Love our Locals series returns |

Love our Locals series returns

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
CVR canning KA 09-20-10

VAIL – Sweet Basil’s biannual weekly cooking and entertaining series, Love our Locals, is back, on Tuesday nights beginning this week through June 7.

“It’s a fun way to take advantage of a quieter time of the year and to share our experience of what we’re truly passionate about,” said Matt Morgan, Sweet Basil managing partner. “As well as help our fellow locals be better chefs at home.”

The four-week series, held in Sweet Basil’s private dining area, are evenings filled with interactive demonstrations and instruction on new techniques to enhance home entertaining.

“One thing I loved about the Love our Locals events was seeing a bunch of locals,” said Edwards resident Stacy Rei. “After a long winter season, it was back to the root of Vail and the people who are committed to living here.”

Sweet Basil’s executive chef, bar manager and sommelier are a few of the instructors for the new spring series. The events include step-by-step instruction on how to make fresh summer cocktails, pair food with wine, pack a perfect picnic, and make the most out of your grill.

The “Grill It” event was by far the most popular last spring. Sweet Basil’s Executive Chef Paul Anders taught attendees how to select the right cut of meat for grilling as well as how to make simple rubs and marinades.

“Grilling is something I am passionate about and do almost every chance I have in the summer, so I think that passion shows in the class and our guests respond to that.” Anders said.

New this year

This is the fifth Love our Locals series.

“We wanted to make sure we were indeed giving our locals what they love,” Morgan said.

An email survey to 120 past attendees went out in February to help Sweet Basil hone this spring’s series.

“We got so many wonderful comments on what our guests liked and what they didn’t like about the series,” Morgan said. “From these responses we kept the more popular events and even added an additional package to the list of options. A lot of our guests wanted to have dinner after class in the dining room at an affordable price.”

New this year, attendees have the choice between simply going to the class or adding a three-course dinner to their package. Class-only reservations are $25. Class combined with a three-course dinner will cost $49.

Kicking it off right

Sweet Basil’s bar manager, Rob Stoops, will start off the new series Tuesday night with a class called “Summer Sippers and Snacks.” Stoops and Anders team up to share their ideas and techniques for some classic summer cocktails and appetizers. Stoops will show attendees how to concoct refreshing, thirst-quenching cocktails while Anders teaches the secret to fresh guacamole and salsas.

“Summertime is for kicking back. The goal of a summer party should be for the host to be able to actually enjoy the party,” Anders said. “We want to give people some ideas for items to prepare ahead of time so they can enjoy the company of their guests instead of the company of their kitchen.”

Stoops will start the class by teaching guests how to make two cocktails from scratch.

“I’ll be demonstrating how easy and tasty a classic margarita and mojito are when made with fresh ingredients instead of using mixers or store bought products,” he said.

Attendees will learn to make these fresh cocktails for one person or for 50.

Want yet more incentive to come on Tuesday night? Each guest will be treated to a “Stoops surprise” at the beginning of the class that will start their evening on the right foot!

Since the entire Love our Locals series is about ‘how-to’ at home, each class is based on simple easy-to-use techniques for the home chef, entertainer and party planner.

“We get a broad spectrum of locals from early 20s to 70-year-olds, depending on the event.” Morgan said. “Most events are limited to only 25 people, which keeps the series quaint and informative.”

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