented competitor,” said Christina about her win. “Feeling the door open was one of those moments I want to hold onto for life. I am so proud of my team for breaking their backs during prep and service. Despite our differences throughout the season, I honestly couldn’t have picked a better crew. After the most intense months of my life ... I am Vegas bound.”
Gordon added: “I’m really excited for Christina to come to Las Vegas to work under executive chef Kevin. … We had some great talent in the kitchen on Season 10, but throughout this competition, Christina stood out and proved herself as both a skilled chef and a leader in the kitchen. Her hard work and dedication is obvious, and I look forward to seeing what she does.” Starting Wednesday night!
ALI HOME SOLD: Boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s boyhood home in Louisville, Ky., was sold Monday to a Las Vegas fan, real-estate investor Jared Weiss. He shelled out $70,000 for the small, white house -- $20,000 more than was expected. Jared says he’s not flipping it and instead wants to renovate the home with its sagging front porch and turn it into a museum for charitable events. Muhammad lived there with his parents and brother when he was known as Cassius Clay. A state historical marker is placed outside the residence.
A DECADE OF SUCCESS: Congratulations to producer David Saxe, who will celebrate the 10th anniversary Wednesday of his “V -- the Ultimate Variety Show” at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile. “V” features comedy, magic and acrobatic acts and was featured this year on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” It opened at the Venetian in 2002, but box office sellouts for two years persuaded David to open his own theater in Miracle Mile.
Two acts joined the lineup this year: his sister Melinda, the First Lady of Magic, and the daredevil duo the Skating Aratas. Performances are twice nightly at 7 and 8:30. David is our most prolific producer with 12 shows running at Planet Hollywood and during the past 25 years has produced more than 100 shows in Las Vegas and globally. He opened a second venue at Planet Hollywood in 2010, Saxe Theater, home to “Vegas! the Show,” “BeatleShow!,” “Michael Turco’s Magic & Mayhem” and “iCandy Burlesque: the Show.”
SAN GENNARO FEAST STARS: Singer and TV host Tony Sacca has set an ambitious lineup of entertainers for his six-day San Gennaro Feast opening tonight at Silverton Casino Lodge. Tony will perform with his Saccettes each night but tonight and welcomes Clint Holmes and Society of Seven with Jasmine Trias.
Also on the schedule: John Garafalo’s tribute to Mario Lanza and Andrea Bocelli; Mayor Carolyn Goodman leads the official saint’s procession with “Jersey Boys” cast as grand marshals, plus, Dick Contino and Mark Giovi on Wednesday; Philly Cuzz, Deja Vu and Aaron Caruso’s tribute to Enrico Caruso on Thursday; David Perrico, Naomi Mauro, “The Rat Pack Is Back” and a Michael Jackson tribute Friday; the cast of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and Shades of Sinatra on Saturday; and Dangerous Curves with impersonators Amanda Kaiser as Bette Midler and Annette Simmonds as Celine Dion and 9 p.m. fireworks wrapping up Sunday.
LEGENDS COACH: Las Vegas Metro Police Det. Patrick Lawrence has signed on as assistant coach for Las Vegas Legends in the Professional Arena Soccer League. Patrick played for UNLV’s soccer team from 1983-1984 and was drafted by Las Vegas Americans. Most recently, he coached Las Vegas Knights and is player development coach for Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club.
SHOCK FILM FEST: This year’s third annual horror film festival PollyGrind had a record-breaking 666(!) entries. Of the 57 official selections, 20-plus will screen during next month’s festival, but all are eligible for awards and are considered official selections. Any that do not screen are eligible to be shown before PollyGrind IV: A New Hope in October 2013. “Road to Hell” opens the zombie red carpet walk and Roxy Gunn Project’s punk-metal performance Oct. 17 downtown. Find the full list of films at PollyGrind.com.
HUNKS GREET ‘JESSIE’: British-born cutie Jennifer Veal, who stars as evil nanny Agatha on Disney Channel’s “Jessie,” celebrated her 21st birthday with Thunder From Down Under at Excalibur. She brought her mother, aunt and best friend to the sexy male revue. The actress, who got her start in the West End in Elton John’s “Billy Elliott,” went up onstage to join in the hunks’ fun.
SENIOR’S DREAM: The musical dream of one Las Vegas senior citizen came true when Caesars Foundation and nonprofit Second Wind Dreams granted the wish of a resident of Oak Hill Senior Living. Tommy, 88, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and decorated with a Distinguished Flying Cross, was the bass player for the Goofers, who performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show” 13 times and toured the world.
Tommy was made to feel the star he once was (and still is!) at “The Rat Pack Is Back” at the Rio. He was greeted in front of the theater by volunteers of Caesars Entertainment’s employee-based community outreach team and the cast, who performed classic big-band numbers for the veteran. Since 2009, the Caesars Foundation has given more than $650,000 in donations and in-kind contributions to make such dreams a reality.
Arriving on the Strip early for three nights of Mexican Independence Weekend celebrations at Caesars Palace, Grammy Award-winning singer Luis Miguel dined with friends at STK in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Monday night. And the sultry ladies of “Fantasy” at the Luxor were at the new Public House Luxor on Monday night for its Monday Night Football party preview before Thursday’s grand opening. Headliner Lorena Peril performed the national anthem for the Baltimore Ravens-Cincinnati Bengals game.
Magician Criss Angel returns to his “Believe” at the Luxor after a vacation in Mexico. The six-day 33rd Annual San Gennaro Feast opens at Silverton with more than 80 amusement attractions and 70 food booths. Tommy Savitt and Carrie Snow are the headliners at the Improv in Harrah’s through Sunday. Blas Elias of Slaughter hosts the sixth round of “Are You Smarter Than a Rock Star” at KISS by Monster Mini Golf.
More than 50 bands take over downtown for the Neon Reverb Festival through Sunday featuring local acts Lazy Stars, Pet Tigers and Burning Symphony. Ty Segall kicks off the party at Bunkhouse Saloon, and Moonface wraps it at Beauty Bar. Find all the acts and venues at NeonReverb.com.
A surprise, pop-up white picnic on the Strip for 150 becomes the gastronomic “Top Chef Masters” challenge, and we were in the thick of it, plus, guitar god Carlos Santana returns home for a new run at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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