~The 26th Annual Food and Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, CO was a weekend revolving around three of my favorite things; delicious food, great wine, and good company. Who could ask for better company than culinary and wine experts like Jose Andres,Bobby Flay, Danny Meyer, Michelle Bernstein, Masaharu Morimoto, Jacques Pepin-(just to name a few)?! The weekend was comprised of over 95 cooking and wine seminars, a Grand tasting Pavilion that held over 50,000 bottles of wine, the 2008 F&W Best New Chef’s Dinner, and of course, the Classic Cook-Off.~
Nine-thousand feet above sea level, armored in aprons, two teams stepped up to the cutting board ready for battle. In what has become an annual tradition, the Classic Cook-Off is a culinary showdown where two chef’s skills and creativity are put to the test in a race against each other and the clock.
I was lucky to team up with the winner of Top Chef’s third season, Hung Hseih, to act as his sous chef for the cook-off. Our competitors were none other than world famous chef Jacque Pepin and his sous chef Jean Claude. There was a 20 minute time limit on the culinary combat as both teams created their dishes. Among other things, Hung and I made seared salmon topped with sautéed artichokes and Jacque cranked out three dishes including gravlox and roasted salmon with a raspberry soufflé for dessert!
In the end, it was Jacque Pepin’s team who took the title, but it was a lot of fun to meet and cook with both of these amazing and very talented chefs. I was also excited to try Jacque’s wasabi cocktail, which turned out to be sweet, spicy, and surprisingly delicious.
You know what they say- It’s not who wins the battle…it’s what they serve afterwards!!!
For more on the event check out: