Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 | 4:07 p.m.
While I was in London last week, the barons of burgers worldwide and restaurant owners who specialize in America’s favorite beef menu item eagerly awaited today’s debut of an artificial burger that cost $300,000 to develop.
The 5-ounce fake was the world’s first stem-cell burger grown in a laboratory made from 3,000 strips of artificial beef each about the size of a rice grain. The synthetic meat was grown from the stem cells of a slaughtered cow by a Dutch medical physiologist bankrolled by billionaire Google chief Sergey Brin.
It’s an attempt to meet the ever-growing consumer demand for meat, which one day might run out, leading to the artificial meat being sold within a decade — and that would mean a major menu change to our Strip steakhouses. What will star chefs Gordon Ramsay, Hubert Keller, Michael Mina and Charlie Palmer have to say about that?
Today’s tasting in the British capital didn’t win raves, but it was criticized only for lacking taste and served without salt, pepper, cheese, tomatoes or a bun; it was branded bland. Experts said that’s an easy fix, so it looks as if the most expensive burger in history is the wave of future food and will become part of our Strip food culture.
BURGER WALL: Meantime, Gordon is heating up his hot Planet Hollywood Gordon Ramsay BurGR joint with a 30-foot-long, glass-enclosed gas wall that’s adding new intensity to the words “flame broiled.” Nobody is talking about it, but the gas bill is expected to be a $500,000-a-year spectacular entranceway to the restaurant.
Since its opening this year, execs of the hotel and Gordon’s restaurants have wrangled over the cost of the fiery architectural attraction. Burgers will continue to be cooked over wood-fueled flames in the kitchen. To celebrate the dramatic decoration, Gordon has decreed new menu additions, including a damnation chicken burger, a Southern Yardbird burger and a fish and crisp sandwich. No way synthetic meals can compete!
DONNY, MARIE & OLIVIA QUESTIONS: While in Atlantic City over the weekend, I learned that much-loved Flamingo President Rick Mazer will move from the Strip next month to take over Harrah’s there in advance of opening a Massachusetts property for Caesars Entertainment.
The move raises questions as to whether his replacement will be able to activate his deal with Olivia Newton-John to take over the showroom while Donny & Marie Osmond are on tour. Their contract runs through the end of the year, with Donny celebrating his 50th year in showbiz there Dec. 10 with a TV spectacular.
That means Rick’s replacement has to deal with the brother-sister’s hoped-for contract extension. Meantime, John Schneider and Marie’s nephew David Osmond have been filling in for Donny, who was forced out of their three-week summer run because of torn backside muscles.
In other corporate moves: French star chef Pierre Gagnaire, who has his restaurant Twist at Mandarin Oriental, has raided Jerome Astolfi from rival Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier at MGM Grand as his new general manager. Jerome began working in the hospitality industry at 16 in Aubagne, France, and is now the center figure in the first dueling French star-chef wars.
DESERT DRY: Rock star Meat Loaf is looking forward to his debut in the premiere “Rocktellz & Cocktails” set to open at Planet Hollywood in late September, but not the dry of our desert. He told me: “I will have to live in a rainforest for my throat. I've bought 14-gallon humidi-masks and misters to deal with it. I’ll even wear them in the gym, as I am still getting over knee surgery from last November. It hasn’t healed anywhere near as fast as it should have, so I’ll be working out right through the upcoming Vegas run.”
ENERGY BOOST: The heat of our record-high temperatures combined with all-night partying and high-energy lifestyles mandates residents and visitors cope with dehydration and the loss of nutrients the body needs to feel energized. Over the weekend, a group of emergency room physicians opened Reviv at MGM Grand Underground arcade to rejuvenate guests with hydration therapies. We first reported the new venue this year.
Dr. Andrew Garff, Reviv co-owner and emergency room physician, said: “Reviv is where guests can revitalize themselves in a spa-like atmosphere with the comfort of knowing a skilled team of doctors, paramedics and nurses are standing by to monitor their well-being.” The 1,270-square-foot venue features intravenous and vitamin therapies to combat dehydration, including vitamin B12 shots and anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medications.
O’REILLY’S STAR TREK: Hard-hitting Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly sends his correspondent Jesse Watters to the Star Trek Convention at LVH this week to produce a Trekkies package for the top-rated primetime show. On an unrelated matter, I’m hearing that an investigative journalism team is polishing their final report on our Strip’s topless shows due for publication this week.
LAUGH OUT LOUD: Resident funnyman and master impressionist Rich Little will be joined by Las Vegas show regular Tony Orlando to launch the giant Time Life release of the old-time NBC Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. Rich and Tony head to New York and L.A. at the end of September for two weeks for the kickoff of the enhanced, HD, digitally remastered CDs of the 1973-1984 shows with Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Gleason, Don Rickles, Betty White and Dean himself.
Treasure Island hotel mogul Phil Ruffin has booked top comedians as his standup stars through year’s end, including Carlos Mencia, Whitney Cummings, Bill Engvall, Jo Koy, Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Cosby.
CHARITY GIFT: The Quad headliners Recycled Percussion visited Shade Tree and in addition to making a donation toured the facility and met the women and children who use the shelter’s services. They presented a check for $3,100 to aid in the shelter’s assistance to homeless women, children and their pets escaping abusive situations.
Band leader Justin Spencer said: “We play on the Las Vegas Strip every night and live our dream, but every time you drive home, you see people who are just looking for a place to stay, some shelter. … Any gift that people can give, whether it be monetary or donating time, helps those less fortunate heal.”
CONGRATULATIONS! Strip producer David Saxe celebrates the third anniversary of his Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood show “Vegas! the Show” with an official proclamation from former Mayor Oscar Goodman declaring today as “Vegas! The Show” Day.
Restaurant Guy Savoy and Old Homestead at Caesars Palace and Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas have been honored in Wine Spectator’s 2013 Restaurant Wine List Awards. Restaurant Guy Savoy has successfully renewed its coveted Grand Award, Old Homestead earns the Award of Excellence for the second time, and Gordon Ramsay Steak is the new recipient of the Best of Award of Excellence.
One-woman vocal phenomenon Veronic DiCaire joins “Million Dollar Quartet” for a special encore performance during the show’s finale at Harrah’s. She’s the first here to follow other singers who have performed the finale in the New York and touring shows.
Comedians Butch Bradley and Geechy Guy headline Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand through Thursday; Brad joins them this weekend.
The U.S. hip-hop dance championship finals in junior, varsity, mega-crew and adult divisions are at Red Rock Resort.
Las Vegas female fighter Ana “The Hurricane” Julation trains here for her mid-month championship fight in Mexico amid rumors that she’ll also wind up on the undercard of the September Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Our exclusive conversation with the sexy “sharknado” of the ring, plus, a fascinating Q+A with Laurence Connor, director of “Les Miserables,” which winds down its national tour with a final week at Smith Center. And “Dancing With the Stars” pro Sharma Burgess takes us behind-the-scenes of the hip-hop dance championships.
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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