Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend satiates palates and powder hounds | SummitDaily.com

Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend satiates palates and powder hounds

Melanie Wong
Special to the Daily

In the longstanding tradition of pairing skiing with great food and drinks, Beaver Creek brings aprés ski to a new level with the Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend.

The resort's annual festival returns from Thursday through Sunday, bringing a full slate of curated aprés events, interactive cooking demonstrations, elaborate dinners and the chance for attendees to sip, bite and ski their way through a long weekend while rubbing shoulders with renowned guest and local chefs hailing from both Beaver Creek and around the globe.

As guest chef Suzanne Tracht, chef-owner at Los Angeles' Jar Restaurant, explained, there's something for everyone to enjoy at the Culinary Weekend.

"I love skiing, so I can't wait for that," she said. "I bring my chef de cuisine with me, and he loves it, but he doesn't ski. He'll sit in his room and watch the snow, then we'll go to the kitchen and cook. It's just such a pretty place to be."

This year's Winter Culinary Weekend will have an international focus, featuring chefs from as far away as Mexico and Australia. The weekend also will have special interest for fine wine, beer and spirit connoisseurs.

"We specifically focused on working with the best talent and experts in the wine, spirits and beer worlds," said Sarah Stutman, director of events and sponsorships for Beaver Creek Resort Co. "Joining us throughout the weekend are winemakers, celebrated mixologists and beer experts. This is a weekend that is focused on the festivities, as well as discovery and learning."

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Pick your party

While some longstanding favorites such as the Grand Tasting will return with a new edition, the weekend also features several new events. Some are tailored to mimic an aprés-ski gathering, while others mix in outdoor activities for those who like to earn their wine.

The new Allie's Cabin Featured Wine Dinner kicks off the festival on Thursday by bringing diners to one of the resort's on-mountain, fine dining cabins on an open-air sleigh for an evening of food by Allie's Cabin executive chef Kirk Weems, paired wines and fireworks.

And if you're torn between the slopes and the table, then several new events allow you to experience both, such as the Snowshoe & Sunset Supper at Trappers Cabin or the White Glove First Tracks experience.

White Glove First Tracks was first offered to Beaver Creek guests a few seasons ago, allowing attendees to hit the slopes in a guided tour an hour before the lifts open to the public. Now offered as part of the Culinary Weekend, guests can experience the serenity of empty runs and then finish the morning with a gourmet breakfast at Allie's Cabin prepared by Weems and guest chef Maycoll Calderon, of Mexico City's Huset restaurant.

Ron Jackson, in his first winter as executive chef at Zach's Cabin, will be hosting the Ski.Eat.Ski event with guest chef Tobie Puttock, of Melbourne, Australia's Fifteen Restaurant.

"Ski.Eat.Ski is one of the best events of the weekend because of the opportunity to explore the mountain and head in to Zach's Cabin for a gourmet lunch prepared by myself and Tobie Puttock," said Jackson, a native Coloradan who has cooked for world leaders at G8 Summits and the European Defense Minister Convention.

Likely, table talk will be more lighthearted at Zach's, as diners partake in appetizers and wine pairings.

"I'll be preparing four passed appetizers: short rib meatballs with red onion marmalade; ahi tuna sashimi with sweet chili and cucumber; garlic-roasted tomatoes with burrata and sundried olives; and porcini mushroom with fontina, cherry tomatoes, arugula and Romesco sauce," Jackson said. "(Puttock and I) have talked on the phone some about the menu, but the real fun starts when we're in the kitchen cooking."

Those looking for a more casual experience can head to new free admission events, such as the Aprés Ski Beer Garden on Friday when Beaver Creek Village becomes an outdoor beer hall for the afternoon, featuring beer and food for purchase, live music and games. Strolling Aprés on Saturday opens the village to diners with specials for food and drink with a download of the event's Wine & Dine Card.

Meeting of culinary minds

One draw of the Winter Culinary Weekend is the chance to hobnob with top chefs from around the world. The mingling is something the chefs look forward to, as well.

"You meet people from all around the country, and everyone's really happy because it's a gorgeous venue," Tracht said. "You get to collaborate with people who do the same thing as you. It's the best part — talking and seeing what everyone else is doing. As chefs, especially when you own a restaurant, you don't get out much."

Tracht is a culinary veteran behind the very popular Jar Restaurant in Los Angeles, a dining institution known as a modern-day chophouse and go-to spot for fresh seafood. The Jar turns 15 this year, and Tract, who has appeared on the "Today Show," the Food Network and on the Bravo show "Top Chef Masters," still manages to make time to be in Jar's kitchen and dining room on a regular basis. After all, hospitality has been her first love since she began cooking professionally at age 19.

"I was always very particular about food because I loved it so much. Growing up, we sat down every night as a family and ate together. We were very inspired by food," Tracht said. "I loved the hospitality industry. I loved great hotels and going to great restaurants. You have to be inspired and love what you do."

She'll be sharing that passion with Culinary Weekend attendees during a lunch cooking demonstration at Splendido at the Chateau on Saturday. Tracht will prepare an oyster stew and Jar's signature pot roast.

"After that meal, you either have to ski or take a nap," she said, laughing.

Also, don't miss her Denver lamb ribs at the Grand Tasting, marinated in a spicy tamarind barbecue sauce and served with a sweet onion salad.

"I'm excited to go and be part of the weekend," she said. "Plus, I love that kind of (winter) weather. It makes the food taste that much better."

Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend schedule

Thursday, Jan. 19

• 7 p.m. — Paired with Patron, The Metropolitan, $70

• 7 p.m. — Allie’s Cabin Featured Wine Dinner, Allie’s Cabin (new event), sold out

Friday, Jan. 20

• 7:30 to 10 a.m. — White Glove First Tracks, Centennial Express Lift and Allie’s Cabin (new event), $150

• 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Snowshoe & Gourmet Lunch, Beaver Creek Mountain and Grouse Mountain Grill at The Pines Lodge, $150

• 3 to 6 p.m. — Après Ski Beer Garden, Beaver Creek Village, pay as you go

• 6 to 10 p.m. — Guest Chef Dinner by Carla Hall, SaddleRidge, $180

• 7 to 10 p.m. — Dinner at Splendido with Guest Chef Hugh Acheson, Splendido at the Chateau, $200

• 8 to 11 p.m. — Mules & Manhattans, 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, $50

Saturday, Jan. 21

• 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Ski.Eat.Ski, Beaver Creek Mountain and Zach’s Cabin, $140; price does not include lift ticket or ski equipment

• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Cooking Demonstration & Lunch with Guest Chef Suzanne Tracht, Splendido at the Chateau, sold out

• 3 to 6 p.m. — Strolling Après, Beaver Creek Village, pay as you go

• 7 to 10 p.m. — Grand Tasting, Ford Hall at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, $175

Sunday, Jan. 22

• 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Snowshoe & Sunset Supper at Trappers Cabin, $200; price includes snowshoe equipment and passenger lift access

For event details and tickets, visit http://www.beavercreek.com/culinary.

Meet the Chefs

Beaver Creek chefs

• Brian Ackerman, executive chef and general manager, Splendido at the Chateau

• David Gutowski, executive chef, Grouse Mountain Grill at The Pines Lodge

• Ron Jackson, executive chef, Zach’s Cabin

• Adam Roth, executive chef, SaddleRidge

• Kirk Weems, executive chef, Allie’s Cabin

Guest chefs

• Hugh Acheson, judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef” (Atlanta)

• Maycoll Calderon, chef-owner, Huset Cocina de Campo, Hanky Panky (Mexico City)

• Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew” (Nashville)

• Gabriel Kreuther, chef-owner, Gabriel Kreuther (New York City)

• Tobie Pottuck, Fifteen Restaurant (Melbourne, Australia)

• Suzanne Tracht, chef-owner Jar Restaurant (Los Angeles)

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