Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Foolishness of a Food Festival...

Let me first say that Vegas Uncork'd presented by Bon Appetit is an amazing event for this city, and brings all the itinerant chefs we have with their names on restaurants into the city on the same weekend. This is a boon for foodies in this town and should not be overlooked as, probably, the biggest and best food event in this town.

My gripe stems from the timing of the event. Mothers Day weekend is one of the bigger weekends for restaurants on the calendar. Las Vegas needs this event, but why bring it on a weekend where husbands, sons, and daughters are all splurging on tasting menus and brunches for mom already? The spas are full, restaurants get booked, and casinos don't have any problem getting mom to drop a few bucks in a slot machine. So why a food event on an already busy weekend?

Bon Appetit should remember that chefs have mothers too, as do restaurant employees at every level. Instead of having to work an extra brunch shift on this busy weekend, employees now have to be available for various lunch, dinner, and late-night events connected to the event, and while the big time chefs can fly in their mothers for the weekend, the average restaurant worker has no chance to enjoy a moment with mom.

On top of that, while it is good face time for people like Bobby Flay, the restaurants (in my not so humble opinion) lose money on the deal. Two seatings (probably 40 people per seating) on a Thursday night at $300 per person is not what Restaurant Guy Savoy should be making that night. His menu is set for at least $360 dollars ahead and they probably get a full 75 heads on a busy Thursday.

My question to the restaurants and chefs involved is: Why this weekend? I suppose when Bon Appetit says they want to give you advertising and bring a bunch of people to your restaurant and your town, you don't argue with the date. Right? I don't know if that's the case but I'd love to see the "negotiations" that went on to decide on the date. I think it went something like this:

Bon Appetit: So, we have the weekend of May 8th open.

Las Vegas Restaurants: Isn't that a special weekend of some kind this year?

BA: (Threateningly) Does it really matter?

LVR: Nope, sounds great.

But again, this is just my opinion of a stupidly scheduled, amazing event. Good for Vegas for having it, no matter the weekend. Still, just one weekend later or earlier would make it that much better.

Brian William Waddell is a foodie, beer geek, and author. His numerous blog posts range from food to politics. He also has a book of poetry, Fractured Prose, available here, and is ready to publish his second poetic endeavor.

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