I'm flying back into SFO tonight after experiencing my first, and hopefully not last, Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. With so many famous cooks all crammed into this beautiful, but very small town, the best way to describe this event would be to call it a "celebrity chef petting zoo."
By the way, I highly doubt any of the participating chefs would mind being objectified in the petting zoo analogy. In fact, I'm hoping they start using the phrase, and I get credit for coining it!
The chefs that come to Aspen for the Food & Wine Classic know the drill. Sure they're there to cook, lecture, and party with their fellow foodies, but more so they are there to be photographed with fans, asked questions, patted on the back, and told repeatedly, "you're my favorite chef!"
The food and wine were amazing, but what I will remember most about this event are all the interesting exchanges between the various participants. Ming Tsai and Jacque Pepin had a classic Smackdown, which I just blogged about on my American Food site on About.
There were Top Chef winners everywhere, and they certainly enjoyed chatting and joking with each other, as well as rubbing elbows with the cult-like fans of the show. The old guard – Jacque, Ming, Bobby, and Mario (you don't need the last names do you?), all appeared in multiple venues around the event to large adoring throngs.
I have a bunch of articles lined up to appear on About.com, so I'll be sure to post links here when those go up. In the meantime, if you would like to see a few hundred photos I shot while there, I just created a photo album with Google Picasa. The shots you see here are some of my personal favorites.
I haven't had time to write any captions yet, or remove bad and/or redundant photos, but they still may be fun to take a peak at to get a glimpse of my Food & Wine Classic experience.
I also shot a small amount of video footage with my very low resolution Flip Cam. The video you see here is a short excerpt from a very entertaining demo by Iron Chef Michael Symon called "For the Love of Pork." How was I going to miss that one?
The sound isn’t great, but you should be able to hear him relay a funny story of how Tom Colicchio help him with the subtleties of naming a dish. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more. And yes, I will be back in the kitchen soon!