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Dionysian Dreams

Wren Wertin
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A fund-raiser for the Vail/Eagle Valley Rotary Foundation and the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards, the VVWA features a four-course dinner with wine pairings and a live wine auction. To date, the event has raised $84,000 for the two charities, no small potatoes.The extravaganza capitalizes on Vail’s tendency to savor all things culinary, as four prominent local chefs each take a course and present their best, paired with wine. Peter Brill and Tom Mullen, founding members of the VVWA board of directors, came up with the idea five years ago.”At that point, wine auctions across the country were in vogue, making money for charity,” said Brill. “We thought Vail was a natural fit. We realized we could get local chefs and tie in an elegant dinner.”And so they did. This year features chefs Luc Meyer of Left Bank Restaurant, Daniel Joly of Mirabelle Restaurant, Dean Waziry of Marriott Mountain Resort and Daniel Niederhauser of Columbine Bakery & Cafe. Each chef is donating his time and skill for the meal, and chefs on the VVWA board have coerced their individual food purveyors to donate most of the food, allowing them to maximize the donation to the charities. Additionally, each chef has consented to donate a dinner party for eight to the highest bidder.”It’s a real coup that we’ve got Luc Meyer on board,” said Brill. “He’s probably the most long-term, formidable chef of the valley, and he’s participating in this event.”As a man fighting cancer himself, Meyer’s interest in the proceedings goes beyond the food. The proceeds will be split somewhere close to 70 percent for Rotary and 30 percent for the Cancer Center.”The dinners are great,” said Brill. “Each year the committee sits down and figures it out. Between all of us we probably know every chef in the valley.”Each course will be complimented by a wine from one of the following wineries: Gloria Ferrer Winery, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Markham Vineyards and Rosemount Estates.The auction will be a lively event, featuring items from various wineries, wine professionals and private collectors. Auctioneer Ed Lutz will keep the evening rolling.The event is certainly a time commitment for participating chefs, but they seem happy to make the effort.”The cause is just great,” said Waziry. “I think every time we have the opportunity to give something back to society, we’re obligated to. I love to help.”Waziry is preparing the third course – a pistachio and herb-crusted Colorado lamb t-bone with a butternut squash-stuffed potato roesti and minted plum wine sauce. He decided to serve lamb because the first two courses are seafood (salmon and shrimp, respectively), and he wanted something a bit different.”I believe in simple cooking,” he said. “Most of my flavor comes from the components of the plate itself. Each item is easily prepared, but when they’re all put together they all make sense. Most people find my recipes very easy to make, because I stay with simple flavor and simple cooking. I do not go ahead and re-create something that was already created great.”Waziry has been a chef for 15 years; he began his career in New York City. As a child he was prone to making art projects. Now, he sees his food as art.”I used to do a lot of carving, but now it’s chocolate,” he said.On August 24, the day of the dinner, interested parties can have a sneak preview of auction items from 3 to 6 p.m. Cocktails and auction registration begin at 6:30 p.m., and the dinner starts at 7 p.m. At 9 p.m., the auction begins. Cost is $125/person, or $1500 for a reserved sponsor table of 10 with additional benefits.An auction preview will also be available at the blind wine tasting and hors d’oeuvre party at Billy’s Island Grill August 23 at 6 p.m.For more information call (970) 926-1494 or (800) 341-1494, or visit http://www.VailWineAuction.com.Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.


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