Splendido hosts Andrew Zimmern, Dominique Crenn for #SaveRestaurants fundraising event | VailDaily.com

Splendido hosts Andrew Zimmern, Dominique Crenn for #SaveRestaurants fundraising event

By Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

#SaveRestaurants was created by the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) as a part of the group’s efforts raise awareness and support for independent restaurants and chefs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a harsh reality that many restaurants across the country are struggling, and many will never open their doors again.

Brian Ackerman, chef-owner of Splendido at the Chateau in Beaver Creek, is bringing the IRC’s support efforts to the Vail Valley with the Blue Tape Project, a fundraising event on Tuesday, March 9, with renowned culinary personalities including Andrew Zimmern making appearances.

“We’re calling it the Blue Tape Project because the idea is to have restaurants that are doing okay help restaurants that are not okay,” shares Ackerman. “So this would only be the first fundraising dinner of many.”

Andrew Zimmern's most famous TV shows are "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" and "The Zimmern List."
Special to the Daily

While the past year has been challenging for local restaurants like Splendido, Ackerman said many dining establishments across the country have it much worse.

“Other restaurants are just going to disappear,” he said. “We are just fortunate to not be in San Francisco or downtown Chicago. So we want to do our part in helping so many restaurants that are suffering.”

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It didn’t take long for Ackerman to have some truly respected culinary names come to the table on this event. Joining Splendido’s efforts on March 9 are these Dominique Crenn, Andrew Zimmern, Billy Dec and Bobby Stuckey, all notable culinary figures.

Zimmern has made appearances at Beaver Creek Culinary Weekend in past years. The four-time James Beard award-winning TV personality, chef, writer, teacher and social justice advocate, reached out to Crenn about the event.

“He asked me to join him in this effort to support the Independent Restaurant Coalition,” said Crenn, currently the only female chef in America to attain three Michelin stars, for her restaurant Atelier Crenn, in San Francisco, California. “We hope to raise much needed money for restaurants at risk of failing due to this pandemic. There are 11 million workers that depend on the industry to make a living, we need to support them.”

Dominique Crenn is the only woman in American to have three Michelin stars, for her San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn. Vegetables used at the restaurant come from its own farm in Sonoma.
Special to the Daily

Ackerman is hoping to raise over $100,000 for the IRC with two seatings on March 9. The first is at 5:30 p.m. and the second is at 8 p.m. Splendido will serve a four-course plated dinner with wine pairings. Tickets are $750 per seat with a $20 service charge.

Colorado’s own Bobby Stuckey, owner and master sommelier of Frasca Food and Wine Group in Boulder, will be selecting and pouring wine pairings for the dinner. Stuckey and Zimmern have both been working on the IRC for nearly a year.

“The IRC was started March 17, 2020, out of a need for the industry of in-dependent restaurants to have an advocate for them in D.C.,” Stuckey shares. “It is an organization that we probably should have founded over 20 years ago, but we started last March. It’s a new organization that is doing heroic work. We got a bill passed into congress last week, that sat in the Heroes Act. We got a bill presented in the senate and now we are representing the new house, a bill currently as we speak. There is a lot of work to do, and a small group of individuals doing it.”

Bobby Stuckey is one of the core members working on the Independent Restaurant Coalition, along with Zimmern. He's based in Boulder.
Special to the Daily

Also, working the floor with the Splendido team on March 9 will be Billy Dec, a two-time Emmy Award winning TV personality, actor, attorney, restaurateur and owner of celebrated hospitality and entertainment venues like Sunda New Asian and The Underground Nightclub.

Current capacity restrictions limits 50 people in the dining room at a time. Ackerman said this is a benefit for those who want to spend a memorable evening with some of the industry’s most celebrated talents.

“At 50 people, it’s really intimate. You can wear your mask, come in the kitchen and see what the chefs are doing,” said Ackerman.

Billy Dec brings a slice of nightlife to the fundraiser: he's known for his venues Sunda New Asian and The Underground Nightclub.
Special to the Daily

The menu and wine pairings are still being coordinated between the chefs and sommelier Stuckey. Crenn shares she will be making a dish that has become a classic at Atelier Crenn — Trout Mousse, Smoked Mussel Créme, and Bleu Belle Farm Vegetables. In an effort towards sustainability, the dish uses every part of the trout and the organic vegetables are coming from the Atelier Crenn farm in Sonoma.

“So many restaurants in this country are struggling,” said Crenn. “We need to find time and effort to help one another. Restaurants are the fabric of our country and the food industry pours $760 million into the economy each year. Without them, we will all fail. There is hope on the horizon, so let’s lift each other up and get through this.”

To book a seat for the Blue Tape Project on March 9, contact Alisa Steinberg at (970) 845-8808 ext. 5 or email alisa@splendidorestaurant.com

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