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Culinary showdown coming in December

The culinary event, Ultimo – A Weekend of Excellence, hosted by The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas, will bring lavish feasts, the romance of Italy and a dash of competitive cooking to Las Vegas from Dec. 17-20.

“This will be, without a doubt, the most spectacular gathering of world-renowned chefs in Las Vegas,” Sebastien Silvestri, vice president of food & beverage for The Venetian and the Palazzo, said in a statement. “For the culinary enthusiast, this will be a weekend to remember.”

For the third year in a row, Ultimo include a team of award-winning chefs including Jérôme Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, Josiah Citrin, Shaun Hergatt, Gavin Kaysen, Thomas Keller, James Kent, Roland Passot, Philip Tessier, Ming Tsai, Richard Rosendale and Dario Cecchini, the famed Chianti “Butcher of Panzano.”

This winter weekend will feature the return of The Venetian’s Grand Banquet, which was introduced in 2013 and spans the iconic Grand Colonnade of the resort. In its first year, chef Mario Batali called it “the grandest meal ever served in Las Vegas.”

This year, Ultimo will kick off with a noteworthy Bocuse d’Or Team USA competition event, held in partnership with ment’or BKB Foundation, a nonprofit organization, founded by Chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jérôme Bocuse, which aims to inspire excellence in young culinary professionals.

Ultimo’s theme of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, each of life’s elements, will be celebrated during the meal experience.

The event will featurespecial festivities throughout the weekend, including a floating luncheon on the Grand Canal at The Venetian and cooking over an open flame.

For more information on the schedule of events and to buy tickets, visit www.venetian.com/ultimo.

Partner sought

The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency has launched a search for prospective partners to operate its newly improved business center program in nearly 30 cities nationwide, including Las Vegas.

The agency, which is dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses, plans to award 29 individual cooperative agreements to operate MBDA Business Centers starting April 1. The awards will cover a five-year period and total $10.2 million annually. The centers will be in areas with substantial minority populations and minority-owned companies.

“Our new and improved business center program was developed based on performance outcomes of our most successful centers and where we’ve had the most impact,” MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo said in a statement. “Under the new program, the nationwide business center network is more integrated, places more emphasis on collaboration, and was designed to ensure the quality and consistency of service delivery throughout our nationwide network of business centers.”

MBDA is looking for organizations to deliver business consulting services to minority-owned firms, providing them increased access to public- and private-sector contracting opportunities, financing and capital investments.

Successful applicants will be those that have experience in assisting minority companies with obtaining large-scale contracts and financial transactions; accessing corporate supply chains; facilitating joint ventures, teaming arrangements, mergers and acquisitions; conducting export transactions; and performing minority business advocacy.

The opportunity is open to for-profit entities, nonprofit organizations, state and local government entities, Native American tribes and educational institutions.

Applications are due by Dec. 3. For more information, visit www.grants.gov or www.mbda.gov.

Chamber awards

The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business Excellence Awards were presented Oct. 8 at Aria resort.

The Business Excellence Awards Committee, which comprises community leaders and several businesses, determined the top 25 nominees.

Trailblazers, who have created new ways to engage and support the community, are CenturyLink, Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, Helping Hands of Vegas Valley, MGM Resorts International and Welcome Home Troops.

Innovators included Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Helix Electric, Opportunity Village, Rimini Street and William Hill Race & Sports Book.

Pace setters, who set an example for best practices in both small and large companies, were Americana Safety, Applied Analysis, Café Rio Mexican Grill, Skyworks Aerial Systems and Workforce Connections.

Groundbreakers, who have led the way in a post-recession economy, included Blue Heron Design Build, Clean Energy Project, Crazy Pita Restaurant Group, Las Vegas Convention Center SpringHill Suites Marriott and Outside Las Vegas Foundation.

Lastly, Cultivators, who recognized the importance of culture within an organization and piloted new approaches to inspire and cultivate productivity, longevity and employee satisfaction, were Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa, Barclaycard US, Cox Communications, Fair, Anderson & Langerman and Dr. Rex Liu, Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.

Award winners received a special feature in the Business Voice and on the chamber’s website and an award package.

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