The Big Kahuna. A four hour drive from Boulder to one of the most prestigious food events known to man with TOP CHEF Contestant / fellow Big Red F Employee Melissa Harrison in tow.
After getting the layout of the land we headed to the Welcome Reception and dished up 800 tasting cups of Colorado Corn Soup with Huitlacoche and Shrimp (click for recipe here). Then off to ‘A Wines of Spain’ with Jose Andres. Ended the night at the Magnum Party. Friday started with the Plum TV interview. Headed to ‘A Taste of South Africa’with Marcus Samuelsson. Next, a gondola ride to the top of the Mountain for the Publishers Party. The night ended with ’A Taste of Asia’ hosted by Bombay Sapphire.
Saturday kicked off with radio and video interviews followed by a book signing. Who ever knew smiling was so exhausting! 'F & W Best New Chefs’ dinner followed by a Patron Party…what a day.
Sunday, the moment of truth. Classic Quickfire Challenge called ‘The Breakfast of Champions’ in honor of Father's Day. I competed against Stephanie Izard. We drew knives to pick our sous chefs. I got Jaques Pepin and she got Ming Tsai, we both got raw deals if you ask me..hah. We had 20 minutes to prepare from a mystery pantry and the Judges were Dana Cowin, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and an audience guest who paid $15,000 to be on the tasting panel. First I made the cocktails, a Melon and; Pomegranate Martini and Jaques did Champagne and Strawberries. Next, Jaques did a lobster platter with butter sauce from the row. I made Mushroom and Cheese Tartlets and Smoked Trout Mousse with Fried Green Tomatoes. Dessert, with seconds on the clock, was a Captain Crunch Berry Surprise, lets leave it at that.
As the event wrapped up, I realized again just how lucky I am to be here among all of my hero chefs. I was fortunate enough to meet Jacques Pepin (and cook with him!!), Ming Tsai, Bobby Flay, Marcus Samulesson, Mario Batali, and on and on...... I will be back next year, without a doubt.
For more information about the FOOD & WINE classic in aspen: http://www.foodandwine.com/ext/classic/