2018 INDUSTRY ICON HONOREES
The 44th Annual UNLVino will highlight two individuals who have made game-changing contributions to the community and culinary scene and inspired generations of professionals in their respective fields.
A global role model
With a name recognizable to fans around the world, Chef Paul Bocuse was a hero of French gastronomy who, after 50 years of Michelin-star respect, built an empire based on regional cuisine that drew inspiration from simplicity and generosity. When Chef Bocuse arrived in a dining room to greet guests, wearing his chef’s hat and a spotless jacket bearing the colors of France, time stood still as those in attendance turned to admire this imposing yet charismatic culinary icon.
Guests came to Chef Bocuse’s restaurant in his hometown of Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France to savor the dishes but also to experience an exceptional encounter with “The Pope of Gastronomy” (he was also known as “The Chef of the Century”) – a leader of nouvelle cuisine and the son and grandson of a long line of chefs, dating back to the 17th century.
He was introduced to cooking at a young age inside Auberge du Pont de Collonges, a family establishment run by his parents, Georges and Irma. Of his country childhood, Chef Bocuse – whose name means “man close to the wooded countryside” – maintained close ties with nature, having learned to poach, hunt, and fish.
From his apprenticeship with Eugenie Brazier and Fernand Point, he learned precision and control. Thanks to his temperament and senses of observation and humor, Chef Bocuse continued his route as an ambassador of French cuisine, the creator of the esteemed global culinary competition Bocuse d’Or and a talent scout.
Passion was no doubt the secret to Chef Bocuse’s success. Those who carry on his legacy at his signature restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, share a constant goal of delivering the very highest quality in choice of products, gestures in the dining room, and the appropriate attitude with customers and colleagues. It is a sign of excellence, and proof that Chef Bocuse has made his mark for generations to come.
Chef Bocuse embraced life: loving the world, women, and taste. He passed away in his hometown of Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France, on Jan. 20, 2018, at the age of 91. His legacy will be remembered at the 44th Annual UNLVino with the release of 1,926 balloons, commemorating his birth year.
Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams
An icon of Las Vegas entertainment journalism, Robin Leach has captured our attention and hearts since his 14-year run as host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Yet before gaining global prominence, Mr. Leach began his journalism career more than five decades ago as a writer for Britain’s Daily Mail and The New York Daily News. As a young writer, he launched the famed People Magazine, with a byline on the magazine’s first 11 cover stories.
After becoming the business editor for Rupert Murdoch’s The Star, Mr. Leach transitioned into television as a show business reporter for CNN, served as the global roving senior correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, and in 1984 launched the show that would make him a global celebrity – the aforementioned Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – with his unforgettable catchphrase, “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”
Mr. Leach’s work with the Food Network drew him to Las Vegas in 1999, where he worked alongside celebrity chefs at The Venetian and began to cover the city’s arts and entertainment scene, eventually launching his own website, VegasDeluxe.com. For eight years, he covered entertainment for the Las Vegas Sun, before moving to the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2016.
Mr. Leach’s impressive resume of television and film work includes appearances in Troop Beverly Hills, She-Devil, Family Guy, Hotel, Everybody Hates Chris, V.I.P., Roseanne, Boy Meets World, Hee Haw, Thirtysomething, Sledge Hammer!, Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The View, Celebrity Wife Swap, The Surreal Life: Fame Games, Holly’s World, Top Chef Masters, Ghost Adventures, The Bronx Bunny Show, Match Game, and The Daily Show.
A dedicated philanthropist and champion for Las Vegas, Mr. Leach has helped raise millions of dollars for The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and has a bench dedicated in his honor at the Center’s park. For his contributions to journalism and his community, Robin Leach will be honored with the Dom Pérignon “21 Cork” Salute at the 44th UNLVino.