Cook a perfect summer meal in the Vail Valley |

Cook a perfect summer meal in the Vail Valley

Ric Stovall/Special to the Vail DailyVail Valley food: The kitchen at 50 Spruce Lane in Lake Creek "provides plenty of space and amenities for a chef's cooking class," said Kelly Brinkerhoff. Brinkherhoff's husband, James, developed and built the home, which is currently on the market.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado -Fresh is best in the Vail Valley. That’s a popular mantra many local chefs chant, but none more so than Kelly Liken of Restaurant Kelly Liken and Jenna Johansen of Dish! Restaurant – two of the valley’s only female executive chefs.It’s not surprising then that the women will focus on fresh produce at a cooking class they’re co-teaching next week in Edwards. A new series of cooking classes called “Local Chefs, Local Food” kicks off Monday at a private home in Lake Creek. “We’ll talk about seasonality over the course of the summer and what comes into season at what time of the year,” Johansen said. “We’ll also talk about how to shop at the farmer’s market and show people how to make a lot of easy, basic meals at home.”

When Kelly Brinkerhoff moved in February into a nearly 9,000-square-foot home her husband developed and built in Lake Creek, she was inspired by the large, open kitchen. “The kitchen is a gorgeous large living, dining and cooking space designed with Mexican Cantera walls and hand-blown glass light fixtures that make the space feel intimate despite its size,” she said. The room’s ample countertop space, two prep sinks, a six-burner stove, a wood-burning oven and a large kitchen island got Brinkerhoff thinking about a new project for the summer: Putting together a series of cooking classes, taught by local chefs, to take place in the home.”There aren’t a lot of cooking classes in town and I thought it would be fun to do it in a different setting – a private setting. The kitchen opens up to (Lake Creek) and it’s just a beautiful summer setting,” she said. Seeing the space is what convinced Johansen to take part in the series, she said. “I’m really excited to teach the classes there,” she said. “(The house) backs up to the water and the kitchen and home are so beautiful. It’ll be an unbelievable setting for a great class.”

Proceeds from classes, which are $100 each and capped at 30 people, will benefit the two non-profits Brinkerhoff paired with to put on the classes – The Vail Symposium and the Millennium Society, as well as each of their beneficiary organizations, including Steadman Hawkins Research Foundation, the Youth Foundation, the Bright Future Foundation and the Minturn Community Fund.The Brinkerhoffs are living in the home – listed with Slifer Smith & Frampton at just under $7 million – until it sells. A secondary motivation behind the classes is getting more people into the house, Brinkerhoff said. “We need to be a little more creative in this real estate market,” she said.

What: Local Chefs, Local Food 2009 summer cooking class series.Who: Local chefs Kelly Liken and Jenna Johansen will lead the first class, “Cooking for Summer 101, Perfect Summer Meals.”When: First class is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday.Where: 50 Spruce Lane, Lake Creek, Edwards.Cost: $100 per person, per class. Includes cooking demonstration and/or hands on instruction, a three- to four-course meal, two glasses of wine or cocktail and recipes to take home.More information: To register, visit dates: • June 29 – Dish! Chef Jenna Johansen leads a class on easy summer entertaining with cocktails and appetizers.• Aug. 24 – Chef Kelly Liken of Restaurant Kelly Liken will lead a course on cooking in a wood-burning oven.• Sept. 14 – Todd Rymer, director of culinary education at Colorado Mountain College, will lead a course on making fresh pasta and sauce. • Date TBD – Mark Ferguson, executive chef at Spago at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, will teach a classHigh Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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