Top Chef Just Desserts Chef Craig ‘chews’ his way to a win

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JUST DESSERTS: Do you think you would like lemon pancakes with strawberry petit fours? It sounds like a winner to us, and it actually was a winner for Craig Poirier, grandson of GamingToday’s Executive Editor Ray Poirier.

The 25-year-old Derry, N.H. native, who now resides in Las Vegas, was a contestant on Bravo’s recently concluded second season of “Top Chef Just Desserts” television show.

One week the Quickfire Challenge was to create a dessert that would make a tasty chewing gum flavor. The winner’s flavor became one of three new candidates the public can vote on to be the next Extra Dessert Delights flavor.

Yes, Craig’s pancakes fit the bill and he may soon have the honor of having his Lemon Square flavor immortalized forever in chewing gum. The voting continues through Nov. 12 at www.facebook.com/extragum and on mobile phones via m.extragumvote.com. According to Wrigley, makers of Extra gum, folks are allowed to vote early and often

In addition to the great honor of a possible gum flavor, Wrigley also threw in a check for $25,000, which definitely delighted Craig.

But the son of Doug and Lisa Poirier has more going for him than gum. Shortly after graduating from the Notter School of Pastry Arts in Orlando, Fla., Craig auditioned for and landed a job as pastry chef at First Food & Bar at the Palazzo. We think that’s quite an accomplishment for someone fresh out of school with no on the job experience. And since the “Just Desserts” show he has moved to Holsteins Restaurant at the Cosmopolitan as a baker under manager Carlos Enriquez, who was also on the show and took home a couple of smaller prizes totalling $15,000.”

Craig used to love baking and decorating birthday cakes for his friends,” explained Ray’s wife Shirley. “Now he’s making a career of it. We’re very proud of him.”

WINTER WONDERLAND: If you are planning on coming to Las Vegas between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, you might want to pack your ice skates!

The Venetian and Palazzo casinos have planned a “Winter in Venice” seasonal celebration that includes an outdoor ice skating rink, thanks to the magic of recyclable polymer. The synthetic ice requires no refrigeration or electricity, making it environmentally friendly, a priority with the two Strip casinos.

The rink will be located in front of The Venetian, adjacent to the outdoor gondola attraction. Of course there will be music for the skaters, and overhead will be 2,000 festooned lights and 30 larger-than-life snowflakes adding to the atmosphere. There will also be colorful characters wandering about spreading good cheer throughout the celebration, which begins Nov. 21 and continues through Jan. 8.

Nightly lightshows at Venetian’s Doge’s Palace, which will include a 65-foot LED holiday tree, are sure to dazzle. And the opportunity to enjoy seasonal treats like eggnog cupcakes, warm apple cider and hot chocolate are tempting our taste buds already.

However, if you no longer have those skates sitting in the back of your closet, don’t worry. The $19 cost of the 30-minute skating session includes the skates.

See you around town.

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