Get the game on
Wild turkeys beware – avoid The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch this weekend. The hotel hosts its inaugural Wild Game Weekend, with visiting chefs and food and wine authorities.
“We’re all about a comfortable Rocky Mountain environment,” said Kristin Yantis of The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. “We’ve got an authentic Western Rocky Mountain luxury. The Wild Game Weekend is about exploring the bounty of the American West.”
The weekend is designed to be interactive with the participants. Chefs from various Ritz-Carltons across the country will be sharing their own take on wild game, as will celebrity guest chef Jack McDavid of Jack’s Firehouse in Philadelphia. Bon Appetit magazine, sponsor of the event, is sending Anthony Dias Blue, its wine and spirits editor, and Lokoya Winery’s winemaker, Christopher Carpenter, is coming, too.
Chef McDavid kicks the weekend off with a class on grilling wild game. Host of “Grillin’ and Chillin'” on the Food Network and chef-proprietor of Jack’s Firehouse restaurant, he’s a southern boy through and through.
“Jack is fantastic,” said Wendy Reisman, corporate director of food and beverage public relations for The Ritz-Carlton. “He’s from Virginia originally and he’s really into saving the farm and things that are fresh – grow-your-own. He likes supporting the local farmer.”
And he’s a consistent man. Both, in his restaurant and one the road, he specializes in down-home cuisine. According to Reisman, he’s a renaissance man for all things culinary.
“He’s an absolute riot,” she said. “He’s pretty much one of the foremost experts on this topic.”
After McDavid warms up the crowd, four Ritz-Carlton chefs will host a welcome reception and barbecue feast. They include Paolo Vezeni (Washington, D.C. and Georgetown), Roger Stettler (St. Thomas), John Johnstone (Georgia) and Stephan Schupbach (Bachelor Gulch). Each chef will prepare a dish that not only reflects the spirit of Wild Game Weekend, but also pays homage to his native cuisine. They’ll all barbecue wild game such as rabbit, squab, wild boar, venison and elk.
Saturday’s activities begin in the late afternoon. Participants have a choice of a wild game cooking class with Chefs Stettler and Verzeni – sauteed medallions of elk hunter’s style with pumpkin ravioli – or a Lakoya wine tasting seminar with Bon Appetit’s Blue.
For those with the stamina for a second round, there’s a choice between another cooking class, this time with Chefs Johnstone and Schupbach – venison Balmoral with kiln-dried cherries on rye bread pudding – or a Bowmore scotch seminar, again with Blue.
The event culminates in a four-course dinner, paired with wines. Afterwards, cigars will be passed around the fire pit for anyone interested.
“It’s a celebration of and informative sojourn into wild game cuisine,” said Reisman. “These things are avail specifically in (the Vail area), and are getting popular in colder months.”
Food and wine celebrations have become destination events, and are increasing in popularity the country over. Yantis expects between 75 to 100 participants, she said.
“I think they’re popular for various reasons,” said Reisman. “There’s the educational aspect as well as the celebrity chef phenomenon. People are interested in becoming more educated and discerning. And they’re looking to be more experimental and broaden their horizons.”
And in the West, those horizons include elk, pheasant and more.
Wild Game Weekend is open to the public.
Schedule of events
3-5 p.m. Wild game barbecue cooking class
6-8 p.m. Wild game barbecue dinner and welcome reception
4-5 p.m. Wild game cooking class or Lakoya wine tasting seminar
5:30-6:30 p.m. Wild game cooking class or Bowmore scotch tasting seminar
7:30 p.m. Four-course wild game gala dinner with Lakoya wine pairing
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
cost:$150 per person for Friday, $175 per person for Saturday, or full weekend event pass $300.
More info: 343-1065
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.