This past weekend, I was invited to an incredible event that combined all of my favorite things: outdoor adventure, delicious gourmet food, and the finest wines and spirits. All of my favorite things in the beautiful setting of a luxurious ski resort, Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend was an unforgettable event.
The entire 4 day event was thoughtfully curated to heighten the senses of all of its guests. Imagine spending the day skiing, riding or snowshoeing then joining a celebrity chef for an intimate experience, and topping off the night with fine food, drinks, and music. By the end of the night, I had never felt so content. My body was moved, my soul was nourished and I felt like every part of me had been energized. If I was climbing Maslow’s hierachy of needs, I had reached self-actualization, and it felt so good to be at the top.
In addition to being an event for the senses, this culinary weekend was also an opportunity to give back to the community. A portion of the proceeds went to the Community Market, the local food bank in Vail, and Andrew Zimmern, who is not only a famous TV chef, but also a social justice advocate, made it clear that helping our local community was very important to him. It was refreshing to hear his awareness of the income disparities, not only in our community, but around the world.
Most people come to Vail and Beaver Creek with the assumption that everyone here is privileged when the reality is, there is a significant imbalance between the haves and the have nots. The standard of living in the Vail Valley can sometimes feel unsustainable for the working class who are imperative to keeping these resort towns running, and the local food bank helps alleviate the stress of living in an expensive area. I was grateful that this event highlighted the needs of our community.
Culinary Kickoff: Colorado Flavors
I had the pleasure of enjoying the first event of the weekend, the Culinary Kickoff which highlighted the best flavors of our beautiful state. The event took place in the intimate setting of the Alpine and Antlers restaurant, and although tickets were sold out, there was still enough room to roam freely around the restaurant to grab small plates from local and celebrity chefs, and drinks from various bar stations around the room. Below were some of my favorites:
Hamachi Tostada by Chef Katsuji Tanabe known from Top Chef
Restaurants: Barrio, Chicago and High Horse, Raleigh NC
Yellow Potato Bisque-Fingerling Chips, Trout Roe, Fennel Oil, Nduja by Chef Josh Niernberg
Restaurant: Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction CO
Tempura Jalapeno Popper by Chef Brother Luck known from Top Chef
Restaurants: Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling, Colorado Springs
Laws Whiskey House, Denver
Fever- Tree, London
Haykin Cider, Aurora CO (not pictured)
Synesthesia: Culinary Showcase and Concert with St. Paul & the Broken Bones, hosted by Andrew Zimmern
Synesthesia, a phenomenon where senses overlap, was the given name for the Culinary Weekend’s main event. The event was held in the beautiful Vilar Performing Arts Center where multiple rooms held the best chefs from around the country dishing out delectable bites of food. As I moved from table to table and savored the flavors of everything I ate, at every corner we found premier wines and spirits that overflowed with delicious drinks and genuine conversation. There was only 2 hours to enjoy the food and beverages, and as we roamed both floors, we realized there wasn’t enough time to enjoy everything.
When the 2 hours were up, the lights flashed and that was our cue to wrap up the tasting and enjoy the intimate concert by St. Paul & the Broken Bones. Vail Brewing Company continued serving beer throughout the night as the band from Birmingham, Alabama played music that had us dancing, swaying, and closing our eyes to their soulful sound. This was my first time experiencing Synesthesia… I had given the best food, drinks and music to all of my senses and the feeling was elation.
By far, one of the best experiences of my life. If you have a passion for the outdoors, good food, fine drinks, and the opportunity to mingle with locals and celebrity chefs, I highly recommend adding Beaver Creek Culinary Weekend to your calendar for 2021. I cannot wait for next year!!