Mingling with celebrity chefs | VailDaily.com

Mingling with celebrity chefs

Cassie Pence
Special to the Daily/Jack Affleck-Vail ResortsChefs will be on hand to discuss food at the Grand Tasting Saturday. Tickets are $95.

BEAVER CREEK – Fine food and wine won’t be the only flavors sampled at the Beaver Creek Culinary Classic. Guests at the resort will also get a taste of celebrity chefs’ personalities.Starting today, the four-day culinary event – sponsored and co-organized with Bon Appetit Magazine – focuses on making its guest chefs accessible to the public. Events like the Celebrity Chef Ski Race, Master Chef Challenge and the Grand Tasting place chefs in a casual atmosphere, allowing interested foodies to hobnob and ask questions of their favorite high-caliber cooks.”They are not only acclaimed craftsmen and artists in their own right, they are personalities on top of that,” said Amy Foster Devore, associate publisher of marketing at Bon Appetit Magazine.Editor in chief Barbara Fairchild personally invites the chefs to participate, and in honor of the magazine’s 50th anniversary, she has really raised the bar in terms of the cooks’ notoriety. “We have a phenomenal roster of chefs this year,” Foster Devore said. “There is Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York, Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger in Massachusetts has his show on PBS (“Simply Ming”) and chef Kerry Simon was one of the original ‘Iron Chef’ competitors in Las Vegas. He’s the rock ‘n’ roll chef.”Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Food Network’s “The Two Hot Tamales” are also on the bill, along with Govind Armstrong of Table 8 in Los Angeles, who is known for using only high quality, fresh ingredients.”I have found that in my experience, when you source out and find the best possible ingredient, at the peak of its season, you will be well on your way to preparing a fantastic meal,” said Armstrong. “The flavors will be clean and true, and from there on out, it is up to you as a chef to do the best you can to preserve the integrity of these ingredients and not mask their delicious, natural flavor.”The culinary classic begins today with two pastry competitions: “The Cake Relay” and “Sugar Showdown.” Both contests test chefs skills with sugar. Friday begins with the Celebrity Chef Ski Race which pairs teams of three with a celebrity chef in a NASTAR race down Haymeadow on Beaver Creek Mountain.”It’s fun to have the chefs reveal shades of themselves and be free to do it in this kind of environment,” said Foster Devore. “It’s cool access for the guests because after the race they join the chefs for the apres ski luncheon.”Friday ends with the Master Chef Challenge, free and open to the public at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek. Chefs using surprise ingredients are given 20 minutes to create a dish. The first round features local amateur chefs, and Round 2 and 3 guest chefs go head to head.The culinary classic is highlighted by the Grand Tasting Saturday at the Village Hall at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. Guest and Beaver Creek chefs serve up their signature dishes in a grazing type atmosphere.”I will be doing Arepas de Puerco, which includes pulled pork, achiote-hoisin, crema fresca, and avocado,” said Richard Sandoval of Modern Mexican Restaurants in New York and other locations around the country. “It is a dish that reflects my style of cooking very well and represents my Latin-Asian restaurant Zengo.”Laurent Tourondel of BLT Steak, BLT Fish and BLT Prime in New York will be serving his breaded weathervane scallops with sunchoke puree and caramelized endive in a caper brown butter sauce.

“This is a great dish using seasonal products,” said Tourondel.Bon Appetit has raised the level of wines for the Grand Tasting, Foster Devore said. Founder and Director of Bon Appetit’s Tasting Panel Anthony Dias Blue has hand picked the pours.”He will be there to present the wine Saturday and will be wandering around, really making himself available to talk about personal tasting notes and personal wine observations,” Foster Devore said.Tickets can be purchased from the Vilar Center Box Office in Beaver Creek by calling 888-920-2787 or 845-8497. For more information, log on to http://www.beavercreek.com.Beaver Creek Culinary Classic schedule of events(Presented by Bon Appetit)Today9 a.m.-5 p.m. – “Cake Relay” CompetitionFilmed by The Food Network.For the first time in Food Network Challenge history, 10 separate professional cake decorators will be paired off into five two-person teams. They will be asked to decorate a cake and interpret a theme that will be given to them on the morning of the competition. This competition will be relay-style: One teammate will work on the cake for one hour, while their teammate is in another room. At the end of the hour, the teammates will switch places. The competition will continue as such until the last hour, when the two teammates will finish the cake together. The winning team receives $10,000.Vilar Center for the Arts

Open to the public, free admissionThursday9 a.m.-5 p.m. – “Sugar Showdown” Competition Filmed by The Food Network.Four competitors will compete in a three-tiered sugar showpiece competition and must interpret the assigned theme – “The Great Outdoors” – throughout all three pieces. There will be three rounds where different elements must be incorporated into the showpiece. After each round, one competitor will be eliminated until there is one pastry chef left standing as the winner, receiving $10,000.Vilar Center for the ArtsOpen to the public, free admissionFriday11 a.m.-2 p.m. – Celebrity Chef Ski RaceSki with your favorite celebrity chef, or just watch and cheer as they come down the mountain.Tickets $200. Includes ski race and post-race luncheon at the Beaver Creek Chophouse.

Haymeadow, Beaver Creek Mountain4 p.m.-6 p.m. – Wine Tasting featuring Antinori WinesTickets $90.Vue at the Park Hyatt Resort and Spa in Beaver Creek6-10 p.m. – Master Chef ChallengeVilar Center for the ArtsGuest chefs and Beaver Creek’s finest foodies go head to head in three rounds of culinary competition. This fast-paced, high-energy contest challenges three sets of chefs with mystery ingredients to create dishes in 20 minutes. Round 1: Amateurs – Steve Pope and Geordy Ogden versus Barbara Kelley and Daniel Joly; Round 2: Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin, (NY) versus Kerry Simon, Simon and Kitchen (Las Vegas); Round 3: Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger (Wellesley, MA) versus Laurent Tourondel, BLT Steak (New York).Open to the public, free admission.Saturday

4 p.m.-6 p.m. – Vodka Tasting SeminarFeaturing Grey Goose Vodka.Tickets $90. Limited to 15 participants.Golden Eagle Restaurant in Beaver Creek7:30-10 p.m. -Grand TastingVisit with the star chefs, and eat and drink all night. Guest chefs and Beaver Creek chefs will be on hand to serve up their specialty dishes. Wines selected by Bon Appetit magazine, live entertainment and culinary demonstrations will also be on tap.Tickets $95. Village Hall at the Park Hyatt Beaver CreekTickets can be purchased from the Vilar Center Box Office in Beaver Creek. Call (888) 920-2787 or 845-8497 for more information.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14640, or cpence@vaildaily.com.

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