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August 26, 2022, Las Vegas – The William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is widely regarded as the nation’s very best. Located a stone’s throw from the famous Las Vegas Strip, its large, state-of-the-art teaching kitchen enables countless students to master the cooking skills that have propelled many of them to significant chefs’ positions in this city’s great restaurants, and beyond.

Vice Chargé de Missions Stowe Shoemaker, Dean of UNLV Harrah School of Hospitality.

 

Because of the school’s reputation, our newly appointed Bailli, Norman McCombs, collaborated with Dr. Stowe Shoemaker, Vice Chargé de Mission and Dean of the school, to hold the Bailliage’s first dinner since 2020 in the striking Hospitality Hall on the UNLV campus. Bailli McCombs wanted to reinvigorate our members in memorable fashion, and for our resumption of Bailliage dinners proposed a gastronomic trip around the country.

Under the direction of Executive Chef Mark Sandoval, his instructors and students prepared a memorable tour of the U.S. that was savored by more than 40 Chaîne members and guests.

UNLV Chef Chris Lindsay.

Attendees were welcomed with a choice of libations: Lytle-Barnett Brut sparkling wine from Willamette Valley, Oregon, or the custom “Brian’s Buffalo Gal Cocktail” created by master mixologist and Chaîne member, Brian Van Flandern.

The culinary tour of the U.S. got under way with several iconic foods from Bailli McComb’s hometown of Buffalo, New York. Presented with a Chaîne “twist” were miniature versions of Anchor Bar chicken wings; Schwable’s beef on weck, and Ted Sahlen’s natural casing hot dogs. They were accompanied by mini-mugs of UNLV Rebel Spirit Gold Ale, brewed locally by the CraftHaus Brewery.

Our dinner continued with an appetizer of bouchée à la reine with salmon, caviar and dill from the Pacific Northwest and we further enjoyed Oregon’s Lytle-Barnett Brut. We then traveled with our palates across the country to indulge in a duo of Hudson Valley foie gras consisting of torchon pâté with huckleberry compote and fresh seared foie gras on brioche with peach compote. Complementing the foie gras was Trimbach Gewürztraminer from Alsace, France.

UNLV Chef Stephanie Bogert.

Luis Placencia preparing Buffalo Gal cocktail.

As a refreshing interlude to our very hot weather, the second course was a California chilled medley of melon soup with pancetta and white Sandeman Port, cleverly paired with Grahams Fine Ruby Port. Next, our appetites took us to the Florida coast for pan seared black bass with sunchoke/pesto puree and tomato-caper relish accompanied by a Santa Vittoria Roero Arneis from Italy’s Piedmont region.
Member/mixologist Brian created an appropriate Intermezzo with his hand-crafted Limoncello, after which we returned home to experience a timeless iconic dish.

Chilled melon soup with pancetta entree.
Bouchée à la Reine with salmon, caviar and dill amuse-bouche.

Presented as the fourth course was a luxurious Las Vegas version of “surf and turf”: heart of prime ribeye with Maryland blue crab cake and white corn succotash. The richness of this dish was complemented by Flowers Pinot Noir from California’s Sonoma coast.

As a fitting conclusion to our culinary tour, UNLV’s own pastry chef Audrey satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth as she presented her strawberry shortcake with mixed fresh berries and Grand Marnier whipped cream. This was accompanied by a specially created tricolor layered “Stars and Stripes” cocktail from mixologist Brian.

Stars and Stripes cocktail.
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