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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Chicken Dance

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen Turns 30

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© Antonis Achilleos

© Antonis Achilleos / Coconut Chicken

Today, the 30th Food & Wine Classic in Aspen kicks off with a full day of appetizing events. The action-packed weekend includes a 5K charity run led by Bobby Flay, a late night dessert bash hosted by Gail Simmons and a 30th anniversary party with music by Elvis Costello. In between, attendees can break for comfort food like Marcus Samuelsson's fried chicken, which he will demo Friday afternoon. If you aren't at the Classic but are craving crispy fried chicken, we suggest Samuelsson's Coconut Chicken with Pickled Pepper Collards. Soaked in buttermilk, coconut milk and garlic, the chicken takes on terrific, rich flavor before being coated with panko bread crumbs and fried.

Related:
More Marcus Samuelsson Recipes
Top Chef Recipes
F&W Editors' Favorite Chicken Recipes

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Wine Wednesday

Wine Pairing Simplified

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Wine Pairing Simplified

© John Kernick

Danny Meyer shares his strategy: Go for the smile.

“With a show of hands, who thinks the Riesling was the best overall for pairing with food?” Danny Meyer asked the audience at Sauce on the Side: Wine, Wieners & the Works. During his seminar at last year’s F&W Classic in Aspen, attendees tasted a range of wines with a hot dog and several toppings to find the ideal matches. My hand shot up, and I was sure that nearly every other hand in the room would shoot up, too. Was I wrong: The Riesling got about as many votes as the Syrah and Pinot Noir. Even the Sauvignon Blanc received hefty crowd support, and I thought it’d been god-awful with just about everything. And that was exactly Meyer’s point.

 

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Insiders' Aspen

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen: Then and Now

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Insiders’ Aspen

Photographs: Alison Harris (Hazan), Percy Ramirez for Oxfam (De Laurentiis), Brad Trent (Parker), Courtesy of Paul Grieco (Grieco), Perry Johnson (Lagasse, 1990), Courtesy of Steven Freeman (Lagasse, today), Rachel Cobb (Child), Courtesy of Tom Hopkins (Pépin)

When the Food & Wine classic in Aspen launched 30 years ago, 300 people showed up. Today, more than 5,000 come: celebrity chefs, wine pros, restaurateurs, citizen foodies and—perhaps the happiest, most excited group of all—F&W editors. Our job is to run around for three days introducing the speakers and panelists at cooking demos and wine tastings; eating and drinking our way through the Grand Tasting Tent (sort of a dream wine-and-food bazaar); catching up with friends like Jacques Pépin at parties, after-parties and after-after-parties; and getting a crash course on the latest culinary trends, news and personalities to watch. Here, a window into the Classic for anyone who’s ever wanted to go:

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Restaurants

Introducing a Food & Wine Restaurant in Aspen

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Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the 30th Anniversary of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this June, the newly redesigned St. Regis Resort will debut a blockbuster concept we’re excited to announce called Chefs Club by Food & Wine, a restaurant that will serve seasonal dishes created by F&W Best New Chef alums. The super-talented line-up for the first menu includes George Mendes (2011) of Aldea in New York, Alex Seidel (2010) of Fruition in Denver, Sue Zemanick (2008) of Gautreau's in New Orleans and James Lewis (2011) of Bettola in Birmingham, Alabama. The beverage program will be curated by two of our own stars: Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle will select wine pairings for the dishes and Deputy Editor of Food & Wine Cocktails, Jim Meehan, will create signature drinks.

Even if you can’t hit up the huge festivities this summer, the project will make sure there’s a bit of F&W in Aspen all year round. In November, a new group of BNCs will take on the Fall/Winter menu.

Tickets and more info for the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

Related: Best New Chefs 2012

Aspen

Meet Bobby Flay at the F&W Classic in Aspen

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© Ngoc Minh Ngo
Honey Mustard Chicken

The next Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 15–17, 2012, will be a 30th anniversary blowout, and tickets are now on sale. Among the all-star tastings, cooking demos and chances to meet chefs—everyone from Jacques Pépin to Giada De Laurentiis—Bobby Flay will host a seminar titled “Parisian Flair, American Flavors.” Here, Flay bakes Honey Mustard Chicken as the centerpiece for a traditional Southern meal with a little French touch: Dijon mustard. He also puts fresh goat cheese in the accompanying grits.

 

Related: Food & Wine Classic in Aspen 2012 
Bobby Flay Recipes
Christmas Recipes

Aspen

Why is Michel Nischan a One-Pan Cook?

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Michel Nischan

© Bill Milne
Chef Michel Nischan.


One of my favorite parts of my job is chatting with chefs like Michel Nischan, founder of Wholesome Wave and chef at Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut. Nischan will be discussing his commitment to sustainability in the kitchen at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen next week, and he recently shared shared his smart and simple approach to eco-friendly cooking at home:

 

“I like to cook everything out of one vessel. That way, you’re minimizing dish soap, water and fuel energy—things that have a hidden impact on our environment. A good cast-iron pan is very eco-friendly because it lasts forever and uses heat very efficiently. I start by frying very thinly shaved garlic chips, then sautéing onions and kale. I scoot the kale aside and move the pan half off the heat, and then sear chicken or rabbit on the hot side of the skillet. You can do the same thing with a roasting pan: Roast something and keep adding vegetables and starches at different times throughout the process. That’s how really great cooks cooked a century ago because they only had one cooking vessel. We need to move forward by looking back. It takes longer, but my belief is if you take a little bit longer to get from start to finish, and you’re standing over one pot, smelling the food and watching it develop, it makes you hungrier and you’re more in touch with the dish when it’s finished. That’s what brings true joy to cooking.”

Farms

TEDx Manhattan: Sustainable Food…and Forks

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© Jason Houston for TEDxManhattan
Chef Michel Nischan

This past Saturday marked the first-ever TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat, a conference devoted to sustainable-food issues. The daylong series of 18-minute talks covered topics ranging from how farmers in Illinois are dealing with the environmental impact of industrial dairies to how organizations like the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger are creating amazingly productive community gardens. Elizabeth Meltz, an exuberant former cook who oversees food safety and sustainability for Mario Batali's restaurant group, talked about the challenge of educating the staff about green practices: "We can barely get them not to throw out the silverware." Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room Restaurant in Westport, Connecticut, described the efforts of his nonprofit, Wholesome Wave, to make produce accessible and affordable in poor communities. Food & Wine proudly supports Wholesome Wave, and we're raising money now with these awesome Green Passes to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this June.

Aspen

Food & Wine Classic 2010: Top Three Highlights

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© Rory Tischler
Food & Wine Classic Chefs Go Direct to Aspen

How many highlights do I have from this year’s Classic? A million. They won’t all fit here. But there were a few brand-new experiences that I hope become key to all Classics.

Private Bombardier Jet to Aspen
All I’ll say is that if you want to make the flight to Aspen one of your highlights, this is how to do it. See if Tom Colicchio, Dave Chang, Morimoto, Jacques Pépin, Joe Bastianich, Drew Nieporent  and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi can come, too. And make sure you’re open to drinking some Dom Pérignon.

Jean-Louis Chave Tasting
The legendary Rhône winemaker came to Aspen for the first time. And he brought his 2000 Hermitage Blanc and 2004 Hermitage Rouge with him (plus several other outstanding vintages). It was so extraordinary that Best New Chef 2010 Jonathon Sawyer had to be there—even though his BNC dinner was just two hours away.

Mario Batali’s Best of Ligurian Cooking/Charity Demo

So, Mario’s demos are always the best. But this year, he closed it out with an unprecedented double fund-raising event. KitchenAid auctioned off Batali-signed mixers in part for their Cook for the Cure (which supports the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation), and also for Batali’s newest cause: Help for Jose, which is raising money for his employee Jose Mendoza, who lost both his legs in a subway accident. (The good news: It’s not too late to send messages to Jose or to donate to the cause.)

Aspen

LaFrieda and Springsteen at Mario Batali’s Aspen Party

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© Melanie Dunea

I have a countdown going to Mario Batali’s T-Bones & Tequila party on June 17 at the upcoming F&W Classic in Aspen 2010 (as I write this, it’s T-minus 10 days and 2 hours, counting the MT time change). I’m especially excited because Mario just told me more details about the party, which benefits the Mario Batali Foundation to keep kids well fed, well read and well cared for. Among the crazy highlights: Mario’s business partner Joe Bastianich performing Springsteen songs with Tom Colicchio. Hurry up June 17, hurry up.

Mario says: “We will be eating killer T-bones donated by my pal Pat LaFrieda, and we will have the traditional white beans al fiasco, killer bruschetta and nontraditional Milagro tequila shots. Joe will be playing with Tom Collicchio; they’ll play some of my fave jam-band songs à la “Sugaree” by the Dead and “Rosalita” by Springsteen. Cool, right?”

Aspen

Mario's Amazing Aspen Charity Party

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Mario Batali, right, ready to party with Jose Andres.

There are two things that top my wish list for F&W’s upcoming Classic in Aspen 2010. The first is to party with Mario Batali. The second is to try and do something charitable in the middle of all the ridiculous chefs’ demos and wine tastings and general craziness. Well, Mario’s making this very easy for me this year by hosting his second annual T-Bones & Tequila party on Thursday, June 17, to benefit the Mario Batali Foundation for kids. (“I’m excited to be kicking off the Aspen Food & Wine Classic with my kick-ass party,” he says.) Basically, it’s going to be the ultimate house party, and here’s why:

1. It features some of Mario’s best Italian grilling recipes. (Maybe, just maybe, he’ll preview some dishes from his upcoming Eataly market in NYC.)
2. It’s got all kinds of tequila drinks and a tequila-tasting bar.
3. It boasts a musical performance by the inimitable Joe Bastianich, Mario’s business partner and resident wine genius.
4. It takes place at the impossible-to-get-into Two Twelve house.
5. It benefits MBF, Mario’s excellent foundation, which works to ensure that kids are well read, well fed and well cared for.

Tax-deductible tickets for Mario's excellent party are $175. They’re available at mariobatalifoundation.org or by calling 630-618-4756.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.