Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 | 6 p.m.
It’s a TV battle of another kind when the kitchen heat gets turned up on Bravo’s new culinary competition series “Top Chef Duels” premiering tonight with Las Vegas star chefs Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Boulud and pop princess Pink as judges and former Cosmopolitan chef Shirley Chung as a contestant. Bravo is bringing back the best culinary talent ever seen on “Top Chef” and “Top Chef Masters” for a gastronomic battle royale of epic proportions.
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone is host as 18 of the biggest, boldest and most-talked-about cooking personalities from past seasons are pitted against one another in high-stakes kitchen challenges designed to test their passion and imagination. Curtis also anchors the judges table with Gail Simmons, Hugh Acheson, Wolf and guests including Pink.
Shirley will go up against Brooke Williamson, who was “Top Chef” Seattle Season 10 runner-up. They debut Aug. 13 with Pink as one of their celebrity judges. In each episode, two chefs face off in three rounds of head-to-head battles testing their skills, creativity and speed. Rivalries will be intensified as “Top Chef Duels” allows competing chefs to each pick one mini-duel based on the other’s perceived weaknesses in the kitchen. The third and final challenge of each episode will decide who moves on to compete in the season finale, where 10 chefs will be confronted with split-second decisions.
In the end, one chef will earn bragging rights and win the $100,000 grand prize and a culinary adventure that will be featured in Food and Wine Magazine.
In a continuation of the competition, Bravo will produce a companion digital video series with “The Knockout,” which gives eliminated chefs a chance to claim a spot in the “Top Chef Duels” finale on-air. Hosted by Wolf, each week the most recently eliminated chef from the series will compete against the incumbent “Knockout” champion.
Shirley, who narrowly lost out on the final Hawaii location segment of the most recent “Top Chef,” is set to open her first restaurant this month in Orange County, which she’s named Twenty Eight. Shirley has worked for Jose Andres, Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali.
MORE TV: Another Las Vegas tattoo artist — our third — has signed on for the new Season 5 of Spike TV’s “Ink Master.” Clean Rock One is the owner artist with 19 years of experience at his Chrome Gypsy Tattoo parlor here.
He’s one of 18 contestants in the new season that premieres Sept. 2 with Dave Navarro as host and judge with artists Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck. The show pits Clean Rock One against his archrival Tim Lees, now in San Diego, who says that he was booted from the Las Vegas shop after helping build and open it.
EVEN MORE TV: VH1’s controversial reality-TV series “Dating Naked” — yes, the guys and gals shed all their clothes — features Las Vegas cocktail server Camille Straughan on Thursday’s episode. Camille, who models with the Suicide Girls website, signed on to the push-the-envelope dating show because her own intense relationship had just ended.
The one-hour weekly series says the nudity pairings on a remote island adventure have brought about a 60 percent success rate of romances, with one couple even deciding on the Aug. 21 episode to get married in a Sept. 18 nude ceremony. Love is obviously easier when there’s nothing to hide!
WICKED WHISPERS & RACY RUMORS
It’s now definite that the makeover of the shuttered Pure at Caesars Palace will result in a larger playground when it reopens this fall. Insiders whisper that it will expand into the now-closed Munchbar and eventually into the adjoining poker palace. Apparently the Pure name also will be dropped in favor of a new one to reflect the total change from the “good ol’ days.”
Spanish kitchen king Ferran Adria, who was head chef at the acclaimed El Bulli on Costa Brava, is headed to Las Vegas. He was ranked one of the world’s best chefs with his revolutionary deconstruction creations. Ferran has been booked for a private charity dinner party here in September, but details are wrapped in secrecy — so far.
Las Vegas boxer and MMA athlete Ana Julaton, who held her media day gym workouts today, has been told that when she fights Malaysia’s Ann Osman at the Aug. 29 One FC battle in Dubai, she will have to cover her arms and legs inside the Octagon out of respect to her challenger’s Muslim faith.
Sad to hear that “Pawn Shop Live! at the Riviera closes Aug. 21.
JOKESTER WANTED: So you think you’ve got jokes? Now through Aug. 14, the outlandish producer of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace challenges fans to put their comedy to the test in celebration of National Tell a Joke Day on Saturday, Aug. 16.
Fans are invited to enter the So You Think You’re Funnier Than the Gazillionaire social media contest where one winner will receive tickets to attend “Absinthe” and a pre-show meet-and-greet with The Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets and enjoy the selected joke incorporated into the performances. Fan’s PG-13 submissions must be shared by posting to “Absinthe’s” official Facebook wall or by tweeting @AbsintheVegas.
HALLOWEEN ALREADY? We are celebrating summer, but horror kingpin Jason Egan has plans underway for six new haunted houses and scare zones at his Fright Dome this October, and he’s hiring 400 people for positions in the horrifying business. Auditions begin Aug. 16 at Circus Circus.
Comedian Chris Tucker and MMA cut man Stitch attended Russell Peters’ comedy show at Pearl at the Palms.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. was in a VIP suite at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel for the Legends of Hip Hop with DMX, Naughty by Nature and Big Daddy Kane.
Keith Thompson, conductor of “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas, hosts the Composers Showcase at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center.
Disclosure plays Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq Promenade.
Hip-hop producer DJ Mustard spins at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore.
Our guests columnists are downtown D Las Vegas owner Derek Stevens and headliner variety entertainer Frankie Scinta. Plus, Spike TV’s new series “Hungry Investors” with Jon Taffer, Tiffany Derry and John Besh at two Las Vegas diners to see which one is a diamond in the rough worth bankrolling to help end their struggles.
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 Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.