2011 Beaver Creek Master Chef Classic: Day 1

Early Friday morning, I joined fellow Beaver Creek Master Chef Classic guests in a breathtaking hike (both literally and figuratively) for the day’s Snowshoe Excursion and Luncheon. Along the same path as its summertime equivalent, the Walk & Wine, our adventurous snowshoe group worked up a hearty appetite descending down the mountain to the beautiful Grouse Mountain Grill for the afternoon’s featured luncheon.

Accompanied by Grouse Mountain’s executive chef, David Gutowski, guest chef Stephanie Izard, owner of Chicago’s Girl & the Goat, offered up a menu of goat-filled dishes. Izard, a Daily Blender favorite since her inaugural exclusive interview, presented a divine confit goat belly with bourbon buttered lobster, pan-roasted striped bass, and a dessert of roasted apples and whiskey fatback gelato.

Friday evening, fans were treated to an on-stage culinary competition at the Master Chef Challenge. Hosted at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Performance Center, chefs Joey Campanaro, Jose Garces, Kelly Liken, and Stephanie Izard took the stage for three rounds of quickfire cookoffs. Surprise ingredients including Kahlua liquor, chile peppers, and rabbit kept each of the chefs on their toes, as Campanaro and Izard went to head to head in the first match, Liken and Garces competed in a kitchen rematch reminiscent of their Iron Chef America battle during the second round, and finalists Campanaro and Garces met for the third bout, with Campanaro taking home the Master Chef Challenge by only one point. Judges Steven Olson, Jacques Van Staden, and Michele Andrea Huyke were tasked with choosing a winner each round while emcees Andrew Knowlton and Mary Nolan of Bon Appetit Magazine chatted up the chefs as pots and pans flew about during the competition.

Tomorrow, my wrap up of the Beaver Creek Master Chef Classic events with photos and notes from the diamond of the weekend, the Grand Tasting, hosted in the luxurious ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. (Did you catch yesterday’s coverage of the kickoff event?)

~Jennifer Heigl

*Many thanks to Vail Resorts and the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch for inviting me to cover this marvelous weekend!

**Photo credits: Photo of Andrew Knowlton, Stephanie Izard, David Gutowski by Tom Green; Additional photos by Jennifer Heigl, Daily Blender

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