I've been coming to the Classic for eight years, and I think it gets better each time. Here, some people who have made my weekend even more interesting:
1. Top Chef Hung Huynh and Jacques Pépin. Each year, the Culinary Institute of America sends 10 of their top students to the Classic to assist at the culinary demos. Last night, Beringer sponsored a party in their honor, and Jacques Pépin gave an inspiring speech, reminding the students chefs (or baby chefs, as we sometimes call them) to stick to their craft (and not aspire to TV fame), hone their skills, and say nothing more than "Yes, chef" for the next six or seven years they'll be training in professional kitchens. Hung, who was standing in front of me, nodded his head emphatically the entire time, and when it was over, he turned to his companion and said, "He's so good!" It's nice to see that TV fame hasn't diminished his respect for his craft in any way at all.