Beaver Creek’s Food & Wine fest heats up |

Beaver Creek’s Food & Wine fest heats up

Kimberly Nicolettiknicoletti@summitdaily.comVAIL CO, Colorado
Beaver Creek Chophouse Chef Jay McCarthy (right) takes a sample from Chef Jacques Van Staden during the Master Chef Classic Grand Tasting at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch Saturday eveing, January 29, 2011.

Beaver Creek Resort has been producing its top-shelf culinary festival for years, but this year it’s upping the ante by teaming up with Food & Wine.As event director Cat Coughran pointed out, the partnership elevates the event because Food & Wine is “clearly an industry leader that sets the standard for not only food publications but also for creating innovative and world-class culinary events.”Friday’s events include a mid-day wine seminar from 2-3:30 p.m. at Ospry by sommelier and Food & Wine journalist Anthony Giglio, and aprs ski burgers and beers at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill Deck from 3-5 p.m.Friday night’s stand-out extravaganzas take place at three separate restaurants and feature renowned chefs. Perhaps the most famous is chef John Besh, who hosts “Chef Besh’s New Orleans” on American Public Broadcasting and garnered a runner-up position on the Food Network’s hit series “Next Iron Chef.” Hailing from New Orleans, he’s preparing his creamy cauliflower crabmeat soup, Waygu beef short ribs, horseradish gnocchi and petit covey rise vegetables, and chocolate hazelnut dessert at Allie’s Cabin at 6 p.m., in partnership with local chef Kirk Weems.When Besh last came to Beaver Creek, he was quite a hit, especially with the women, said Splendido executive chef David Walford.”You should have seen him; he was like a rock star in the kitchen,” he said.Chef Marc Murphy joins Walford at Splendido; most people know the New York master as a judge on The Food Network’s newest weekly hit, “Chopped,” as well as for his appearances on “Iron Chef America,” “Hot Chefs,” “The Today Show” and more.”It’s his evening to show his stuff off,” Walford said.Murphy will feature some of his signature dishes: Goat cheese and asparagus terrine with beet vinaigrette and herb salad and roasted Colorado lamb chops.”I tend towards the accessible, neighborhood-type food,” he said. “I was trained in high-end French cooking, but what I love to do these days, and what I offer at Landmarc and Ditch Plains is simple, really good and solid food.”

Chef Stephanie Izard partners with Daniel Joly, executive chef of Mirabelle. Food & Wine named her one of the Best New Chefs last year; she has cooked in some of Chicago’s most respected kitchens and co-owns Girl & the Goat. The evening highlights her seared scallops, mussels and goat sausage and smoked goat raviolis, smoked uni cream, and finger limes.”I am going to bring the flavors of Girl & the Goat to Beaver Creek – and of course, a paaartay,” Izard said, adding that her restaurant pairs a “really fun atmosphere with boldly flavored dishes and an awesome wine and beer list.”The odd name came from her last name – a type of goat from the Pyrenees mountains in France. She always wanted to name a restaurant revolving around goat: “Originally, it was going to be ‘Drunken Goat’ because I like to drink, but the Drunken Goat cheese people did not want to share the name. So I decided on Girl & the Goat, which is more fitting anyway,” she said.As a minority in a field dominated by men, she said it takes more to prove yourself, “but the harder you work, the more people focus on your abilities and not your gender.”Her talent stems from being inspired by food on a daily basis.”I smell, taste or see something new or that I haven’t thought about in a while, and my mind races,” she said. “Rather than thinking about what food item goes well with another, I focus on flavors and textures to build layers in a dish to make your whole mouth happy.” Each of tonight’s dinners benefit a nonprofit; Allie’s helps the Vail Symposium, Splendido’s benefits the Bright Future Foundation, and Mirabelle helps the Vail Valley Youth Foundation.

Early birds can start breakfast with guest chef Richard Sandoval in the Spruce Saddle Lodge from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, then join Izard and host chef Christian Apetz for a cooking demonstration and multi-course luncheon and wine pairing at the Vilar Performing Arts Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tim Love’s cooking demo is sold out, but Giglio offers a Wine-Down Wine Seminar from 3-4:30 p.m. at Rocks Modern Grill.The signature event takes place from 7-10 p.m. as all the guest chefs and Beaver Creek culinary talent bring out their best, paired with wine and spirits, for the Grand Tasting at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa.

While the festival is fantastic for foodies, it’s also an inspiration for chefs. You might think that in such a small town, local chefs mix and mingle, but as David Gutowski, executive chef of Grouse Mountain Grill points out, winter is so busy, chefs don’t have much time to go out and eat, so this gives them a chance to see what everyone’s up to, as well as make “a little more interesting food that normally we wouldn’t run at the restaurant,” he said.And, as far as guest chefs go, he said he always takes something away, be it a technique or something as simple as an ingredient.”This festival really gives all of the chefs in the village an opportunity to come together and ‘play ball’ with one another,” said Christian Apetz, executive chef at the Park Hyatt’s 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill. “8100 has been making a lot of noise on the local culinary scene lately, and now we have the unique opportunity to be the host hotel, allowing us to showcase all of the skilled members I have on my team.”But this weekend, of course, is not just about the chefs; it’s about the guests.”It’s great to be surrounded for the weekend by other ‘food nerds,’ not just the chefs but all the guests who are here,” Gutowski said. “They are here because they love food and want to have a good time, and we can relate with them. This is our life, and everyone in our kitchen truly loves what they do.”

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