Gourmet Odyssey

The annual Las Vegas Odyssey is a foodie's dream come true.

By: Kathy Espin

LAS VEGAS For those foodie clients who are interested in the good life, the fourth annual Las Vegas Odyssey, scheduled Nov. 6-9, is a four-day event featuring meals by celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, art showings and wine tastings.

Virginia Martino, president of Las Vegas Odyssey, founded the event along with her husband, Mark Martino. They held a focus group of the local master sommeliers, celebrity chefs and general managers to come up with the format.

“We basically said, ‘Hey, we really want to put together a fantastic food, wine and art event to showcase what’s happening here on the culinary scene,’ ” Virginia Martino said. “We want to showcase what the city has to offer besides the gaming.”

The event capitalizes on the proliferation of high-end restaurants and celebrity chefs that has been the rage in Las Vegas during the last five years. The new upscale eateries also have nutured an emphasis on fine-wine collections and master sommeliers. Of the 57 master sommeliers in the nation, 13 live and work in Las Vegas.

Among the 32 chefs and executives scheduled to participate in this year’s event are Roy Yamaguchi, Gustav Mauler, Luciano Pellegrini, Michael Jordon, Randy Sebastian, Carlos Guia, Arnauld Briand and David Feau.

Martino stressed that the Las Vegas Odyssey is no ordinary food and restaurant fair, where participants go from booth to booth sampling a wide variety of cuisine. The Odyssey features a series of multicourse dining experiences presented with elegance and luxury in mind. This year’s event features a black-tie gala and a VIP martini tasting with Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas’ colorful mayor.

The gala will feature a five-course dinner with matched wines prepared by 10 of Las Vegas’ celebrity chefs. The dinner also will include a showing by this year’s artist-in-residence, Thomas Arvid, who specializes in paintings of wine.

While many of the events are being held at Lake Las Vegas, an exclusive resort and residential community about 17 miles from the Strip, other events are being held at locations in Las Vegas proper.

A “High Roller” wine tasting will be held at the Las Vegas Hilton, as well as a culinary and visual art show where top pastry chefs will pair their creations with work by local and national artists.

A brunch by Chef Russell Grabe will be held Nov. 9 at the House of Blues Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay. Helicopter transportation to the event will be available from Lake Las Vegas for an additional fee of $275 (commissionable to agents).

Tickets for the Odyssey events run from $150 per person for individual events to $1,200 per person for a VIP Package, including all events and a helicopter tour.

Travel agents will receive a 10 percent commission on tickets.

Ten percent commissions also are available on special room rates at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, the host hotel for the Odyssey and the site of many of the events.

“For travel agents, our event gives their guests a unique experience to test the fine dining here and get a sense of the culture, with room in between for their gaming,” Martino said. “They don’t have to worry about entertainment, food or wine. Our events are very well done and it’s a great time.”