Despite record-setting temperatures, 1,500 fans of the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, turned up to patiently wait two hours and enjoy a poolside barbecue with star chef Emeril Lagasse. Many sat with feet and legs dangling in the Venetian pool, but several took a fully clothed dip to cool down!
“I could do the cooking on the tiles,” laughed Emeril, turning his taste treats over a dozen gas grills per order of the fire department. “No wood or coals by law,” Emeril said. “But I think the sidewalk is hotter than my grills anyway. I’ve never cooked in weather this hot. Thank goodness they say its over 110 but only feels 104! It must be 150 with the speed I’m grilling the food at.”
The sold-out barbecue and rock concert were the second set of the Venetian’s Carnevale celebrations that began a week ago with star chef Mario Batali’s Taste of Italy. Star chef and "Top Chef Masters" TV host Curtis Stone is the Venetian’s next Carnevale celebrity chef. He was married this weekend in Majorca, Spain, to longtime love and "90210 actress" Lindsay Price. The couple became engaged last July after the November 2011 birth of their son, Hudson. Wolfgang Puck is set for another Carnevale celebrity chef night during the three-month festival of food, wine, music and culture.
Sammy ordered shorts and T-shirts for himself and the Wabo band — and played the entire set unfazed by the temperatures. “Down in Cabo, I’m used to the sun and the heat, but this is the hottest concert we’ve ever played,” he said.
Emeril marinated four pigs in Sammy’s line of tequila, rum and kahlua for the feast — and even created a Waborita using two shots of Cabo Wabo tequila, 1 ounce of fresh lime juice, 1 ounce of Cointreau and a splash of Grand Marnier, all combined in a shaker with ice, shaken several times, strained and poured into a salt-rimmed margarita glass. He also served up luau pork, corn on the cob and sausages to the 1,500 guests.
Fans loved the food and the music. One who grabbed his front-row spot told me: “I don’t care what the temperatures are. I wouldn’t have missed this for anything. It's a perfect night.”
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his extraordinary gallery of photos. Be sure to check back later for our exclusive interview with Emeril as he talks about a possible new Vegas restaurant and television show plus the identity of the mystery chefette he’s praising on the new fall "Top Chef" series filming in New Orleans.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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