Issue 229
January 31 - February 06, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Discover a Fountain of Youthful Delights With a Chocolate Cascade at Bellagio

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - From far down Bellagio's promenade in the luxurious new Spa Tower, a mesmerizing figure entices curious guests with visual splendor and aromatic wafts: jutting out into the main corridor like the prow of a ship is a glass-enclosed, floor-to-ceiling chocolate fountain emerging from Jean-Philippe Patisserie. Displaying a spectacular series of melted chocolate cascades, this first-of-its-kind spectacle is the tallest chocolate fountain in the world.

Designed by award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Philippe Maury and Norwood and Antonia Oliver Design Associates, Inc., the fountain took a year and a half in planning and design. The result is a genius work of kinetic sculpture and a daring feat of engineering. Standing 27-feet tall, the masterpiece circulates more than 2,100 pounds of melted dark, milk and white chocolate at a rate of 120 quarts per minute.

"I've been creating sculptures out of chocolate for years, but exploring the particular properties of melted chocolate has been fascinating," said Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Philippe Maury. "Each of the three types of chocolate behave very differently, and we had to be aware of this in the design. It's been a wonderful challenge!"

The visual impact of the fountain is as compelling as its chocolate is appetizing: six spouts in the ceiling initiate the lyrical descent of rich dark, velvety milk and glistening white chocolate streams through a maze of 25 suspended glass vessels. Cast in 1/2-inch thick, rough-hewn aqua glass and held in position by anchoring cables, each vessel was built to precise size, shape and design by Montreal artist Michel Mailhot. Some oblong, some rounded, each irregular, the vessels hover mobile-like to capture and coax the paths of free-falling liquid chocolate.

Three rivers of dark, two of milk and one of white twist and swirl from vessel to vessel, flood across then spill down to the next carefully positioned receptacle. The colored streams and vessels are staggered, creating a mosaic effect in earthy shades of cocoa, gleaming viscous surfaces and refracted light. Having finished their acrobatic tumble down the tiers of this colossal chandelier, each rivulet funnels into hidden melting tanks, recollects and begins the journey once more.

Surrounding all this glory is a protective, multi-faceted cloak of 300-pound glass panels that rise in a funnel shape as the fountain expands toward the ceiling.

"We've made glass a central design component of both the fountain and the Patisserie," said Designer Norwood Oliver. "Glass maximizes the visibility of chocolate's color and the multiple cascades as they flow from vessel to vessel. Glass also was an ideal medium to take the fountain's physical presentation to another level -- sculpture."

Built under Oliver and Chef Maury's guidance by Perfect Equipements of Montreal, the fountain's power plant is an elaborate system of pipes, pumps and valves located beneath the floor of the Patisserie. There, three tanks of chocolate -- dark, milk and white -- melt all 2,100 pounds to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Six pumps join forces to transport the molten delight to the top of the fountain through two-inch diameter, stainless-steel pipes hidden within the walls of the shop. Surrounding each pipe is an additional three-inch pipe through which flows hot oil to keep the chocolate thinned as it journeys up the wall to make its entrance. More than 500 feet of these double pipes circulate chocolate 24 hours a day. From the tank room below to the pipes above, the fountain's full height is 27-feet, yet only 14-feet is visible within the shop.

"The scope of this team's vision and their expertise are nothing short of genius," said Randy Morton, vice president of hotel operations at Bellagio. "Jean-Philippe Patisserie will become a sightseeing destination in itself and is a stellar addition to Bellagio's collection of elegant amenities. This one-of-a-kind fountain, Chef Maury's exquisite confections and the refined elegance of the decor and packaging all combine to make an experience our guests will never forget."




Gambling resort planned by Pawnee Nation

As reported by The Associated Press

PAWNEE, Oklahoma - A proposed gambling resort that would include a casino, hotel and golf course would draw much of its business from southern Kansas, according to the resort's developers.

The Pawnee Nation plans to build the resort on 800 acres adjoining the old Chilocco Indian School, which is north of Newkirk and just south of the Kansas state line. The 167-acre campus has been vacant three years.

A 150-room hotel would be built near a casino housing 1,200 electronic gambling machines, said Roger Foster, the tribe's development corporation manager.

The tribe has signed a contract for three gaming operations with a Minnesota company. Under the agreement, Lakes Entertainment would develop and manage the Chilocco casino and a much smaller one in what is now a tribe-owned gas station about nine miles south of Pawnee.

The tribe also would install about 65 machines in a convenience store in Pawnee, Foster said.

He said all three locations have been in federal trust since at least 1988, allowing the tribe to bypass a strict federal land review process for building a casino.

The Chilocco location seemingly would draw much of its business from southern Kansas, which has no casinos. Industry experts say northern Oklahoma is a relatively untapped casino hotbed.

The Pawnees are among six tribes with land in trust at the old Chilocco site. Others are the Kaws, Cherokees, Poncas, Tonkawas and Otoe-Missourias.

All but the Cherokee Nation have 816 acres. The Cherokees have the remainder, about 4,000 acres, said Wanda Stone, a Kaw nation council member.

Stone said an agreement has been in place for years preventing any tribe from opening a business on its Chilocco land that would hurt any of the other tribes. The Kaw Nation has a small operation at Newkirk.

"That would just kill our casino," Stone said. "I don't think anything was ever put in writing, but it's just been an understanding."

Silver Slipper breaks ground for new casino

As Reported by The Sun Herald

HANCOCK COUNTY, Mississippi - County officials and gambling executives plunged ceremonial shovels into the earth Wednesday to mark the groundbreaking for the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall and Saloon, but construction is already well under way.

It will be the Coast's only traditional riverboat casino when it opens in November and creates 650 new jobs. The casino will begin accepting job applications in July.

Paul Alanis, the chief executive of Silver Slipper Gaming, pledged that the casino would treat all its guests like VIPs and offer unique experiences.

Noting that he had friendly competitors in the audience, Alanis did not expound on his ideas for what will be Hancock County's second casino. Marlin Torguson, the chairman and CEO of the proposed Bacaran Bay Casino, and Joe Billhimer, the president and chief operating officer of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, were in the audience.

Both Hard Rock and Silver Slipper are slated to open this year, raising the number of casinos on the Coast from 12 to 14. Bacaran Bay, which appears on track to receive all the state permits and leases it needs, would be the 15th.

"The Coast is definitely alive and well," Alanis said. "It's got a great decade ahead. There's going to be more dramatic change."

The Silver Slipper is already spurring economic development. A 180-unit condominium project is planned for land near the casino, which is at the end of Beach Boulevard at Bayou Caddy.

The casino site consists of 37 acres, but only part of the land will be used during the first phase of development.

The four-level riverboat will be adjacent to a 44,000-square-foot building that will offer a 250-seat buffet and a private dining area. It will also have a saloon and sports bar with live entertainment. An outdoor patio will overlook the beach. The riverboat will have 24,000 square feet of gambling space and a 9-table poker room on its top floor. All slot machines will be coinless. A casino bar with wide screen televisions and video poker will be located on all four levels of the riverboat.

John Ferrucci, the casino's general manager, thanked the Hancock County Board of Supervisors for helping make the project become a reality.

"We're going to make it better, different and fun," Ferrucci said. "We want the people who work here to have a good attitude and we want the people of Hancock County to be proud to have us in their back yard."

The Eagles

Bally's Atlantic City: Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, The Eagles, will perform hits such as 'Hotel California' and 'Tequila Sunrise' at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall.

Dates: April 9, 2005

Price: $175, $85 and $49.50

Time: 8:00 pm

For more information please call: 1-800-736-1420
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