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Caesars lands another chef-celeb

Jul 15, 2003 3:41 AM

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has reached an agreement with Caesars Palace to bring the vibrant Southwestern cuisine of his nationally acclaimed Mesa Grill to the venerable Las Vegas resort.

Scheduled to open in the spring of 2004, the new Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace will be Flay’s first restaurant outside of New York City.

Flay will be the second premier American chef to sign on with Caesars Palace. Earlier this spring, famed chef, author and restaurateur, Bradley Ogden, opened a signature restaurant at Caesars, his first outside the state of California.

Flay is also an award-winning chef, television personality, popular cookbook author and successful restaurateur. He is known to millions of fans as resident chef for the CBS "Early Show." He also hosts three popular television series for the Food Network ”” "Hot Off the Grill With Bobby Flay," the culinary travel adventure "Food Nation With Bobby Flay" and "Boy Meets Grill," named after his very successful third cookbook.

"Bobby Flay’s new Mesa Grill will be a stand-alone destination for Las Vegas and a wonderful addition to the dining array at Caesars Palace," said Caesars Palace President Mark Juliano. "In addition to Flay’s formidable culinary talent, his team consistently provides an elevated atmosphere of warm hospitality."

"My goal with Mesa Grill has always been to create boldly flavored food in a high-energy environment," said Flay. "Las Vegas, especially Caesars Palace, seems to be the perfect fit."

Born in Manhattan, Flay first became interested in cooking at the age of 17 while working in New York’s legendary Joe Allen’s restaurant, where Bobby’s father was a partner. Impressed with Flay’s potential, Allen funded the prodigy’s tuition to the French Culinary Institute in New York.

The 1991 opening of Mesa Grill firmly established Flay’s position as a leading New York chef and major American culinary force. Tantalizing selections like shrimp and roasted corn tamale, and favorites such as New Mexican spice rubbed pork tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho chile sauce and sweet potato tamale with crushed pecan butter, helped solidify Flay’s reputation as one of the foremost practitioners of Southwestern cuisine.

The restaurant won New York Magazine critic Gael Greene’s choice as Best Restaurant in 1992. The New York Times raved that the "sassy fare at Mesa Grill surpasses anything of its kind elsewhere in New York."

For the last five years, the Zagat survey has named Mesa Grill the No. 1 American Regional Restaurant in New York City.

In May 1993, Flay was named the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year, an award honoring the most accomplished chef under age 30. That same year, he received the French Culinary Institute’s first Outstanding Graduate Award; he continues to be an active Master Chef mentor on behalf of his alma mater.

Flay’s innovative cuisine is chronicled in four popular cookbooks. In 1994, he published "Bobby Flay’s Bold American Food" (Warner Books) which won the 1995 International Association of Culinary Professionals award for design.

His second, "From My Kitchen To Your Table" (Clarkson Potter, 1998), won raves from The New York Times Book Review. "Boy Meets Grill" (Hyperion, 1999) has enjoyed several printings. His most recent is "Bobby Flay Cooks American" (Hyperion, 2001), and a fifth book is slated for release next spring.

In November 1993, Flay opened Bolo, his second New York restaurant, just blocks away from Mesa Grill. Awarded three stars by the New York Times, Bolo brings the same energy to Spanish cuisine that Mesa Grill has brought to Southwestern cuisine. Bolo continues to be voted the top Spanish restaurant in New York City by the Zagat Survey.

Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace will serve lunch and dinner just a few steps from the resort’s new Colosseum, where international recording artist Celine Dion stars in "A New Day," an elaborate theatrical production scheduled through early 2006.