Vail Today: Celebrity chefs please palates at Grand Tasting (video) |

Vail Today: Celebrity chefs please palates at Grand Tasting (video)

Carla Hall, of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and ABC’s “The Chew," left, talks with Vail Today's Tricia Swenson at the Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend Grand Tasting event.
Austin Day | Special to the Daily |

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With a “hootie hoo” and a little bit of love, Carla Hall, a “Top Chef” contender and co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” earned more fans on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Grand Tasting, a signature event of the Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend.

Hall pleased the crowds by taking selfies with them and signing autographs. She also pleased the palate with her ground-nut stew, which is a traditional West African-influenced chop soup with sweet potatoes, peppers and beans with hints of ginger and cumin.

The casual atmosphere at the Grand Tasting gives foodies the opportunity to ask the celebrity chefs all sorts of questions regarding things in and out of the kitchen. When asked if she could ski, Hall listed off the other sports that she does, from rollerblading to water skiing, and figured she’d be pretty good at the sport of snow skiing, too.

This year, a few celebrity chefs from outside the United States were in attendance. Maycoll Calderon, who’s lived in nine countries and he’s not even 35 years old, shared a bit of his Latin flare on fare by making fresh tuna tartare with jalapeno emulsion, avocado and radishes. Currently, Calderon is chef and owner of Huset Cocina de Campo in Mexico City.

Tobie Puttock came all the way from Australia and wowed the crowd with fungi ragu with oozy polenta. Andre Delaine traveled from Australia to assist Puttock in the kitchen and said they were excited to ski. “We even based some dish choices on preparation time so we could have time to enjoy the slopes,” Delaine said.

Whites, reds and bubbles, along with specialty beer, vodka, whiskey and tequila, helped wash down the tasty bites. Patron was serving up samples of Gran Patron Burdeos, which rings up at $499 per bottle.

The celebrity chefs pair up with several of the Beaver Creek chefs to provide a four-day food and wine festival that is unique because of its slopeside location. Don’t miss next year’s event, held in late January.