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December 19, 2014

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Strip Scribbles: Tiffany Masters fulfills bucket list of dreams; L.V. chef wins on ‘Chopped’

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Tiffany Masters and friends.

Las Vegas nightlife queen Tiffany Masters has hit the 1,000 mark with members of her new website LasVegasBucketList.com. She celebrates its first anniversary in June and has fulfilled more than 100 bucket list dreams.

Tiffany, who has traveled the world the past 14 years when not hosting parties and events here, has made magic for her members. The experiences have included everything from chasing storm tornados to UFC fighting to cage diving with sharks.

Tiffany says she’s happy fulfilling assignments such as driving a Ferrari or getting VIP seats at The Kentucky Derby, and she loves the challenge of tough assignments and trips.

What’s on your bucket list? As Tiffany says: “Stop dreaming it. Just bucket and do it.”

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Steve Benjamin, executive chef of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

‘CHOPPED’ WINNER: It was victory on Tuesday night’s “Chopped” on The Food Network for MGM Grand chef Steve Benjamin. The executive chef of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon proved more skilled and knowledgeable than the judges and won $10,000 and high praise.

Steve did an extraordinary job of preparing three courses from mystery baskets. The first included smoked beef tongue and garbanzo beans, the second halibut and aquavit and dessert banana chips and almond butter. Steve hosted a viewing party in the exclusive, high-roller The Mansion at MGM Grand, where executives presented him with a cake with the “Chopped” logo.

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The 2013 Easter display at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand.

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The 2013 Easter display at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand.

Meantime, his restaurant has created a confectionary display for Easter. Designed by his executive pastry chef, Kamel Guechida, and a team of four, it took more than eight weeks to finish. The presentation, which includes colorful chocolate sculptures of nearly 150 flowers, 120 eggs and 60 hens, bunnies, birds, bells, butterflies and dragonflies, weighs more than 70 pounds. The Easter display will on view at L’Atelier through April 1.

WORLD FOOD TOURNEY: The second-annual World Food Championships returns as an expanded four-day event Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, and $300,00 will be at stake for 400 competing chefs. The host hotel has not yet been announced, but challenges will be played out at several Strip properties. Check out this video of last year’s challenges and champions; I served as a judge at The Final Table.

Much like the World Series of Poker, culinary champions go head-to-head in seven food categories, including barbecue, chili and burger and bacon fests. As the sport of food has grown into a global obsession, the World Food Championships are promoted as the ultimate food competition.

‘ROCK’ ADDITION: Bobby Kimball of Grammy-winning band Toto has joined the all-star lineup of “Raiding the Rock Vault” at LVH. It’s the ultimate history of rock ’n’ roll journey, as our Editor at Large John Katsilometes discovered.

Bobby, frontman of Toto whose hits include “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna” and “Africa,” will perform through Tuesday. Revolving guest rockers will be an attraction of the yearlong show.

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Lady Liberty at New York-New York is illuminated in bright green on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.

BATHED IN GREEN: Ahead of this weekend’s three-day celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, New York-New York has bathed its Statue of Liberty in a vibrant green for the first time. Las Vegas News Bureau photographer Brian Jones was on hand Tuesday when the switch was turned on. The Celtic Feis festival runs through Sunday at Nine Fine Irishmen.

Tonight, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign will be turned green for the first time.

LOCAL BENEFITS: The Richard Petty Driving Experience at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is giving locals a deal for the debut of its new American Muscle Car Challenge. The Rookie Experience is $299 (regularly $499), and a Ride-Along package is $79 (regularly $109). Visit DrivePetty.com/Vegas for bookings.

The Rookie Experience is an eight-lap driving experience as you get in the driver’s seat of an official, 600-hp NASCAR stock car. The Ride-Along package puts you in the passenger seat of a NASCAR stock car to ride with a pro driving instructor for a three-lap qualifying run at speeds as fast 160 mph. RPDE is now in its 17th year of operation at LVMS.

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Chef Giada De Laurentiis and Scott Green, executive chef of Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace.

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"The Phat Pack" at the Plaza.

GIADA AT BACCHANAL Award-winning chef Giada De Laurentiis dined at Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace. She met Scott Green, Bacchanal’s executive chef who gave her a tour of the buffet’s nine open kitchens.

Giada said her favorite dish was the rigatoni from the buffet’s Italian kitchen. The writer, host of The Food Network’s “Giada at Home,” The Cooking Channel’s “Everyday Italian” and contributor on NBC’s “Today,” also was with husband Todd Thompson at Society Cafe in Steve Wynn’s Encore for meatballs, mac and cheese bites and a caprese tasting prepared by executive chef Bryan Forgione, who talked shop with them.

TONIGHT’S TIPS

Please support George Wallace, Gallagher, Murray Sawchuck, Harry Basil and their comedy headliner friends at Tropicana’s Laugh Factory in their benefit for the family of slain taxi driver Michael Boldon, who was killed in the recent Strip shootout and traffic explosion.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman has proclaimed it “Phat Pack Day” to celebrate the reopening of the show at The Plaza. Three Broadway performers formerly in “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” at The Venetian tip their hats to The Rat Pack with Broadway, Las Vegas and American standards from the 1950s and ’60s, but updated to modern day.

Dos Caminos opens in Summerlin after its abrupt exit from Palazzo.

The English Beat, still going strong after 30 years, play Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.

LAX at Luxor throws down the gauntlet to the Winter Music Conference with its “Who Needs Miami” party.

Comedienne Rachel Feinstein is at Palace Station.

And David Bisbal Acustico is at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.

TOMORROW’S TEASE

The calendar hasn’t moved to spring from winter yet, but this week’s warm weather gets a welcome as Liquid Pool Lounge and its 50-seat restaurant is the first of our dayclubs to open officially at Aria, plus, a walking tour of Downtown with restaurateurs Michael and Jenna Morton unveiling their venue and others bursting forth in the revitalization zone.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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