Celebrity chefs stake their claims to the Vegas Strip

The latest roster of culinary masters opening restaurants in Vegas would make any Masterchef contestant swoon.

From Giada de Laurentiis to Guy Fieri to Daniel Boulud to Jose Andres, celebrity chefs are adding star power to a dining scene that was once dominated by all-you-can-eat buffets.

"Las Vegas continues to grow and evolve and so does the dining scene," says Elizabeth Blau, a restaurant industry consultant who has been credited with bringing celebrity chefs to Vegas, including Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss.

"It's only fitting that the next wave should be the celebrity chef known … to a broader base, not just to an elite foodie crowd."

Vegas has evolved from a gambling mecca to an entertainment and dining paradise.

It has one of the most comprehensive collection of celebrity chefs and more Master Sommeliers than most other US destinations.

Many celebrity chefs have been lured to Vegas by casino owners trying to one-up each other with marquee names for their restaurants.

The economic downturn slowed down some of that momentum as casino projects stalled. But competition is once again heating up.

"The restaurant industry went into a little bit of a slump during recession," says Annika Stensson, senior manager of research communications for the National Restaurant Association.

"A lot of entrepreneurs, including celebrity chefs, slowed down expansion plans. Now that the economy is getting better, they are actualizing those plans they may have had for a long time."

There are now more than 1,000 restaurants, with more than 400 in the resort corridor on the Strip and downtown, says Courtney Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

With almost 40 million annual visitors, Vegas restaurants took in about $US9 billion ($AU9.6 billion) in taxable sales last year, according to Nevada research firm Applied Analysis.

That was a 5% increase from 2012 and an all-time high for southern Nevada.

Stensson says it makes sense for acclaimed chefs to stake a claim to Vegas.

"Traditionally, in Las Vegas, you think of all-you-can-eat buffets, and it has gone beyond that, and that will continue in the future," she says.

"Consumers are a lot more sophisticated and knowledgeable when it comes to food and dining, now as opposed to a decade ago. A lot of them, when they travel, they look for more of an experience than just to satisfy hunger."

In recent years, Vegas has attracted the likes of Joël Robuchon, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, Hubert Keller and other renowned chefs who can boast of Michelin stars and James Beard awards.

Now chefs such as the Cake Boss, who have high TV ratings along with culinary accolades, are making their way to the Strip.

"It just makes it more accessible to the public," Blau says of the arrival of more celebrity TV chefs.

On April 17, Food Network star Fieri opened Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen and Bar at the Quad Resort and Casino.

The 200-seat restaurant will have an extensive menu of burgers, wings, tacos, small bites and shareable food items.

Next month, Food Network star de Laurentiis will open her first restaurant, GIADA, inside The Cromwell, a brand new boutique hotel on the Strip.

The menu will consist of Italian cuisine with California influences.

It will have a 260-seat dining room, lounge and outdoor patio with views of the Bellagio fountains and Caesars Palace.

In just a few weeks, Chef Boulud, a James Beard award winner and TV host, will make his return to Vegas with db brasserie, a contemporary French restaurant at the Venetian.

He will join Valastro, who recently opened Buddy V's Ristorante and Carlo's Bakery at The Venetian.

"It's like a dream come true," Valastro said at the opening of Carlo's Bakery inside the Grand Canal Shoppes earlier this month.

"You feel like you're part of a great community."

Jose Andres is planning to expand his Vegas empire from three restaurants to five with the opening of Bazaar Meat and Ku Noodles at the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Labor Day weekend.

"Everybody wants to be where the action is," Andres says.

"Creativity happens in high energy places. And Vegas, to me, is a high energy place where creative minds get together."