Las Vegas is getting its first taste of Super Bowl life as the host city — and the spectacle extends far beyond Allegiant Stadium, where the game will be held on Sunday, February 11. The festivities leading up to kick-off include celebrity-hosted parties, concerts, private corporate buyouts, watch parties, snackified brand activations, and VIP food events that bring some of the country’s most notable chefs and athletes together.
There’s a lot to take in. Here are three of the biggest, most extravagant, celebrity-packed foodie events hitting Las Vegas in the run-up to Super Bowl Sunday.
Taste of the NFL
Hosted in the style of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Taste of the NFL is Las Vegas’s signature food event of the weekend. For 30 years, the self-described “culinary and gridiron extravaganza” has been celebrating the stars of the culinary world.
Hosted by Travel Channel’s Bizarre Food personality Andrew Zimmern, Carla Hall of Top Chef fame, Fort Worth restaurateur Tim Love, pastry chef Lasheeda Perry, and five-time world champion Mark Bucher, it also features dozens of local chefs. Among them: Venezuelan-born Lorena Garcia, a partner at Chica; Wynn’s executive pastry chef Jennifer Yee; Food Network judge and restaurant owner Josh Capon from the Fontainebleau; executive chef Bryan Forgione from Buddy V’s; and Esther’s Kitchen owner James Trees.
Local chefs are flexing their culinary muscles for the event, debuting extravagant dishes. Garcia, for example, is serving wagyu quesa birria empanadas. Love is making penne alla vodka with rattlesnake and rabbit sausage, while Todd English has warm brown butter lobster rolls with caviar on the menu.
For homegrown chefs, like Trees, it’s an opportunity to showcase their food on a national stage. Trees says he’s excited to show that “a Vegas-born restaurant can go head-to-head with the best.” The chef says he wanted to spotlight his mortadella agnolotti with a brown butter sauce as a hearty winter dish. “It ends up tasting almost like a fancy bologna and cheese sandwich, which fits in nicely with the All-American food theme of the event,” he says.
Taste of the NFL, which benefits GENYOUth, a national non-profit that fights student hunger is February 10 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center. Tickets are $1,200.
The Players Tailgate
Headlined by Bobby Flay, who returns for a second-straight year as host, the Players Tailgate is a pre-game party at Mandalay Bay, a short walk from Allegiant Stadium. Now in its tenth year, the Players Tailgate is annually one of the top game day parties, running this year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 11. The high-end VIP event, a $975 ticket, attracts dozens of active NFL players and an all-star roster of chefs.
“We’ve created a tailgate experience that rivals the best food and wine festivals in the world,” says the event’s culinary director Aaron May. “We curated the menu to capture just how special the tailgate is and to make sure the chefs bring the heat.”
The menu is packed with nearly 20 dishes made by chefs from around the country. Flay is serving bay scallops with hot sauce and crunchy garlic. Marc Murphy will dish porchetta sandwiches. Michael Symon of Mabel’s BBQ has a Cleveland-style pulled pork sandwich, and Maneet Chauhan will prepare pork vindaloo keema with mango kachumber, to name just a few.
Guy’s Flavortown Tailgate
The mayor of Flavortown is hosting a raucous tailgate event and — incredibly — it’s free to enter. Guy’s Flavortown Tailgate is the ultimate pre-game party for football fans. It’s big. It’s rowdy. It’s delicious. And much like Fieri’s famous flame shirts, “This Tailgate is on fire. The perfect mix of food, drinks, tailgate fun, and music. It’s a recipe for success,” he says.
The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives star is slinging some of his favorites — Kobe cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, and a shaved prime rib sandwich — but he’s also enlisting other businesses to fortify the feast, bringing in pop-ups like Naked City Pizza, Chickpeas Mediterranean Café, Fat Choy, and Wicked Maine Lobster.
Fieri launched the event last year in Phoenix and its popularity led to a sequel in his hometown. The party, located behind the High Roller, is an all-ages event running from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. Admission is free and food is a la carte, although ticket packages can be reserved or purchased, and some include food vouchers.
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