Taste of Vail: A bit of charity for the stomach
VAIL, Colorado – The ravioli tasted like it had just been rolled through the pasta maker – so fresh and soft, it tasted like we had stepped foot into Italy, not into a ballroom in Vail.
The Celebrity Chef Charity Dinner and Live Auction on Friday night at the Lodge at Vail featured five chefs doing what they love, and the flavors that came through in their dishes made the experience feel like it was charity for the tongues of everyone who got to taste it.
The event raised thousands of dollars by selling wine, from magnums of wine to cases of wine to wine dinners to private winery tours – the night was as much about wine as it was about the five dinner courses.
Now, back to that ravioli, the creation of Jennifer Jasinski, the chef at Denver’s Rioja. Jasinski served a healthy portion of spring-pea ravioli with morel mushrooms, sweet garlic cream and English peas. The textures were perfect, and peas popped with flavor, complementing the perfectly fresh pasta. It was just the first course, and it did its job of getting me salivating for more.
Course two featured a delicate lobster clam chowder, which was a play on the traditional New England-style dish. Frank McClelland, of Boston’s L’espalier, cooked a perfect lobster that he served with one clam in the shell. The fish sat in a delicious, creamy broth that didn’t overpower it – it was heaven.
Rahm Fama, chef at the Wildflower in the Lodge at Vail, took on course number three – a mixed grill of “four story hills” peking duck. It featured a roast leg, leg confit and a spiced sausage foie gras potato, all served on a strawberry jalapeno sauce. It was a powerful medley of flavors that just worked.
Sondra Berstein, of Sonoma’s girl and the fig restaurant, brought out course four – a pancetta-wrapped lamb loin with spring vegetable ragout and chickpea fries with lamb jus. If it was served any earlier than course four, people may have been licking their plates, but bellies were beginning to fill up fast.
The finale – Michele Huyke, of Rimini Gelato in Vail and Beaver Creek, brought out a salted caramel opera cake with dark-chocolate and hazelnut foam. She served a scoop of her famous gelato on the side – the perfect ending to a perfect evening.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at email@example.com, or 970-748-2983.