On Saturday, after a day of snowboarding instruction (peppered with a few beginner tumbles), it was time for the weekend’s pièce de résistance, the Grand Tasting. Joining my fellow press mates, as well as the hotel’s management staff and members of the Bon Appetit team, we made our way the ballroom of the spectacular Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, along with 500 fellow Classic guests, to enjoy bites and beverages from chefs, restaurants, wineries, and distillers at the evening’s main event.
In addition to guest chefs Francois Payard, Marco Canora, Joey Campanaro, Jose Garces, John Besh, and Stephanie Izard, local chefs including Daniel Joly of The Mirabelle, David Gutowski of Grouse Mountain Grill, Jay McCarthy of Beaver Creek Chophouse, and Mark Ferguson of Spago were all in attendance, passing tasty morsels and chatting it up with event attendees.
Great pours from Hess Collection, Schweiger Vineyards, and Michael David Winery, among others, were also on hand. My favorite savory dishes included an outstanding goat chili from Chef Izard, a take on the “McRib” featuring pork belly from Chef Gutowski, and a wild boar dish from Jacques Van Staden, vice president of food and beverage operations for Celebrity Cruises. Chef Payard doled out the best in dessert bites, while chef Michele Andrea Huyke offered up scoops of gelato alongside her signature cupcakes as well.
Many kudos to the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch for throwing such a marvelous bash to close out the food and wine weekend. Also of note – I was thrilled to see the use of sustainable Bambu products at the event, as well as the hotel’s co-branded, environmentally-friendly Prima water bottles.
Stay tuned to Daily Blender later this month for my exclusive interview with latest addition to Iron Chef America, Marc Forgione, as well as my coverage of the 2011 South Beach Wine & Food Festival at the end of February!
**Photo credits: Jennifer Heigl/Daily Blender