Some final thoughts on the whirlwind Vegas weekend, and then we promise to get back to our regularly scheduled programming. If there's one thing to get a panel of old-guard journalists fired up, start talking about blogs. A panel discussion with editor in chief Barbara Fairchild, GQ and BA contributer Alan Richman, and local Vegas food critics, Max Jacobson and John Curtas was spirited to say the least. Some take-aways:
On Bloggers and Other Critics:
Is the esteemed panel running scared? Apparently it's not more the merrier in the world of food writing. It's all a competition.
"Anyone who has a blog can call themselves a critic these days. And these people don't have criticism training. It's not such a good idea to listen to them."
"Michael Bauer is a joke. He's not talented. The chef's know he's coming." [ed. note: Bauer is the San Franciso Chronicle food critic]
"John Mariani doesn't like anyone who doesn't treat him like a king." [Mariani writes for Esquire]
On the Las Vegas Dining Scene:
Most of the panelists have covered Las Vegas restaurants since the 90's, when Wolfgang Puck brought Spago to the Strip. But now it's a multi-million, if not billion, dollar industry.
"Las Vegas is a great restaurant town. But it's not a food town."
"Why do hotels invest all this money in restaurants? Because they have to compete with Cirque du Soliel and Celine Dion."
"Whatever you get here is 70% of what you get at the original. Robuchon and Savoy bring it almost as good as the original because a lot of money and a lot of talent at the stoves."
"The real hope is that these chefs will go out and open storefront restaurants in town. But the reality is that this is still very much a blue collar city, and who knows if they'll support that."
We played devil's advocate and kept asking questions, which the panelists thanked us for when we introduced ourselves at the end. Except Jacobson, who told us to "lay off the Los Angeles Times food critic, you're too tough on her" when we told him we write Eater LA. They might not like the blogs...but they certainly read them.