Food & Wine Classic in Aspen was small but mighty | Way of life


Like almost everything in 2020, Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic – the grandfather of all wine and food extravagance – has been put on hold due to the pandemic. It has been a June tradition for decades, attracting the world’s best chefs to present cooking demonstrations, classes and seminars. This year, like last year, the month of June has passed without Classic. But a mini-Classic took place from September 9 to 12. I attended four of the events over the weekend and wanted to pass on what I had learned.

“Turn everyday meals into GOAT” First let’s explain “GOAT”. Stephanie Izard owns a group of restaurants in Chicago, including her flagship product, Girl and the Goat. The word “goat” appears in the names of several of his other restaurants because “My last name, Izard, is the name of a mountain range in France and translates to goat. Goat is easier to remember than Izard, so that’s what I chose to name my restaurants.

But for the cooking demonstration, the award-winning chef – and the first woman to win Bravo’s “Top Chef” in 2008 – prepared three recipes “that reflect the way I eat at home”. During the pandemic, when her restaurants were closed, Izard was still busy cooking and trying out new ideas.

When creating a new recipe, it should have something salty (pickles), creamy (mayo), and crunchy (seeds or nuts).

“I want to experience a lot of texture and flavor in the dishes,” she said.

To that end, she launched a line of condiments called This Little Goat, described on her website as “flavorful, world-inspired dietary supplements that make even the most basic of meals unexpected and desirable.” .

For example, for the skirt steak in this demo, she used her This Little Goat Went to Korea sauce in the marinade for the beef. For her sticky rice recipe, she used her This Little Goat Went to Tokyo sauce to give it an Asian flavor.

Izard added more tips while she was cooking.

“Always use salt in desserts,” she said. “Not a lot. Just a little will enhance the flavor and bring out the sweetness.

And his favorite ingredient?

“Kewpie,” she said. “I’ve tasted every mayo you can find in the grocery store, and Kewpie’s sweetness is now my favorite.”

You can order ingredients to prepare his dishes as well as other interesting items at thislittle

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‘Designed for this moment’

Joe Flamm, winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef” season 15, opened his first restaurant, Rose Mary, in Chicago’s Fulton Market District in April. The restaurant is named after his grandmothers, Mary and Mary Rose, and the food, as well as the recipes he presented in Aspen, reflect his Italian heritage and the bold and bright flavors of Croatian cuisine, hence is from his wife’s family.

He made a corn risotto using corn broth.

First he roasted the corn to bring out its sweet flavor, then he cut the corn cob and set it aside. The ears were placed in water with plenty of butter and simmered, with a piece of cheese crust.

“Butter, corn (on the cob) and cheese work surprisingly well together,” he said. “We end up with corn broth to cook with the risotto.”

The grains have been made into a simple pickle.

“Make a sugar and vinegar marinade,” he said. “One-on-one works well to make this corn pickle relish.”

His cooking advice: “A lot of my cooking is done by seeing and feeling, and of course, tasting as you go,” he said.

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‘Good Friends Good Wines!’

Daniel Boulud is a legend in the culinary world, with a multitude of restaurants including his flagship, the two Michelin stars Daniel in New York. Ludo Lefebvre is based in Los Angeles, where he has his Trois Mec, a one Michelin star restaurant. The two have teamed up to present this cooking demonstration.

They prepared a French crab pancake, the Poulette au Saint-Amour (Coq Au Vin or roast chicken in wine); and Tarte à l’Oignon et Epoisses, an apple pie with Epoisses cheese, a strong-smelling French cheese.

The crab cake consisted of a mixture of crab and shrimp, cream and eggs, which was passed through a blender to make a creamy mousseline. All three recipes had many steps and were complicated – typical creations of great chefs. Fun to watch getting ready, but it’s probably not something I would tackle on my own.

What I took away is that when cooking with wine, an entire bottle should be gently simmered until it is reduced to half.

“This intensifies the flavor of the wine,” Boulud said.

Lefebvre announced the opening of a good French restaurant, Chez Marie – “named after my mother,” he said – in December in the food hall of Denver Milk Market, in the historic Dairy Block of the city. Now that is something to look forward to. And it will be the perfect place to sample the intricate dishes he has prepared in Aspen. The two chefs hinted at the possibility of cooking together at the Colorado site.

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“A taste of Spain in North Carolina cuisine”

Katie Button and her husband, Felix Meana, presented this demonstration, cooking together “like we do at home,” Button said. The couple own two restaurants in Asheville, NC: Cúrate Bar de Tapas and La Bodega by Cúrate.

Button honed her culinary skills in the kitchens of some of the world’s best chefs, including Ferran Adrià and José Andrés when she lived in Spain, which influenced her cooking style. She published her first cookbook, “Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen”, in 2016.

“The thing I fell in love with while living in Spain was cooking in the pantry,” Button said.

Meana replied: “In Spain you must have a good pantry.”

The menu Button and Meana prepared for the class was based on her cookbook using foods from Spain.

“The dishes we make today are cooking without heat,” Button said. “By using foods from our online store, you can prepare this menu without having to lift a finger. We did it for you.

The virtually no-bake menu included Iberian ham (the highest quality dry-cured ham from Iberian pigs), sobrasada (a raw and spicy sausage with paprika that is eaten like pate) with goat cheese on slices of toast, candied asparagus with marinated white anchovies and piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese.

Button’s tip: When you eat ham, let it sit in your mouth before you start chewing.

“You can enjoy the flavor as the meat heats up,” she said, “much like tasting chocolate.”

You can order high-quality Spanish food through the couple’s online Curate at Home company, On the site, also check out Curate Trips, which offers culinary adventures in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

Some good news for next year: The 2022 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen will resume its usual month, June 17-19. Tickets go on sale in January.

Contact the author: 636-0271

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