Tag Archives: Vail

Cochon555 Returning to Colorado

Vail is one of 10 stops for peripatetic pork competition and tasting event

Cochon555-logoI attended the Denver visit of the first year of the COCHON 555 tour and was blown away by the butchering, the food, the wine and the restaurant biz collegiality for many of the guests were chefs or others in the local hospitality business. (Click here for my report.) Alas, the event has never returned to the Mile High City, but Vail is the third of 10 stops in 2013 — the fifth anniversary of this event that was created to promote sustainable farming in general and heritage-breed pigs in particular.

It takes place at the Four Seasons Vail on Sunday, March 10 and features five chefs, five pigs and five winemakers. The chefs — Alex Seidel of Fruition, Hose Rosenberg of Blackbelly Catering, Jason Harrison of Flame Resturant in the Four Seasons Vail, Kelly Liken of Restaurant Kelly Liken and Lon Symensma of ChoLon — are challenged to prepare a menu from the entirety of one 200-pound family-raised heritage breed of pig, nose-to-tail.Bill Greenwood of Beano’s Cabin is doing the butchering, and Julian Smith of Bol Vail is preparing a “family meal” of barbecue. el

Twenty judges who are described as “culinary luminaries” and 400 guests help decide the winning chef by voting on the “best bite of the day.”. The winner will be crowned the Prince of Porc (or presumably Princess of Porc) and will compete at Grand Cochon event at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.

New additions in 2013 — some just for VIP level guests — include the launch of a cocktail competition called “Punch Kings” featuring Breckenridge Bourbon, prepared by six local bartenders, plus the new TarTare Bar round out the exclusive VIP hour. All attendees can watch butcher demonstrations, inhale sustainable oysters, taste creative pork dishes from all the chefs, pay a visit to the Manhattan Bar or new Chupito Bar featuring Mezcals, the amazing Cheese Bar, ice-cold brew from Anchor Brewing, pork-spiked desserts and cold-brewed coffee to close out the evening. Tickets are $125 to $150 plus a $10.38 to $14.75  service charge and can be ordered online. The Four Seasons Vail has lodging for those too comatose to go elsewhere!

Elway’s Cherry Creek Hosts Vail Chefs

Cooking up Front Range interest in 2012 Vail Restaurant Month

Chefs from four top Vail restaurants came to Elway’s Cherry Creek in lowland Denver a few days ago to present a Vail Harvest Dinner to Front Range media. They were showing off their own skills in preparation and presentation but also to drum up interest in the upcoming Vail Restaurant Month.

To whet the appetites of Front Range foodies, chefs from five top Vail restaurants (Matsuhisa, Larkspur, Elway’s Vail and Sweet Basil) recently made their way to Elway’s Cherry Creek to strut their culinary stuff for local food media. The top chefs of Vail will be working their magic, with thrilling themed dining, cooking classes, parties, happy hours, wine, beer and bubbly tastings, and many more delectable special events.  Vail’s legendary restaurants will be joined by new culinary hotspots.

Those who came to Denver: Chef Brian Busker of Matsuhisa with five fabulous hors d’oeuvres. Owner Thomas Salumunovich and recently appointed exeuctive chef Richard Hinajosa from Larkspur prepared ad exquisite first course of gnocchi, fonduta and green beans. Executive chef Shawn Cubberley of Elway’s Vail grilled a USDA prime New York strip, beautifully sided with potato, truffled pearl onions, wilted escarole and crème fraîche. The dessert course by Sweet Basil pastry chef Amy Andrews was a complex creation whose main component was single-estate dark chocolate cake and mascarpone mousse.

What to Expect

While other communities schedule Restaurant Weeks, Vail has declared Monday, September through Sunday, October 14 to be Vail Restaurant Month. This imaginative concept is subdivided into weekly themes that each participating restaurant can interpret in its own unique way. Check the calendar for details, but below are the highlights.

Week One, September 17 to 23, is “Market to Table Week,” celebrating the harvest bounty. Sweet Basil, for instance, puts on a three-course Chef Select menu. The second week, September 24 to 30, is “Health, Wellness and Outdoors Week.” Larkspur presents gluten-free versions of some of their signature dishes including the Larkburger; Mushroom, Rocket and Ricotta Pizza, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

During “Family Week” from October 1 to 7, restaurants prepare special children’s menus and mocktails. The Alpenrose hosts a kids’ baking class focusing on chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. Finally, Week Four, October 8 to 14, is LoveFest Week featuring couples’ activities, champagne and wine tastings, romantic cocktail hours and dinners, pampering spas and surprises from Vail’s star chefs. Campo de Fiore makes no surprise of is three-course Romeo and Giulietta dinner complete with a bubble aperitivo.

Fama on Television; Wade at Vail

As Vail chef stars on the Food Network, new execuctive chef helms the Lodge at Vail

Rahm Fama

“Meet Rahm Fama. Actually, Meat Rahm Fama! A chef and meat nerd originally from New Mexico, Rahm combs the country for the choicest cuts. He obsesses over meat with fellow chefs, local foodies, and passionate chowhounds across the United States, making several stops in each episode to sample their meaty fare.From mounds of meatballs in New York and chicken-fried steak in Texas to loaded gourmet hotdogs in Chicago and monster beef patties in Oregon, Rahm’s carnivorous curiosities uncover the most mouth-watering meats and the side dishes that so perfectly complete them. Rated “M” for Meat, vegetarians beware.”

So proclaimed the press release I received a few weeks ago announcing a new Food Network prime-time series, “Meat & Potatoes” that  premiered on September 24 with Rahm Fama traveling the country, exploring and devouring delicious meats and their complementary side dishes, and sharing the details to viewers along the way.

There certainly aren’t a lot of people on the planet named Rahm Fama, and the one I have met was the gifted and congenial executive chef at the Lodge at Vail. A little over a year ago, I wrote about a marvelous meal at the Wildflower, the Lodge’s fine-dining restaurant, and about Chef’s mozzarella making demonstration in the Wildflower kitchen. John Mitzewich, a San Francisco chef who blogs as Food Wishes, was there too and posted a You Tube video of chef Rahm Fama and his equally marvelous mozzarella-making demonstration. Turns out that the Food Network folks saw the video, which eventually led to the “Meat & Potatoes” gig.

Paul Wade

With Fama chasing prime beef and pork belly all over the country, the Lodge at Vail naturally needed a new executive chef. Paul Wade is it, overseeing both the Cucina Rustica restaurant and the AAA Four Diamond, fine-dining Wildflower. Chef  Wade is a California wine country native with a creative, unpretentious approach to Americana style cuisine. His culinary career began with a seven-year apprenticeship in northern California.

At 25, he became the head chef at Chanterelle Restaurant in Napa, three years later, he joined the Four Seasons Wailea in Maui. He was voted one of the top 10 chefs in Hawaii and received Mobil Travel Guide Five Star and Zagat ratings. In Colorado, he worked in hotel restaurants at Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, The Peaks and Golden Door Spa in Telluride and Aspen’s Little Nell Hotel, where he was the founding chef of Montagna Restaurant and then executive chef for all of Aspen Mountain’s culinary operations. Now, the Lodge at Vail has him helming its restaurants — not the small screen, perhaps, but a worthy stage for his talents.

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