WYLD treats taste buds to unexpected flavor | VailDaily.com

WYLD treats taste buds to unexpected flavor

Katie Coakley
EAT magazine

Editor's note: This story first ran as a paid feature in EAT magazine.

There are many words that describe Beaver Creek — sophisticated, upscale and luxurious may come to mind. The enclave of The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, personifies all of these adjectives and more, but the recurring word you might be hearing is "WYLD."

This signature dining experience at The Ritz takes guests "to the edge of wild," treating taste buds to unexpected flavor combinations created from the very best ingredients, all with the impeccable service and attention to detail you'd expect. Helmed by Executive Chef Jasper Schneider and Chef de Cuisine Manuel Gutierrez, and supported by the culinary brigade, the menu at WYLD is a brilliant blend of flavors, textures and culinary components, weaving together new dishes to create an atlas of inspiration.

Broken into helpfully descriptive sections like "today's farm," "sea & land," "grains & things" and the new "birds & game," the descriptions may seem sparse, but delivered dishes are far from simple. Take, for example, the ahi tuna. Paired with Iberico ham, Marcona almonds and tomatoes, the resulting dish toys with texture and tap dances across your tongue, drawing the salt from the Iberico to play with the rich buttery texture of the tuna before allowing the celeriac to cut it with its subtle acidity. Chef Schneider says that when he was working with celebrity chef Eric Ripert in New York, Ripert always told him to figure out what the star of the dish was and to focus on that.

"So I think: What are we focusing on — okay, the mushrooms," Schneider says. "The mushrooms are the star of the oatmeal, let's give all the flavors to the oatmeal." The result is a savory expression of the majesty of the mushroom. Created with a mushroom dashi, a porcini puree and topped with chanterelle and black trumpet mushroom and a bit of parmesan, it's fungi at its finest. "We're excited, super excited about the flavors," Schneider says.

A new addition is the confit Spanish octopus, served with an incredibly complex Romesco sauce (created from more than 15 ingredients), green olive puree and espellete. It's as if the spicy and savory and bitter components are battling for your attention — the result might be a moment of stunned silence to simply savor. Perfect for the winter, the truffle matzo ball soup is Chef Schneider's grandmother's recipe but "up level," he explains, with the addition of truffles. This is the joy of dining at WYLD. Familiar favorites are exalted to new levels, celebrating the essence of each ingredient; new combinations are crafted to illustrate the beauty of collaboration and creativity. So wander up to WYLD and settle in for a truly transformative dining experience.

If you go …
What: WYLD, upscale, mountain modern meets classic fine dining
Where: Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, 0130 Daybreak Ridge
Cost: Appetizers: $16-$27; Entrées $23-$78; the 30-ounce. bone-in rib-eye for two is $145.
Signature dish: Roasted heirloom carrots; the duck.
More information: 970.343.1555 | ritzcarlton.com/bachelorgulch