The eat is on |

The eat is on

Tamara Miller

Its the Vail Valley, a snowsports enthusiasts playground and a competitors heaven.Weve got the Birds of Prey World Cup ski competition. Weve got the Honda Session for competitive snowboarders. Kayakers can vie against each other at the Teva Mountain Games. And this weekend, Beaver Creek will put some of the countrys best chefs to the test. Call it a food off. In this competition, however, the biggest winners may be in the audience. The resorts Culinary Classic pits chefs and bakers against each other in the kitchen and on the slopes. On Friday afternoon, spectators can watch celebrity chefs strap on skis for the Celebrity Chef Ski Race, and then watch them go head-to-head that night during the Master Chef Challenge. Mirabelles executive chef Daniel Joly will team up with Beaver Creek resident Barbara Kelly for the Chef Challenge. The duo will face SaddleRidges head chef, Geordy Ogden, and Vail Daily Publisher Steve Pope.Similar to the popular Iron Chef program on the Food Network, the competitors will be asked to make dishes in 20 minutes using a mystery ingredient.Joly is looking forward to the event.I think its a fun day, not a competition, Joly said. I think when you go over there, you are entertaining people.Bringing such an event to Beaver Creek will boost the resorts own reputation as a home for great chefs and great food, Joly said. This is the eighth year Beaver Creek has hosted the event, and Beaver Creek officials are touting this years line-up as one of the best ever.In the second round of the chef challenge, Chef Eric Ripert of New Yorks four-star seafood restaurant, Le Bernardin, will face Chef Kerry Simon of Las Vegas popular Simon Kitchen and Bar. The third round will pit Blue Ginger owner Ming Tsai, host of the Food Networks East Meets West, against Laurent Tourondel, the mastermind behind BLT Steak in New York.Thursdays Sugar Showdown competition will be filmed by the Food Network, and will send four competitors vying for $10,000. The task? Create a three-tiered sugar showpiece using the theme, The Great Outdoors.Saturdays Grand Tasting will introduce the public to all the star chefs, including Susan Feniger of the Food Networks The Two Hot Tamales and Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake in San Francisco, just to name a few. Beaver Creeks reputation as a world-class resort makes it a fitting location to highlight world-class cuisine, said Amy Foster Devore, the magazines associate publisher for marketing. We really just wanted to create a dynamic event that headlines some of the worlds greatest chefs in an event for the true foodie, she said.

Thursday, Feb. 29 a.m. 5 p.m.: Sugar Showdown CompetitionFour competitors will compete for $10,000.Vilar Center for the ArtsOpen to the public, free admission.Friday, Feb. 31 2 p.m.: Celebrity Chef Ski RaceCelebrity chefs will put their ski skills to the test on Beaver Creek Mountain. Tickets are $200 and include the ski race and post-race luncheon at the Beaver Creek Chophouse. 4 6 p.m.: Vodka Tasting SeminarFeaturing Grey Goose VodkaGolden Eagle RestaurantTickets are $90 and the seminar is limited to 15 participants.4 6 p.m.: Wine TastingFeaturing Antinori WinesVue at the Park Hyatt Resort & SpaTickets are $90.6 9 p.m.: Master Chef ChallengeWatch guest chefs and Beaver Creeks finest go head-to-head in three rounds of grueling culinary competition. Vilar Center for the ArtsOpen to the public, free admission.Saturday, Feb. 410 a.m. 1 p.m.: Cooking ClassChef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York will perform a hands-on cooking demonstration. Splendido RestaurantSOLD OUT7:30 10 p.m.: Grand TastingAll guest chefs and Beaver Creeks favorites will serve up their specialty dishes. Enjoy wines selected by Bon Appetit magazine, live entertainment and culinary demonstrations.Village Hall at the Park HyattTickets are $95.For tickets, call (888) 920-2787. For a complete list of participating chefs, or to book tickets online, log on to

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