In The Kitchen in Beaver Creek pairs chef demonstrations with wine-paired luncheons

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

There is some amazing chef talent cooking up meals all over Beaver Creek, but it’s not every day when guests can be in the kitchen to watch the magic in action.

Beaver Creek has started its most recent addition of culinary offerings throughout the summer season. On Friday, June 22, Splendido at the Chateau put on a culinary demonstration followed by an intimate wine-paired luncheon. The event was a first of the In The Kitchen sessions held in Beaver Creek this summer, with another coming up at Toscanini on Friday, July 13.

“Beaver Creek’s culinary offerings don’t just start and end with our food festivals like Winter Culinary Weekend or Wine & Spirits Festival,” said Stacie Mesuda, senior specialist of communications for Vail and Beaver Creek. “In The Kitchen allows guests to experience the best of Beaver Creek, with intimate culinary demonstrations followed by a wine-paired luncheon. The event is relaxed, with plenty of opportunity to converse with the chefs and ask questions about their methods and recipes.”

From Splendido

During the June demonstration, Splendido owner and executive chef Brian Ackerman and pastry chef Sebastien Schmitt showed the crowd how to make the dishes they would soon be eating for lunch in the Splendido dining room.

On the menu: an appetizer of tomato tart with ricotta, cherry and sunflower; a seafood and chicken paella entree; and a cherry clafoutis for dessert. The experience was paired with Sancerre, Bourgogne and great company, following a fun and interactive hour in the kitchen.

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“We love when the guests ask questions,” Ackerman said. “It’s all about the interaction with the crowd and making sure they have fun while also learning something new.”

Schmitt said the demonstration helps guests be more connected to what they are eating, and that was certainly the case with the summer dessert. He made the cherry clafoutis preparation look beautifully simple. While I’m not certain I will be able to replicate any of the dishes myself, Splendido sent every guest home with recipes from lunch (provided in this article), so at least we can all go back to our own kitchens and give them a try.

Up Next In The Kitchen

Beaver Creek’s next In The Kitchen is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 13, at Toscanini with executive chef John Zavora.

The culinary demonstration will be on how to make fresh mozzarella, followed by an intimate wine-paired luncheon at Toscanini.

For the first course, guests will enjoy a pizza margherita featuring the freshly made mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, sea salt and fresh basil. This course will be paired with Luca Bosio Barbera D’ Asti 2016. The second course will feature tagliatelle with lamb, beef and pork bolognese, plum tomatoes, parmesan and crispy sage. The tagliatelle will be paired with La Cappuccina Madego Cabernet Merlot Carmenere 2015. Dessert will be ciabattino: peach cobbler with streusel topping and white chocolate vin santo gelato paired with Saracco Moscato 2016.

The event costs $85. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Recipes from Splendido

Recipes provided by Splendido at the Chateau owner and executive chef Brian Ackerman, and pastry chef Sebastien Schmitt


Serves 2

This is a two-step dish. First you need to make the base (sofrito with tomato) then you can make the paella. The sofrito and mussel stock recipes make enough for at least 2 more pans.

Sofrito with tomato

1 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cup garlic cloves, halved

2 cup onion, minced in the robot coupe

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 bunch fresh thyme, tied together

2 1/2 cup fresh roma tomatoes, cut in half, seeded and grated on a box grater, discarding the skins

2 1/2 cup canned whole Italian tomatoes, food milled

Salt and white pepper to taste

1. Cook the garlic in the olive oil slowly until beginning to brown, then add the onions and continue to cook over low to medium heat until very thoroughly cooked but not brown, about 30 minutes.

2. Add the paprika and thyme and cook for another couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes and summer medium over low heat until reduced by 3/4s but not dry, 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

Mussel stock, seasoned with salt and saffron

1/2 cup diced leeks, white only

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup sliced fennel

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed

1 bouquet garni: 3 sprigs thyme, 4 sprigs parsley, 1 Tbs. white peppercorns

1 cup white wine

1 quart cold water

3 pounds mussels, cleaned

Pinch or 2 saffron (depending on your saffron, you want a good golden color and flavor but not too intense

1. Gently sweat the vegetables with a little olive oil and add the bouquet garni.

2. Add wine and reduce by half. Add the water and the mussels and slowly bring to a simmer, skimming constantly. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Strain, making sure to get all the liquid out (save the cooked mussels for a salad).

4. Season with just a bit of saffron and salt (the broth should be seasoned enough for the rice without adding more salt to the rice once it is cooking).


2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup sofrito

1 cup Spanish Bomba rice

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 3/4 cup mussel stock

10 ea. green beans, in half, cooked

2 tablespoons. cup piquillo peppers, about 1” dice

1 ea. cooked sliced artichoke heart

1 ea. 1 1/4 lb. lobster, cooked

4-6 ea. shrimp, medium size

8-10 ea. mussels

1 ea. green onion, sliced thin

2 ea. lemon wedges

1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Heat the olive oil and sofrito in a 12” paella pan and then add the rice and stir over medium heat until rice has started to absorb the oil and sofrito (you can substitute a 12” skillet for the paella pan).

2. Add the stock, black pepper and check the salt, bring to a strong boil, stirring lightly, then place in a 400-degree to 425-degree oven, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed (do not stir from this point on!). This is why the broth should be seasoned properly beaches the rice should not be stirred once it has begun to cook.

3. Remove from the oven and distribute over the rice the green beans, diced piquillo peppers, cooked and sliced artichokes, the lobster split in half, shrimp, mussels, and or anything you might want in your paella like maybe rabbit or chicken.

4. Return to the oven until all the seafood is just barely cooked through. About 5 to 7 minutes more.

5. Return the paella to stove top and cook over medium high heat until a crust or toasted rice is formed on the bottom of the pan, known as the “socorrat”. The rice on the bottom of the pan must toast for just the right amount of time and it can be heard crackling.

6. Finish the pan with the lemon wedges, the sliced green onion, chopped parsley and serve with aioli*** sauce.


4 ea. egg yolk

2-4 cloves garlic

8 threads of saffron

salt and pepper

2 cup olive oil

Lemon juice to taste

Cherry Clafoutis (or strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or any fruit in season)

A cross between a cake and a custard, served warm and dusted with sugar.

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1/4 cup flour

Pinch salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted (or other fruits, cut into 1” pieces)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Beat the eggs with the sugar and the seeds scraped from the inside of the vanilla bean until frothy.

3. Add the flour and salt and then whisk in the milk and cream until blended.

4. Spray or butter 6 individual 6 ounce gratin dishes or use 10” glass tart pan

5. Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into each dish and distribute the fruit among the dishes.

6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Serve warm with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream.

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