Epicurean Affair Remains One of the Premier Culinary Events Las Vegas Has to Offer and Provides Scholarships for the City’s Brightest Rising Culinary Stars

“That feeling—making people happy while they eat a meal I prepared—always overtakes me with pride and joy. I could never get enough of that feeling.”—Alyssa Akala, 2015 Recipient of the Robert E. Rich Academic Scholarship

“In the kitchen is where I found my passion and place. I could express myself and create meals to satisfy the soul. Now, I want to help other learning disabled students find their voice and passion as well.”—Josiah Sanders, 2015 Recipient of the Sweeney Family Scholarship

“I want to be able to walk into a future workplace and bring a positive change.”—Tarell Mills, 2015 Recipient of the Al Schuman & Ecolab Academic Scholarship

“The level of passion and commitment that chefs put into this industry assured me that I belong in this profession.”—MacDaniel Dimla, 2014 Recipient of the Coca-Cola and Burger King McLamore Foundation Scholarships

“I’m a step closer to achieving my goal and attending my dream college because of this scholarship. Thank you so much!”—Ji Sun Ham, 2014 Recipient of the Golden Corral and Burger King McLamore Foundation Scholarships

The statements above are just a small sampling of the students that have been helped by scholarships provided by the Nevada Restaurant Association NvRA and its partners, along with many more that have benefited from the nationwide ProStart program, a national high school culinary skill and restaurant management program.

Even more young culinary rising stars will be provided aid thanks to the Epicurean Affair, the annual fundraising soiree that occurs each year at The Palazzo. NvRA president and CEO Katherine Jacobi said, “We are thrilled to present this event, which for 33 years has provided Las Vegas the opportunity to help fund the educational dreams of high school students interested in culinary careers. It is an amazing occasion to enjoy many of the great restaurants that have made Las Vegas a culinary destination.”

Here’s to eating and drinking to a good cause and that’s what more than 2,300 guests did at this year’s Epicurean Affair on May 26, where there was no shortage of excellent eats and drinks, with booths set up from nearly 80 of the finest establishments both on and off the Vegas Strip Las Vegas has to offer. The setting was sublime as well, with an absolutely beautiful evening with perfect weather with temps in the high 70s matched with the gorgeous setting of the Palazzo Pools, with four areas to meander through while enjoying world-class cuisine and a premier selection of libations.

Participants included AquaKnox, B&B; Ristorante, B&B; Burger & Beer, Carlo’s Bakery, Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, db Brasserie, Delmonico Steakhouse, Hong Kong Café, Lagasse’s Stadium, Lavo Italian Restaurant, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro, OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria, Public House, SUSHISAMBA, Table 10 and Tao Asian Bistro to name a few.

While by no means a scientific survey, I asked my entourage of four to select offerings that had the wow factor. The results were: Halibut Ceviche from Triple George Grill, Ahi with Rock Shrimp and Bacon Risotto from Phil’s Italian Steakhouse Treasure Island, Ravioli Ai Porcini in Champagne Truffle Cream Sauce from Il Mulino Caesars Palace, 2013 Piattelli Vineyards Malbec Grand Reserve from Argentina, Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings from Virgil’s opening at The LINQ, Lychee with Lime Chile from Z India Catering, Tres Leche Chocolate with Strawberry Garnish from Firefly, Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout served by Public House The Venetian, Cavatelli “Cacio e Pepe” with Smoked Pancetta and Marjoram from Lavo The Palazzo and Kiwi Watermelon Lemonade from Hash House.

This small sampling doesn’t do justice to the myriad of stellar bites and sips we enjoyed and our only regret was getting too full to indulge further. If you missed attending this year’s Epicurean Affair, do yourself a favor and make sure that never happens again.