When I came in Aspen this year, the weather greeted me with a big smile and a warm hug, with sun shining across the flourishing green mountains. In what I believe to be redeemed on a year of cake, I was delighted to be invited back to the picturesque Colorado town to cover the 2010 Food & Wine Classic after having an incredible time in the event in 2009.
Last year, as a tiny food & wine enthusiast, I sadly made it to town only too late to take part in the opening events. This year, however, I reached my destination with tons of time to spare, refreshed and ready to indulge in my favorite food and wine. Following a superb meeting with local award-winning chef Ryan Hardy of the Little Nell’s Montagna (look for it on DB in August!) I made my way into the Food & Wine Classic’s opening reception at the gorgeous St. Regis Aspen comprising four of Bravo’s Top Chefs — last season’s winner Michael Voltaggio, brother Bryan Voltaggio, Jennifer Carroll, and Eli Kirshtein. Late to the night’s soiree after spending a little time acclimating myself to the altitude (8000 ft above sea level!) , I made sure to snag a few pics of the red carpet guests, which included Dana Cowin and Christina Grdovic of Food & Wine, Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, along with a bevy of celebrated chefs from Thomas Keller and Masaharu Morimoto to Tom Colicchio and Michel Nischan.
Much to my surprise, I bumped into Lüke San Antonio executive chef Steven McHugh who was in town to aid chef John Besh with his Tails and Ales luncheon. McHugh noted that the crawfish supplied for the luncheon had been pushed up overnight by a couple of Besh’s New Orleans employees who, surprisingly, hadn’t seen the Colorado Rockies, let alone snow (which is still atop a few local mountain peaks). It seems that the Food & Wine Classic supplies many of its visitors with one-of-a-kind memories.