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Behind the Scenes

December 17, 2013

The 2014 Classic in Aspen Line-Up


The FOOD & WINE Classic never fails to draw the most talented chefs and wine experts from all over the country, but this year we’re exceptionally thrilled to have such an accomplished group coming to Aspen. From French cooking legends to Master Sommeliers to up-and-coming tastemakers and trendsetters, the Classic talent can teach attendees everything about food, wine and everything in between.



Chefs from all over the country will be taking the stage in the Rocky Mountains to teach attendees everything from what to do with a whole chicken to cast iron cooking to how to make Asian American comfort food. Classic veteran Jacques Pépin will introduce us to The World of Eggs and Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons will come together to teach us all about the Top Chef Family Meal. Renowned chefs such as José Andrés, Giada De Laurentiis, Carla Hall, Marcus Samuelsson, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon will all be bringing their culinary talent to the stage and all of the events that are part of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.



FOOD & WINE executive wine editor Ray Isle will be joined by wine experts and sommeliers from every corner of the US. From New York City sommelier, restaurant owner and Riesling enthusiast, Paul Grieco to Seattle Master Sommelier Shayn Bjornholm who will teach us all about Showstopping Champagne, this year’s wine experts are among the best in the world. With topics ranging from pairings to wine regions to particular varietals, the Classic wine seminars offer something for everyone. And if you’re partial to cocktails, Jim Meehan and Kate Krader will return to teach us a thing or two about mixed drinks and will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the FOOD & WINE Cocktail Guide.



The Classic is a unique experience that offers attendees unparalleled access to accomplished chefs and wine experts from all over the country and world. The Grand Tasting Pavilion offers cookbook signings and a chance to mingle with chefs as they stroll through the tents, and evening events are yet another chance to meet and greet all of our talented guests who ensure that the Classic in Aspen is the premiere culinary event year after year. Don’t miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime! Tickets are on sale now: www.foodandwine.com/classic.

November 17, 2013

The Classic Cook-Off

The St. Regis Ballroom set up for the Cook-Off. Photo by Allan Zepeda.

Known as the Classic Quickfire or Classic Cook-Off, the Sunday morning cooking competition held each year during the Classic has withstood the test of time and will once again round out the Classic weekend in 2014. In 2013 the Cook-Off took over the St. Regis hotel ballroom and had over 800 audience members drinking Mionetto Prosecco and voting for a winner in the head to head competition between two celebrity chefs.


2013 competitors, Andrew Zimmern and Geoffrey Zakarian, posed with host Sissy Biggers. Photo by Huge Galdones.

2013 competitors, Geoffrey Zakarian and Andrew Zimmern were asked to create a “Sunday Supper” for Cook-Off host Sissy Biggers and were each given a bag of ingredients to use that included items like potato chips, shiso and an entire rabbit. Both were assisted by surprise celebrity sous chefs, actress Allison Janney and Spazmatics bassist Don Wilkinson.


Jacques Pépin jumped on stage to help Zimmern and Zakarian with their dishes. Photo by Allan Zepeda.

Over the years countless talented chefs have competed and shown their culinary creativity on stage. From Rick Bayless and Michael Symon to Richard Blais and Bobby Flay, chefs from all over the country and world have graced the Cook-Off stage. Perhaps the most well-known and integral Cook-Off competitor is Jacques Pépin, who has competed many times and has almost always won. He can be found in the front row of the audience when he’s not battling it out on stage. Pépin jumped up on stage during the 2013 Cook-Off to help the chefs and his advice led to Andrew Zimmern’s Cook-Off winning “Merci Jacques Pépin Soufflé”.


Mario Batali and José Andrés were on hand in the front row of the audience to vote for the Cook-Off winner. Photo by Allan Zepeda.

The Classic Cook-Off tradition will continue in 2014 and it promises to be a year to remember. Stay tuned for updates on the competitors and more exciting events to come!

October 30, 2013

FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs in Aspen

The Best New Chef platform was started 25 years ago as a way to recognize talented up and coming chefs across America. Over the years the honor has gone to numerous gifted chefs who have all lived up to and surpassed their incredible potential. From Tom Colicchio in 1991 to Grant Achatz in 2002, it is clear after 25 years that the FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs set the standard in the culinary world.


Daniel Boulud visited with 2013 Best New Chefs Jason Vincent, Michael Hudman, Andy Ticer and Justin Cogley. Photo by Perry Johnson.

The 2013 Best New Chefs are no different than past generations and hail from all over the United States, including Tennessee, Minnesota and Puerto Rico. In June, these chefs brought their diverse backgrounds and cooking styles to Aspen for the Classic weekend to cook for the attendees.


2013 Best New Chef Jamie Malone plated her dish in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Photo by Allan Zepeda.

Each Best New Chef put together a dish that was served at the BNC station set up in one of the Grand Tasting Pavilion tents during one Grand Tasting session. Mission Chinese’s Danny Bowien prepared Hokkaido scallops with Genovese pesto, country ham and rye while Underbelly’s Chris Shepherd served Korean braised goat and dumplings on Friday. On Saturday it was time for Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman’s take on chicken and egg biscuits, as well as Michael Voltaggio’s egg yolk gnocchi with golden trout roe and smoked crème fraiche. Jamie Malone served a dish on Sunday made up of abalone, asparagus, bone marrow, yuzu and chili and Jose Enrique made conch and yucca brandade with avocado salad and a yucca crisp.


Best New Chef alums Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, David Chang and John Besh. Photo by Allan Zepeda.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Best New Chefs, FOOD & WINE also threw a party on Saturday night of the Classic to honor the milestone. Best New Chef alums Daniel Boulud (BNC ’88), Thomas Keller (BNC ’88), John Besh (BNC ’99) and David Chang (BNC ’06) flew in to cook at the party and personally served up their dishes to guests. While Thomas Keller dished out spectacular seafood on a bar made entirely of ice, Daniel Boulud focused on charcuterie. John Besh served Cajun grain and Chappapeela Farms ducking rice bowls and David Chang made rotisserie lamb ssäm. All four chefs served guests all night and made a speech honoring the platform and the 2013 Best New Chefs present at the party.


: Thomas Keller dedicated his speech to the 2013 class of Best New Chefs and called them “the next generation”. Photo by Allan Zepeda.

We’re already looking forward to getting to know the 2014 Best New Chefs and can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to Aspen. Stay tuned for the fantastic events we have coming at the 2014 FOOD & WINE Classic.

October 1, 2013

2013 Classic in Aspen Recap

This past June the FOOD & WINE Classic took over the beautiful town of Aspen for the 31st time, filling it with chefs, wine experts and food lovers from all over the country. From wine tastings and culinary demonstrations to Grand Tasting sessions and late night parties, the Classic is an unparalleled culinary event in a class of its own, and this year was no different.



Over 80 seminars featured chefs and wine experts like Ming Tsai, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, José Andrés, Marcus Samuelsson, Jacques Pépin, Anthony Giglio, Mark Oldman and FOOD & WINE Wine Editor Ray Isle. Attendees learned how to roll sushi, make meatballs, shuck oysters and grill beef, as well as taste wines with the country’s foremost wine experts and sommeliers. For attendees within the trade, the American Express® Restaurant Trade Program once again offered seminars and networking opportunities together with renowned chefs and business owners.



Aside from seminars and Grand Tastings, there were plenty of activities happening all weekend to keep even the most energetic guests busy. On Friday morning chefs, locals and Classic attendees set out on a 5K run through the streets of Aspen to benefit Wholesome Wave. And on Friday night guests danced up a storm at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party while drinking milkshakes made by Johnny Iuzzini in his retro Soda Shoppe.



This year also commemorated the 25th anniversary of the FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs platform and a party was hosted on Saturday night in honor of the event. Best New Chef alums, John Besh, Daniel Boulud, David Chang and Thomas Keller served up their dishes to attendees at the top of beautiful Ajax Mountain.



Where it would be impossible for most people to summarize the entire Classic experience in one short paragraph, Thomas Keller said it perfectly:

"The Classic is in a class by itself. You can't compare it to other culinary events. This is it. This is the superstar. This is the place to come. If you're going to go to one festival event, it has to be the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen."

Suffice it to say that the 2013 Classic was a hit, and our team is already working to make sure next year is another “best ever”. Now all you have to do is save the date: June 20-22, 2014.


Tickets go on sale December 4th! See you in Aspen!

May 17, 2013

Other Classic Events

With the 2013 FOOD & WINE Classic just a month away we’re getting more and more excited about all of the exciting events happening in Aspen this year. Tickets are now on sale for all of these Classic opportunities so make sure you get yours before they’re gone!


Reserve Tastings

Wine aficionados at the Classic are invited to attend a series of Reserve Wine Tastings that features rare wines and expert winemakers and sommeliers from around the world. From legendary rioja vintages to superstar winemakers, the Reserve Tastings present attendees with an unparalleled range of exclusive wines and speakers. Moderated and hosted by FOOD & WINE’s Wine Editor, Ray Isle and wine experts Richard Betts and Antonio Galloni, the Reserve Tastings at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime wine tasting experience.


Last Bite Dessert Bash

For guests with a sweet tooth, the Last Bite Dessert Bash will fulfill their every sugar-coated dream. Hosted by FOOD & WINE’S own Gail Simmons, judge of Bravo’s Top Chef, and featuring Johnny Iuzzini, this show stopping party will be a celebration of decadence, featuring a never-ending spread of desserts, including buttercream-frosted cakes, pastries, meringues, parfaits, petit fours, tarts and galettes. The Last Bite Dessert Bash is the perfect opportunity for guests to mix and mingle with the chefs and indulge their dessert fantasies.


25th Anniversary of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs

Celebrate 25 years of FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs while mingling with your favorite award winners from the past and present. FOOD & WINE’s long-standing tradition of recognizing great chefs early in their careers has included many of the greatest chefs in the country. Culinary talents and alumni Best New Chefs including John Besh, David Chang and more will be featuring signature dishes at this celebration at the top of the spectacular Aspen Mountain.


Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run

Classic attendees and Aspen locals looking for a fun, energetic way to raise money for a good cause should join their favorite Classic talent at the Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run. Jog with celebrity chefs and wine experts through the city streets and parks of Aspen, while raising money for Wholesome Wave. So lace up your running shoes and prepare to take in the beautiful Aspen scenery as you run or walk for a great cause!

March 15, 2013

35th Anniversary

This month marks FOOD & WINE’S 35th Anniversary! Looking back on the magazine’s past 35 years, editor in chief Dana Cowin remembered some of her defining moments at FOOD & WINE. She recalled the Publisher’s Party held during the 2005 Classic in Aspen at the top of Ajax Mountain. It was her 10th anniversary as editor in chief and the FOOD & WINE team celebrated with a 5-foot tall cake. But the real surprise came when chefs Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud popped out of the top!


Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, Marcella Hazan and Jean-Georges Vongerichten are all alumni of the Classic in Aspen and have served as contributors and editors of FOOD & WINE over the years. Pépin and Vongerichten continue to provide their expertise in our issues. In 1996, Hazan, Child and Pépin gave cooking demonstrations at the Classic in Aspen. Julia Child reprised her seminar entitled The Way to Cook, encapsulating her fervor and commitment to cooking great food. Marcella Hazan, America’s Italian Cuisine Ambassador, wowed the audience with her Beyond Calamari: What to do with Squid seminar. Jacques Pépin showcased New Classics from Jacques Pépin’s Table.


This year, we welcome back our beloved veteran Jacques Pépin to take us through fool-proof culinary techniques that can save a dinner disaster as well as create a restaurant quality meal in his seminar Techniques to Create a Great Meal. This will be Jacques’ 29th year at the Classic in Aspen!


We look forward to another 35 amazing years of FOOD & WINE Magazine!


January 7, 2013

2013 Classic Highlights: Chefs, Seminars & Exciting Events

With tickets now on sale for the 2013 FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, we are more excited than ever for this year’s lineup!


Recent Top Chef: Masters winner, Chris Cosentino, will teach us how to make sausage at home! His offal-loving nature is sure to make this seminar supremely educational and delicious. Mario Batali and Marcus Samuelsson will dig into their roots with their respective seminars: Sicilian Summer Supper and Meatball Master! And our favorite Top Chef duo, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, will take on the leftover challenge: Tom will cook a top notch restaurant dish and from the leftovers Gail will create an equally delicious meal to be enjoyed the following day. And that’s just to name a few! Hungry yet?


Representing the second half of our moniker, Danny Meyer, Josh Wesson, Kate Krader and Richard Betts will be on-hand to educate your palette. Danny Meyer and John Ragan will debunk the idea that tacos are a beer-only food by showing us how to pair different spices and flavor profiles with comprehensive wines. Josh Wesson will take on the charcuterie board while decoding the best wines to drink in Porktastic Pours. Kate Krader and Jim Meehan will shake up some cocktails and will show you how to properly use your bar gadgets. Richard Betts will host The Ultimate Blind Wine Tasting, where he will discuss the importance of thinking of wine as a pantry staple.


This year we will be bringing back the 5K Charity Run benefitting Wholesome Wave, where Classic attendees and active Aspen locals will have the opportunity to run or walk with their favorite celebrity chefs and Classic talent. The popular Last Bite Dessert Party will also return for a second helping of sweets, celebrity chefs and dancing! Tickets for both events will be available later in the year, so be sure to check back for updates!


If you are ready to join the party in 2013, click here to reserve your passes now! See you in Aspen!


December 5, 2012

2012 5K Charity Run

The 2012 30th Anniversary of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen kicked-off with an early morning 5K Charity Run benefitting Wholesome Wave, hosted by celebrity Chef Bobby Flay. Classic attendees and active Aspen locals had the opportunity to run or walk to benefit charity with their favorite celebrity chefs and Classic talent.



The course took participants through many scenic views of Aspen. After crossing the finish line, runners and walkers were treated to back massages and then refueled with water and fruit. The 5K run was a great addition to the line-up of Classic activities!


October 12, 2012

2012 Classic in Aspen Recap

From June 15 to 17, 2012, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen celebrated its 30th anniversary as the premiere culinary event of its kind, gathering 5,000 attendees, renowned chefs, winemakers and spirit experts. Guests were provided an unparalled experience through a range of wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, seminars, Grand Tasting sessions and more.



Throughout the weekend, guests enjoyed over 80 cooking demonstrations and wine tastings, led by experts such as: Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Tom Colicchio, Michael Chiarello, Jacques Pépin, Paul Grieco, Anthony Giglio and FOOD & WINE Wine Editor Ray Isle. For those in the industry, the American Express® Restaurant Trade Program offered educational and networking opportunities through an elite group of noteworthy chefs, restaurateurs and business leaders.


For the first time ever, FOOD & WINE kicked off the weekend with a 5K Charity Run benefitting Wholesome Wave, hosted by celebrity Chef Bobby Flay. The run was held on Friday morning, providing Classic attendees and active Aspen locals the opportunity to run or walk to benefit charity with their favorite celebrity chefs and Classic talent.


FOOD & WINE pulled out all the stops for the evening events this year. On Thursday night, the Welcome Reception returned to the St. Regis, just across the hall from the newly opened Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE. A new addition to the Friday event line-up, Last Bite was a show-stopping dessert bash, hosted by Top Chef: Just Desserts’ Gail Simmons and Johnny Iuzzini. On Saturday evening, in honor of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen’s 30th anniversary, FOOD & WINE hosted a concert and party at the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, featuring Elvis Costello & The Blue Beguilers. In addition to the star-studded concert, acclaimed chefs José Andrés, Mario Batali and Michel Nischan each provided a menu of dishes enjoyed prior to the concert.


This year’s Classic in Aspen was truly one for the record books! Be sure to mark you calendars for next year’s Classic, which will be held from June 14-16, 2013. See you in Aspen!

March 22, 2012

30th Anniversary Events

One of the biggest challenges our team faces in planning the Classic in Aspen is how to make each year bigger and better than the previous. This task seemed even more daunting as we excitedly began brainstorming for our 30th anniversary celebration this milestone! Luckily, we think we have compiled quite a line-up of new and exciting events to celebrate our anniversary. So lace up your running shoes, kick your sweet tooth into gear and get ready to dance the night away in beautiful Aspen, Colorado!


5K CHARITY RUN WITH BOBBY FLAY

2012 is the 5th anniversary of FOOD & WINE’S charity initiative, Grow for Good, which supports local and sustainable agriculture. To celebrate, Bobby Flay will host a 5K Charity Run benefitting Wholesome Wave. Registration opens soon!


LATE-NIGHT DESSERT BASH

Hosted by Top Chef: Just Desserts’ Gail Simmons and featuring Johnny Iuzzini, this show-stopping party will be a celebration of decadence, featuring a never-ending spread of desserts, including buttercream-frosted cakes, pastries, meringues, parfaits, petit fours, tarts and galettes.Reserve your spot on the wait list today!


30TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY

A blowout bash featuring top talent in the music and culinary industry, FOOD & WINE is pulling out all the stops for this spectacular event at the FOOD & WINE Classic. Tickets on sale soon!


January 31, 2012

Staff Picks: Lunch in Aspen

In the days leading up to the kick-off of the Classic, before our staff begins consuming three meals a day in the form of samples from the Grand Tasting Pavilion, we enjoy grabbing a quick, delicious lunch – and eating with utensils! – around the town of Aspen.

Our healthiest choice is to join the line at the Big Wrap, where we know we can find wraps and smoothies to help us power through the afternoon. If we are more in the mood for a classic sandwich, we head to the Butcher’s Block Deli and watch the staff hand slice the cuts of meat and cheese right in front of us!

On the rare occasion that we have a few extra minutes for lunch, we indulge by enjoying lunch al fresco at Ajax Tavern. The only thing better than their cheeseburger and truffle fries is the beautiful backdrop of Aspen, Colorado!

For more of our staff recommendations around Aspen, please visit the Aspen Town Guide.


December 22, 2011

2012 Classic Talent Line-Up

Each year, our editorial team sits down to brainstorm the wish list of chefs and wine experts we want to feature at the next Classic in Aspen. This is always an overwhelming task, but the pressure was really on for 2012, when the Classic would celebrate its 30th Anniversary in Aspen! We could not fathom narrowing the invitation list, so we decided to take a new strategy: we invited everyone!

Here’s the best part – everyone said yes! That means not only will we have some of our Classic favorites, like Jacques Pépin, Mario Batali and Tim Love, but we also have Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Giada De Laurentiis joining the party! Rounding out the menu of chefs are wine experts, like: Ray Isle, Marnie Old, Paul Grieco, and Josh Wesson!

Check out our full list of Chefs & Wine Experts here and, as always, be sure to purchase your tickets early to ensure participation in your top-choice seminars!


December 5, 2011

Product Love

One of our favorite parts of the Classic in Aspen involves walking around the tents of the Grand Tasting Pavilion and discovering some of our new favorite foods, drinks and kitchen appliances. In 2011, one of our favorite discoveries came all the way from Tennessee and quickly became the star of the tents – Ole Smoky Moonshine! When we were able to stop sipping on the peach and apple pie moonshine, we loved samples of the White Lightnin’ Pickles and Apple Jack Moonshine Salsa.

When rain threatened to cancel Saturday night’s Publisher’s Party, Patrón’s Pomegranate Margarita, Blackberry Ginger and Grapefruit Hibiscus popsicles helped our staff keep calm in the most delicious way possible. Much to our relief, the rain clouds rolled out just in time, but not before we all became addicted to these frozen treats!

We can always count on KitchenAid to deliver inspiring products and this past year was no different! As part of KitchenAid’s Cook for the Cure partnership with Susan G. Komen, they introduced a new stand mixer color, Raspberry Ice, which we fell in love with at first glance.

We cannot wait to see what new products we will discover in the 2012 Grand Tasting Pavilion!

December 5, 2011

Classic Tips

We were all there at one point – attending the Classic in Aspen for the very first time, struggling to keep our heels out of the lawn at the Grand Tasting Pavilion, caught in an impromptu rain shower or overwhelmed by all of the amazing exhibitors in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. While these were all relatively minor inconveniences when looking back on an incredible weekend, we want to ensure our attendees – both new and veteran – arrive at the 30th anniversary fully prepared make it a weekend to remember, for all the right reasons! Here are some of the top suggestions, from our staff and attendees:

  • Remember: Tickets go on sale December 5, 2011. Seminars fill-up quickly, so purchase tickets well in advance to secure your desired seminars!
  • Always wear your pass: You need it to get into anything and everything.
  • Stay hydrated: The altitude and weather can quickly leave you parched.
  • One drink = two drinks: Alcohol may affect you more in Aspen.
  • Always have a camera: You never know who you will see.
  • Heels are not recommended in the courtyard: Unless you are trying to aerate the Grand Tasting Pavilion.
  • Know your chefs: By the time you ask someone, they might be gone. Chef and Wine Experts
  • Dress in layers: The weather is as lovely as it is fickle. Keep your hotel key away from your phone. Your phone will deactivate the key’s magnetic strip.
  • Wear sunscreen: Aspen is 7,908 feet closer to the sun.
  • Be ready to party the night away: Schedule time for a quick afternoon nap after your seminars and tastings.
  • Have an agenda: Enter each session of the Grand Tasting with a goal of tasting wines from a specific region.

Decemeber 5, 2011

Cocktails!

Here at FOOD & WINE our staff’s love for perfectly composed cocktails is well known. We are always dreaming up new combinations to fill our glasses, but are also quite content sipping on the classics.

If we aren’t quite sure of the proportions for the classics, we are quick to refer to this slideshow and we can always count on our resident cocktail lover, Gail Simmons, to offer some inspiring combinations. And when we have swizzled, stirred, and shaken up the perfect cocktail, Jim Meehan ensures we will be able to host the perfect cocktail party to impress our family and friends. Thirsty for even more tricks and tips? Plan on attending one of Jim’s seminars at 2012 Classic in Aspen!

Novemeber 21, 2011

Welcome!

Welcome to our newly redesigned Classic in Aspen website! We are so happy you stopped by and hope you will find the new and updated features helpful in planning your Classic experience. Reminisce over last year’s event through our photo galleries and videos and gain inside access to our talent through the Chef Q&A’s. We would love for you to learn more about our partner charity, Grow for Good, and think you will find their newly released video to be informative and inspiring. As we work towards securing our sponsors and exhibitors and finalizing our talent and seminar topics, we will continually update this site to bring you the most up-to-date information. We look forward to seeing you June 15-17, 2012 for the 30th anniversary of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen where there will be lots of new activities and events to celebrate the occasion!

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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.