Chef Tim Love admitted to being nervous when he took the stage on day two of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Despite his initial confession, the gregarious chef, a former contestant on Top Chef Masters, seemed at ease during his High Steaks Grilling demo under the festival’s main Cooking Tent. It was a packed house, with Love wowing the crowd with his knowledge of meat, spices, and all things BBQ.
The Texas chef, fresh from celebrating the ten-year anniversary of his Lonesome Dove Bistro – “If you know the industry, you know what a milestone that is,” – covered his favorite tips for grilling, including seasonings, cuts of meat, and preferred accompaniments. His bar-be-quing suggestions ranged from silly to serious – utilizing your grill rack for finishing your steaks, going heavy-handed with your salt and pepper, and having three things on hand: a great bottle of wine, a spray bottle of water, and a towel.
“Grilling is like sex,” he announced to the crowd with a big smile on his face. “The more you do it, the better you get.”
Between morning and afternoon demonstrations, I hit the marvelous Grand Tasting. I had only minutes to spare between appointments, but with booths featuring great food, wine, and mixers from around the world, including yummy bites from Mexico and Barbados as well as wines from one of my favorite wineries, Becker Vineyards, I certainly couldn’t pass up even a short tour of the offerings.
I only had a few minutes to peruse all the Grand Tasting booths before making my way to a kitchen tour of the Moto-fuku trade lunch preparations featuring a menu developed collaboratively by chefs David Chang and Masaharu Morimoto. I had a chance to talk with Chef Morimoto during the pre-lunch prep time about his upcoming restaurant locations in Napa and Honolulu, as well as his thoughts on sustainability and his process of restaurant development. (You can catch that interview here on Daily Blender in July.) Both chefs were very gracious about letting a few of us food journalists into the hectic kitchen during prep, but I made sure to vamoose before being scolded for being in the middle of the action.
From the Moto-fuku kitchen visits, I made my way back to the Sky Hotel for a cocktail demonstration by mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. After catching Tony’s fabulous Cocktails & Cuisine event at the 2009 Vegas Uncork’d, I’ve run into him a number of times, but haven’t had the opportunity to attend another demo. Happily, however, Tony once again brought the party with him, continuing to serve up some of the best cocktails around – the Cable Car, which he developed, and the Sunsplash. “Remember,” he explained, “when making a good cocktail, it’s always about balance.”
With the Best New Chefs dinner on my mind, I made sure to stop by the Spicy Mexican Flavors demo presented by Rick Bayless before prepping for the evening’s most anticipated event. Bayless explained the mysteries of moles for his demonstration, from varieties of peppers to the spectrum of mole colors and dishes. “Moles are much broader than just the chocolate sauce they pour over chicken,” Bayless noted while making his delish Ayocotes en Coloradito.
As the sun began to set, Food & Wine Classic guests descended on the Aspen Meadows Resort to kickoff the 2010 Best New Chefs dinner featuring ten of the top chefs from around the country. I couldn’t wait to cheer on local favorites Matt Lightner of Portland’s Castagna and Jason Stratton of Seattle’s Spinasse. Catch tomorrow’s post for all my favorite pics from the 2010 Food & Wine Best New Chefs bash!
*Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender