Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend brings top chefs for slopeside eats |

Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend brings top chefs for slopeside eats

Melanie Wong
Chef Paul Reilly, of beast+bottle and Coperta in Denver, is among the guest chefs at Beaver Creek's Winter Culinary Weekend.
Special to the Daily |

Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend schedule

Thursday, Jan. 21

• 7-10 p.m. — Wine & Tapas Social, The Metropolitan: A variety of tapas paired with select wines, $95.

Friday, Jan. 22

• 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Snowshoe & Gourmet Lunch, Beaver Creek Mountain and Grouse Mountain Grill: A guided snowshoe tour of Beaver Creek Nordic Sports Center and McCoy Park, followed by a multi-course lunch with wine pairings prepared by Grouse Mountain Grill executive chef David Gutowski and guest chef Richard Blais, $145.

• 3-6 p.m. — Après-Ski Burgers & Beers, Beaver Creek Plaza: Frosty beers and juicy burgers from some of the best grill masters in Beaver Creek. Outdoor event, please dress appropriately, $50.

• 6-10 p.m. — Four Course and Two Step, SaddleRidge: Sample wines while exploring the unique museum at SaddleRidge, with frontier artifacts such as Geronimo’s tomahawk and Gen. George Armstrong Custer’s hat and canteen, followed by a four-course dinner designed by SaddleRidge executive chef Adam Roth and guest chef Jon Bonnell. After dinner, select a partner for live music and two-step lessons. (Sold out.)

• 7-10 p.m. — Dinner at Splendido at the Chateau: Join Splendido executive chef David Walford and guest chef Stephanie Izard for a multi-course dinner with wine pairings, $175.

Saturday, Jan. 23

• 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Ski.Eat.Ski, Beaver Creek Mountain and Zach’s Cabin: Explore intermediate and advanced terrain with the help of Beaver Creek ski instructors and get tips on technique throughout the day. After skiing, take part in a gourmet lunch designed by the Zach’s Cabin’s new executive chef and guest chef Paul Reilly, $130.

• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Cooking Demonstration & Lunch, Splendido at the Chateau: Get a front-row seat as guest chef George Mendes takes over Splendido’s demonstration kitchen to create top-notch dishes for a wine-paired lunch, $130.

• 2-5 p.m. — Mules & Manhattans, 8100 Private Dining Room at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek: This speakeasy-inspired soiree features handcrafted cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, $50.

• 7-10 p.m. — Grand Tasting, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa-Ford Hall: Guest chefs from around the country, including Richard Blais, Stephanie Izard, George Mendes and Paul Reilly, join Beaver Creek chefs to create small plates accompanied by wine, spirits music and mingling, $150.

Sunday, Jan. 24

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Sunday Brunch at The Dusty Boot: Casual brunch featuring unlimited cocktails, $50.

The Colorado culinary scene is hoppin’, and the mountains are calling to chefs from near and far for an epicurean weekend on the slopes of Beaver Creek.

The ski resort hosts a culinary weekend each winter, and this year’s edition takes place Thursday through Sunday, offering attendees a customized menu of food, wine, spirits and mountain experiences, featuring internationally renowned guest chefs and celebrated host chefs, hands-on cooking demonstrations, apres-ski events, hand-selected wines, expertly crafted cocktails and, of course, skiing.

Stacie Mesuda, Beaver Creek communications specialist, encourages people to think of the event as an extended apres party.

“Between the chic cocktail parties, skiing or snowshoeing your way to lunch, dancing after dinner, apres parties in ski boots and a fun, casual Sunday brunch with live music, (the weekend) pairs classic winter leisure with gourmet food and drinks. Apres with us for all four days, or choose an event that fits into your weekend plans,” she said.

This year’s guest chef lineup includes “Top Chef” all-star Richard Blais; Texas culinary standout and author Jon Bonnell; Chicago luminary Stephanie Izard, of the restaurants Girl & the Goat and Little Goat; New York’s George Mendes, of the Michelin-starred Aldea; and Denver’s farm-to-table hero Paul Reilly, of beast+bottle and Coperta. Local host chefs, who will collaborate with the host chefs for special meals and events, include Adam Roth, executive chef at SaddleRidge restaurant; David Gutowski, executive chef of Grouse Mountain Grill at The Pines Lodge; Kirk Weems, of Zach’s Cabin; and David Walford, executive chef and general manager of Splendido at the Chateau.

Showing off

Marquee events at the Winter Culinary Weekend include old favorites, such as the Grand Tasting (where dozens of wine purveyors and chefs showcase samples and sips of their finest wares), and a big Sunday brunch at The Dusty Boot, said Anna Robinson, the resort’s senior event specialist.

One popular event that is returning is the Four Course and Two Step dinner at SaddleRidge restaurant, which features a multi-course meal and dance lessons. (This event was sold out at the time of publication.)

While attendees will enjoy the event over a long weekend, the preparation for the meals and bites they’ll experience started much earlier. As of Monday morning, Bonnell was in Fort Worth, Texas, smoking buffalo and getting ready to ship Texas red fish and grits to Beaver Creek.

He said that while he loves cooking at his own restaurants in Texas, it’s always exciting to go elsewhere and collaborate with other chefs.

“You get that feeling like when you were a kid and you get to go on a field trip — you’re going to the unknown to problem solve somewhere else. It’s a challenge, but it’s fun at the same time,” Bonnell said. “We’re going to showcase as many of our local ingredients as we can, but I want to make sure we can pull it off well, especially in a space that isn’t our own. We’re known for our big, bold flavors, and it’s fun to showcase that in another arena.”

Reilly said he was thrilled to be invited as the Front Range representative at the festival. These events are a fun time for chefs to meet and mingle and a chance to show off, too, he said.

“I think it’s exciting to attend these because you want to show off a little bit,” he said. “It pushes you, too, because when you look at other chefs that are there, you want to make sure that your dish is going to be fantastic because you know theirs is certainly going to be.”

Colorado proud

Reilly has spent much of his culinary career in Colorado and is currently the executive chef and co-owner of beast+bottle, a rustic American craft restaurant in Denver centered on local, farm-focused food, which he co-owns with his sister, Aileen Reilly. This spring, the siblings will also be opening Coperta, celebrating southern Italian cuisine.

“It’s like the car ride on the family trip that never ends,” he joked of working with Aileen.

The Colorado culinary scene has been booming for the past several years, and Reilly said he’s proud to be part of the movement.

“The restaurant scene in Denver and Boulder is really finding its own voice,” he said. “In the last three years, it’s made a name for itself, and people are recognizing that the restaurants here are doing things that are exciting and unique.”

Reilly focuses on what Colorado has to offer, letting the bounty he gets from area ranchers and farmers dictate his menu. He also follows a whole-animal approach, not wasting less-conventional parts and offering his diners improvisational and unique preparations such as cured lamb bacon.

Culinary Weekend diners will experience Reilly’s creative approach during the Ski.Eat.Ski event on Saturday. Visitors will ski the mountain with an instructor and then indulge in a gourmet lunch designed by Zach’s Cabin’s executive chef and Reilly.

Reilly is offering a rutabaga pasta dish in a cipollini onion and coffee broth. The result is a warming, rich dish that offers both savory and bitter notes. For the entree, he’ll be dishing out rabbit two ways. Also look for his Lebanese-style lamb tartar at the Grant Tasting.

Game on

In Texas, Bonnell is following a similar love-for-local philosophy at his restaurants, Bonnell’s, Waters Coastal Cuisine and Buffalo Brothers. He’s also the celebrity chef at the Texas Christian University football stadium and author of a few cookbooks. Oh, and he is an Ironman triathlete in his spare time.

On top of that, Bonnell has created a signature taste that melds Southwestern, Creole and Tex-Mex flavors. He’s also garnered a reputation for cooking some of the best game meat around. Antelope, buffalo and venison? Bonnell cooks it all.

“I grew up hunting and fishing, and we were always out in the woods somewhere,” he said. “Game meat is one of the first things I learned to cook. When I went to culinary school, I kept finding myself going back to venison and duck. We also gravitated to anything that we can find from local farmers and ranchers, and it turns out we have a lot of wild game providers in Texas.”

He’ll treat attendees at the four-course SaddleRidge dinner to Rocky Mountain elk tacos, bacon-crusted Texas red fish with Southwestern tortilla sauce and pecan-smoked buffalo tenderloin with green-chili cheese grits.

Assistant Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

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