It was pretty incredible what they pulled off. Even David Tutera has more time to strategize, prep, and execute than they did -- and with far more hands on deck. And Tutera isn't working in Vegas in the dead of summer.
That's one thing I should emphasize. It was hot. I mean really hot. (And not just because I was sitting next to Curtis.) I honestly don't know how these chefs function in full whites, darting around from room to room, slaving over a hot stove in 114 degree weather. I remember those grueling days in culinary school, and I admire their work. Do I want to do it myself? Heck no. And especially not for a party of 200 with only a day's notice.
But these chefs handled it like champs. Some, like Patricia, really played to the weather and the environment. She created the perfect passed plate for the occasion -- a cold, Southeast Asian-style salad made with pickled mackerel, fresh coconut, and chilies. It reminded me of Thai som tam with its bright, fresh flavors. It was the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy all in one small bite, and using sustainable seafood no less. Bonus points for that!