Amongst the many events Eater attended at this past weekend's Vegas Uncork'd foodie spectacle presented by Bon Appetit magazine, one of the most talked about gatherings fell to Viva Las Vegan!, a vegan tasting and discussion co-hosted by Steve Wynn and celebrity chef (Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres) Tal Ronnen. As some might remember, Eater first broke the news that Vegas mogul Steve Wynn had switched his dietary patterns over to veganism last fall, at which point he also announced that he would add animal-free menus to all his restaurants. Thus, celebrity chef Tal Ronnen joined the Wynn/Encore team to consult on the properties' vegan food and beverage program.
Which brings us to Vegas Uncork'd and Wynn's Viva Las Vegan! demo which opened with Wynn regaling the crowd about his road to veganism. Apparently, it all started “a year ago on my boat in St. Tropez” when he was inspired by “a handsome Indian gentlemen? who after a year was 30 lbs lighter and 15 years younger.” This gentlemen gave Wynn “a diet [video] and [I thought] god damn.” Wynn continued on to discuss environmental impacts of eating meat and stated that “the American diet is unbearably suicidal? animal based diets cause cancer and degenerative spinal disease? and animal based diets are absolutely unhealthy.” He then discussed that rising health care costs Wynn $60 million per year, which is a direct result of an increasingly sick and obese American population. He thus remarked that “caring about what you eat and trying to make it tasty and educate the public is not some kind of fringe activity of tree huggers but, a matter of fundamental survival and continued vitality of our society starting right here with my family and my employees.”
We all enjoy our fair share of meat but certainly found the luncheon fully satisfying with offering from Alex Stratta (Sratta), Mark LoRusso (Botero), Kim Canteenwalla (Society Café Encore), David Walzog (SW and Lakeside Grill), and Jet Tila (Wazuzu).
In other non-vegan news, Eater also learned that Jet will make an appearance on Iron Chef this summer to challenge reigning champ Morimoto. [EaterWire]
— David Morris