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Burning Mountain Festival has things heating up in New Castle this weekend

On the right day, visitors to New Castle might catch a glimpse of the steam emanating from the mountain that looms over the small, western Colorado town.

Every year in early September for nearly four decades, the town has gathered for a festival named for the underground coal seam fire that still burns deep inside the mountain, over 120 years after it began.

"It's nice we wait 'til September, the heat has gone and the dust has settled," said event coordinator Debbie Nichols with the town of New Castle.

The 46th annual Burning Mountain Festival kicks off Friday night at 5 p.m. with music, food, crafts and fun. The small town nestled along the Colorado River and Interstate 70 is also celebrating its 130th birthday.

Local band New Mamm Creek will take the stage in Burning Mountain Park first, followed by Premium Diesel, a country band out of Denver featuring New Castle native Thomas Breslin.

Food and craft vendors, face painting and bouncy houses will be on hand in the park for all to enjoy.

Saturday's events include Pyro's Maderis Madness 5K trail run at 7:30 a.m., and the Lions Club pancake and scrambled egg breakfast will have people licking their lips at 8 a.m.

At 10 a.m., the parade will get rolling down the Main Street, featuring the Westernaires, a horse-mounted precision drill organization from Golden, composed of Denver area youngsters from 9 to 19 years of age.

The annual pie-eating contest will follow the parade.

"It's always neat to watch," Nichols said.

There also will be a men's and women's log-splitting competition Saturday at Burning Mountain Park, and the classic car show will rev up at 12:30 p.m.

Locals Victoria Vasquez and Hannah Worline will start Saturday's entertainment with their singing and ukulele playing.

Also playing in the park will be the Cougar Melons, a John Mellencamp tribute band. Popular Denver band The Radio will cap off the night. The festival wraps up Sunday with a community worship service at 6:30 p.m.


Glenwood Springs resident Bob Moore’s life in the theater

Acting has been a life-long pursuit for Glenwood Springs resident Bob Moore.

"I've been acting all my life — well, at least since my sophomore year in high school," Moore said.

It all began over five decades ago in Loveland. Moore still remembers his first role in his first production.

"I played the role of Captain Corcoran in my high school's production of 'H.M.S. Pinafore,'" Moore said. "I was hooked after that."

Except for the four years that he served in the United States Marines Corps after high school and three years as the general manager of the Goldenrod showboat in St. Louis, Moore has been actively involved in acting in theaters across the state of Colorado.

"I haven't stopped since then," he said.

Moore has been involved with theaters from Golden, Breckenridge, Carbondale, Dillon, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and more.

Moore and his wife Wendy moved to Carbondale in 1998 and then to Glenwood Springs in 2005.

"My wife directs and I act, we've done well over 100 plays together," Moore said.

The performing arts is a family passion, and his daughters are both involved. The oldest is a choreographer in Los Angeles and the youngest an actress in Denver.

In June, Moore was honored by Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards with the award for outstanding supporting actor in a play. Moore received the honor for his role as Gregory Solomon in Thunder River Theatre Co.'s production of "The Price."

"It was a tremendous honor to be recognized by the state with the award," Moore said.

Established in 2006 and named for longtime Denver theater producer Henry Lowenstein, the Henry Awards honor outstanding achievements during the past season.

This is Moore's second win in the same category; he won in 2013 for his role in Lake Dillon Theatre Co.'s production of "The Sunshine Boys."

Currently playing the role of Klinglehoff in The Lake Dillon Theatre Co. production of "The Underpants," written by Steve Martin and adapted from Carl Sternheim, this latest production marks Moore's 185th full theatrical production to date.

"I'm very lucky to be associated with the Lake Dillon Theatre Co.," Moore said. "I've done 20 shows with the company over the years. It's my home away from home."

When "The Underpants" wraps up Sept. 2, Moore will head back to the valley for his next role as Senex in Glenwood Vaudeville Revue's production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," which opens Sept. 21 and runs through Oct. 28.

Moore will return to Thunder River Theatre Co. in February for the production of "Of Mice and Men," in which Moore will play the role of Candy.

Moore has no intentions of walking away from the stage in the near future.

"As long as the roles come available," Moore said. "It's always been a big part of my life, I'd like to keep at it for a while."

Carbondale’s ‘Our Town One Table’ returns Sunday

Fourth Street will be filled with great food and conversation as the town of Carbondale hosts the fourth annual Our Town One Table on Sunday.

"It's a community event, its like a potluck at each table," said Jamie Wall, event coordinator with the town of Carbondale.

This year's participants have reserved 113 tables and Wall is expecting more than 1,000 people at this year's potluck.

"There will be a giant perimeter of tables, with a community table in the middle," Wall said.

Each table is responsible for bringing their own beverages, plates, utensils and chairs. Each person also must bring a dish that serves six to eight people to share with the table. This year's theme is "the world is coming to Carbondale."

"Some people go all out decorating their table," Wall said.

Fourth Street will be closed between Main Street and Euclid Avenue to make room for all the tables and people.

New this year, participants are allowed to check-in at 4 p.m. and pick their table. In previous years your table was selected for you. Dinner begins at 6 p.m.

Although reservations are closed for tables, there will be community tables in the center, which latecomers can reserve a spot at.

For more information on the potluck go to ourtown1table.weebly.com or call 970-510-1214.

Keller Williams and the Hillbenders bring PettyGrass to Belly Up Aspen

Three years back, at his annual ASPCA benefit in his hometown of Fredricksburg, Virginia, the virtuosic guitarist and adventurous bandleader Keller Williams put together a set of bluegrass-infused Tom Petty covers. He dubbed the event "PettyGrass."

When Petty died unexpectedly last fall, Williams dug into his practice session recordings from the festival and released them as a tribute to the rock legend.

Now he's taking PettyGrass on the road, with the Missouri-based bluegrass outfit The Hillbenders, with a tour that comes to Belly Up Aspen on Friday, July 6.

"Petty is one of those guys where I never had a Petty record, but I could sing 15 of his hits front to back, because I grew up listening to the radio," Williams told me in March, when he came through Aspen with Martin Sexton. "I think this project is going to be very special and positive — a sing-along type of act that people are going to dig."

Best-known for his inventive live performances using loop pedals to craft intricate orchestrations, Williams — as Aspen fans well know, as he comes through town seasonally — can also lead a mean jam band or, as with this project, a bluegrass crew.

When The Hillbenders heard his tribute songs to Petty, they reached out to Williams about a collaboration and he jumped at the chance to bring PettyGrass to the masses.

"When he died, we revisited all those old practice voice memos and released them," Williams said. "The Hillbenders picked up on it. They're also big Petty fans, not afraid to do cover songs, and give great attention of detail to music in general when they play."

If anybody's going to do something new with a cover-song tribute show, it's Keller Williams. This spring Sexton described him as "one of the most creative people I know and one of the biggest fans of music that I've ever met."

Williams has released at least one album a year since 1999 — always exploring far-flung new terrain as an artist. Last year he released "Raw," his first solo all-acoustic guitar record, and "Sync," an acoustic dance record with his four-piece progressive jazz band KWahtro. He's done an all-bass record and one with the funk band More Than a Little, another with the Travelin' McCourys.

A one-time Boulder resident, he makes his way through Colorado and into the mountains with just about every project he takes on.

"Colorado in general is a magnet for youth," he said. "It's the youth that goes to shows. So many times me and a bunch of friends are playing the same night in the same town and everybody does well, because it's a beautiful magent of music loving, open-minded, cool people. My favorite place to play is where there's open-minded, music-loving, cool people. And that's Colorado in general."


Food & Wine Classic: Heritage Fire is the little piggy growing up

"It's honest food from real farmers, put forth by passionate butchers and chefs using primal cooking techniques," says Brady Lowe, visionary founder of Cochon555's national competitive chef series, about Heritage Fire, the no-protein-barred, wood-fired event that's become the local darling of the Food & Wine weekend. "Together, through eating, we become stewards of the good food movement, motivate change and influence our food system from pasture to plate."

One of the primary live-fire events in the country right now, Heritage Fire, aka "Fire" if you're one of the initiated, will take over the lawn on the slopes at Snowmass Base Village for the fourth year Saturday afternoon. Beyond furthering the cause (the event is a fundraiser for Cochon555's sister charity, Piggy Bank), it's an all-in, lip-smackin', free-flowing good way to go the distance with 3,200 pounds of heritage breed meat – and all the trimmings to go with.


Whole pigs. Dry-aged beef. Duck. Octopus. Lamb. Goat. Squab. Eel. Rabbit. Oysters. Chicken. Sturgeon. Artisan cheeses. Heirloom vegetables. Disparate as these ingredients may seem, they all have one thing in common: Heritage, or heirloom, origins.

What else may show up on grills, in smokers and on spits or asados over fires lit before dawn and fanned to ideal cooking temps is anybody's guess. Chefs are known to pack their Yetis and load up trucks to haul product, ingredients, cooking utensils and other essential gadgets from as near as Aspen and as far as Houston, Chicago and Seattle.

Once it all hits the slopes, so to speak, nuanced techniques enhance the back-to-basic concept of (not to mention flavor rendered by) cooking quality meats over flame.


Fifty-plus chefs and butchers preparing heritage-breed protein translates on the plate to over 100 different dishes. Survey the crowd, keep your eye on what's passing by on plates and make sure to circle back to stands you've already hit for whatever's hot off the fire.

National chefs include Shota Nakajima of Adana in Seattle, and Houston's Manabu "Hori" Horiuchi of Kata Robata and Jean-Philippe Gaston of Izakaya in Houston.

Coming up from Denver are Steve Redzikowski of Acorn, Joshua Pollack of Rosenberg's, Bill Miner of il Porcellino, Nate Singer of Blackbelly, Daniel Asher of River & Woods, and Kelly Whitaker of Basta, to name a few.

Aspen homeboys include Jim Butchart and Andrew Helsley of Aspen Skiing Co., Kyle Wilkins of Home Team BBQ and Eddy Chaimal of Venga Venga. And a special former Snowmass chef, Will Nolan makes a return appearance from his new home as executive chef at Telluride's Hotel Madeline.


As tempting as it is to go all hog, stray from the meat for a moment now and then to forage for a sampling of craft cheese from Les Trois Petits Cochons, Yellow Door Creamery, Cello, Savile Row, La Quercia and Cypress Grove at the Cheese Experience. Go raw at the Tartare Bar. Get a hit of sweet at a Pop-Up Pie shop by Mike's Pies and Swine and Sweets, an innovative spin on dessert spotlighting notable pastry chefs working with Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. Check out the new Tromp "Hora de Familia" experience, celebrating the first Global Cochon555 event in Mexico City later this year, as well as Royal Oak's Natural Charcoal "Dirty Steak" Tomahawk Bar. And swing by the Pop-Up Butcher Demo and Silent Auction with celebrated butchers Kate Kavanaugh and Josh Curtiss of Western Daughters in Denver.


From Topo Chico sparklers to premium cocktails from Breckenridge, Buffalo Trace and other top distilleries at the Manhattan Project, El Tesoro Tequila margaritas to rosé from Chateau D'Esclans, there is a perfect pairing for every tidbit and taste. Silver Oak, Kosta Browne, Pax Wine Cellars, Sandhi, and Twomey Cellars will be pouring wines, as well.

Food & Wine Classic: Experts pour perfection from bubbles to rose

One thing you can always be sure of at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is that the wine will flow like beer.

Of course, there are a number of ways to take advantage of all that wine. You can simply make the rounds of the tents, pick up a glass and taste the offerings of the close to 300 exhibitors. You can secure golden ticket invites to any one of the many parties, or you can even book a table in a local restaurant and order your own bottle from one of the outstanding wine lists that dot the Aspen culinary landscape.

But for my money, the wine highlights for the Classic all take place in the tents and presentation venues that host the seminars. Consider that many of America's top wine experts come to pour you six tastes and teach you something about each.

Here are a few "don't miss 'em" presenters and their seminars:


Jordan Salcito, the head wine geek at Momofuku and palate behind the canned, grapefruit-tinged Sicilian spritzer RAMONA (you can try it at Of Grape and Grain in Aspen), Jordan will be throwing out the book in her "Rose without Rules" seminar. Meanwhile, Paul Chevalier, who introduced Aspen and America to the Whispering Angel at the Classic over the years, will bring the wines of Château D'Esclans in a seminar titled "The Rosé Lifestyle of Saint Tropez."


Master sommeliers seem to have a thing for bubbles, and three of the best in the MS world will be popping caps. Shayn Bjornholm, the examination director for The Court of Master Sommeliers, will pour the good stuff from the source in his "What a Year! The Best of Vintage Champagne" presentation. The Little Nell's master sommelier, Carlton McCoy, will tickle our noses with "Bring on the Bubbles," which likely will include some non-Champagne-produced sparklers. And leave it to Boulder's Bobby Stuckey to take the path least traveled and introduce us to "Great Grower Champagnes," those produced in the region by local growers.


Wine writer Kelli White literally wrote the book on Napa Valley, 1,255 pages and 12 pounds of book, titled "Napa Valley, Then and Now." Naturally, she will focus on the region with her "From the Cellar: Great Napa Valley Cabernets Over Time" seminar. You may say "Grenache," but Andy Chabot returns from Blackberry Farms to tell you it's "garnacha." Or maybe "cariñena". Or perhaps both in his "The Priorat: Amazing Reds from Spain's Ancient Vines."


While we bask here in the summer sun, the vines of the Southern Hemisphere lie dormant as the solstice approaches. But there is nothing dormant about the wines from South America that New York-based wino Paul Grieco will pour in the seminar "Discovering the Great Wines of Chile and Argentina." Staying Down Under, Ray Isle, executive wine director of Food & Wine magazine, will address "The Australian Revolution." We assume he means in wine.

Food & Wine Classic: Seminars to amp up your cooking chops

Picking favorites off the food & wine classic cooking seminar schedule is always tough.

this year, four chefs helped tenderize the task.


Seminar: Sesame and Pink Peppercorns: Fun with Spices

"Home cooks have great curiosity about spices," says Alex Guarnaschelli, about the concept behind her seminar. "There is spice to make foods spicy. And then there is spice that builds more subtle, but equally delicious, dishes. I am exploring the nuances of both.

Always ready to spice things up as executive chef at Butter in NYC and a judge on a "Chopped," Guarnaschelli is excited to make a pineapple upside-down cake enhanced by caramel and pink peppercorns in her seminar. "Pink pepper has a mild, tingling heat that links up beautifully with the floral and acidic notes of the fruit," she says. "A real crowd pleaser. Yum."


Seminar: Standing the Test of Time: Prune Classics

Fresh off winning the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef last month, Gabrielle Hamilton shares some of the classic dishes that have made her and her restaurant, Prune, something to be reckoned with since it opened in NYC's East Village nearly 20 years ago.

Post-award, sliding into a bistro table or onto a hot-pink barstool at Prune might be even more challenging than usual. Witnessing, and getting recipes for, the delicious dishes she prepares in Aspen (Cod poached in Fennel Milk, Cod Roe Puree, Cured Tomato and Fennel Salad) will potentially provide a first-hand taste at home.


Seminar: "Just Cook It!"

Justin Chapple is duly excited about the concept behind his Food & Wine seminar. "It's based off my new cookbook by the same name," he exclaims. "The book came out last week!" While that was a month ago, the exuberance he expressed at the time will surely carry over onto The St. Regis stage this week.

Culinary director of Food & Wine's test kitchen and host of the cooking series "Mad Genius Tips," Chapple's known for easy, delicious recipes for home cooks. The Yellow Gazpacho with Parsley and Smoked Almond Gremolata, Ricotta Gnudi with Spinach and Dukka, and No-Bake Cheesecake with Strawberries he'll demonstrate will deliver.


Seminar: Healthy & Delicious

One of the original "rock star" chefs (he was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine and "Sexiest Chef Alive" by People), Rocco DiSpirito has spent the past 10-plus years as a crusader for the healthy lifestyle.

While what he has up his sleeves for his seminar remains a mystery, we can make an educated guess that it may include one of the 200 mostly plant-based recipes in his new cookbook, "Rocco's Healthy & Delicious."

Food & Wine Classic: Werlin, Oldman, Sbrocco on the art of presentation

It is rare that the wine seminars at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen leave attendees wanting. I mean, how can you go wrong when there are six glasses of great wine in front of you? Not to mention info and laughs.

But there are some presenters who bring lagniappe, a little something extra, to the tents and ballrooms. So what is it that makes for a kick-ass session that sells out year after year? We asked some of the most popular presenters to share their secrets.


Laura Werlin would be popular if all she did was bring cheese. A James Beard Award winner for "The All American Cheese and Wine Book," she sources and serves samples of the best cheeses on the planet in each of her seminars. But it is her joie de vivre, naturally curly locks and summer sundresses that remind all of a summer in Provence, that pack them in for her ever popular seminars.

"The Food & Wine Classic is the ne' plus ultra of food and wine festivals in this country, so let me just say that being a presenter for all these years is a huge honor," Werlin said in a recent interview. "For that and a zillion other reasons, I really try and bring it by way of my brand of 'edutainment' — educating while entertaining." She continued, "That means tasting and pairing specially curated cheeses and wines (by me!), telling the stories of both, and weaving in all-important laughter along the way."

"But you have to stay on your feet," she adds. "You never know what's going to happen, so you have to stay one step ahead of your audience and make sure they're having a great time. My goal is for everyone to walk out of the tent feeling smarter, energized and cheery (and not just because they've consumed six wines at 8,000 feet all before lunch)."


As bold and outrageous as the wines he pours, Mark Oldman's seminars on "Wines For …," first, Millionaires, then Billionaires, and now Gazillionaires, have become among the hottest tickets at the Classic. A born showman, Oldman is also known for bringing door prizes for his audiences. "I spend many months thinking about what would be fresh and exciting for audience members," he said. "How do I give people an experience that they won't soon forget?"

Despite the titles of his seminars, and his most recent book, "How to Drink Like a Billionaire," Oldman also declares himself a "passionate proponent of drinking richly without spending extravagantly." In other words, he is all about the value.

And he knows that making a seminar work takes, well, work. "Part of my recipe is that I always start from scratch," he said. "I am forever challenging myself: How do I make the year's topics both more entertaining and more enlightening to audience members?" He continued, "I also think that standing before a tent of 200 smart, discriminating Aspen attendees is a wonderful truth teller. Unlike the books and television work I've done, you can't hide. There are no retakes or revisions. It is gloriously live — and that is exciting and motivating."

And, of course, the ultimate goal is to win over the tent. "When people come to hear you speak, you are either under-delivering or over-delivering. I am allergic to the former and addicted to the latter."


If you watch the "Today" show or live in the San Francisco Bay area, you know Leslie Sbrocco from her myriad television appearances. Tall, informative and commanding, she is the kind of wine expert who always makes you want to drink more wine. In addition to her television persona, she is a speaker at a plethora of events with expert chops and a winning way.

This past spring, at a gathering of wine writers at the Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley, Sbrocco shared some tips and techniques that she uses to ensure her presentations are worthy of 100-point scores.

"Use your voice," she extolled the audience. "It's sometimes hard for people when they are called on to speak to step up to the plate and be raucous. But the audience came to see you because you are the expert. Pick your favorite superhero and put on his or her suit."

Sbrocco also admitted that she, like many public speakers, gets nervous before a presentation. "The best thing to do to center yourself is simply to breathe. I have a routine where I take three long, deep breaths … seven seconds at a time. When I'm done I feel better and I'm ready to go."

And bounce. "Yes, bounce," she said as she began to hop on the toes of her shoes. "You can feel the energy when you are bouncing. It's a great way to get yourself ready to speak."

And finally, she uses a Sbrocco term for keeping your content tight. "Just 'Spanx It,'" she exclaimed. "Nobody wants to hear you go on and on and on. Edit yourself hard, keep the convo tight. And whatever you do, stay on time."

Good advice from the best presenters in the world of Food & Wine.

Kelly J. Hayes writes the WineInk column, which appears every Thursday in the Aspen Times Weekly.

Food & Wine Classic: Best New Chefs Class of 2018

Most awards are given for excellence based on an extended body of work. But Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs (BNC) awards are a little different. They are designed to honor and encourage those who show potential; who, in their earliest forays into the world of chefdom, exhibit the promise of creating culinary magic long into the future.

For 30 years, the magazine's editors have shown an unerring prescience in selecting chefs who would go on to make a difference in America's culinary culture. From Thomas Keller to Nancy Silverton to David Chang, they've identified stellar chefs in the infancy of their careers who would ultimately mold the landscape of cooking and hospitality. The Best New Chefs have been harbingers of what was to come.

That first class, in 1988, featured names that would become a veritable hall of fame of America's most significant chefs, each of whom created legacies in different cuisines and regions. Amazingly, to this day, nine of the 10 chefs selected in 1988 (George Germon of Il Forno died in 2015) still have involvement in the restaurant trade.

This year, the Food & Wine team traveled to the highways and byways of America to suss out the 30th class of America's Best New Chefs. They carry on a tradition that is rife with responsibility. And just think of the meals that have been served along the way. Approximately 300 chefs have been honored since the first class and, for each, the moment they learned of their inclusion, life changed.

The 30th class is largely made up of big city chefs with just one — Katianna Hong of The Charter Oak, St. Helena, California — from what could be considered be a small town. Most have worked in the kitchens of superstars like José Andrés and Jamie Bissonnette. At least three have worked in restaurants run by former BNCs (Hong with Christopher Kostow BNC 2009, Michael Gallina with Dan Barber BNC 2002, and Julia Sullivan with Thomas Keller BNC 1988). And, in what may be a record, seven of the 11 BNC's in this year's class are women.

To all of the 2018 class, congratulations. We look forward to eating with you for the next 30 years.

Kelly J. Hayes writes the WineInk column, which appears every Thursday in the Aspen Times Weekly.

Food & Wine Classic: Chefs’ 5k worth the early wakeup call

You fly in from New York on the final flight, Thursday night before the Classic begins. You meet some friends for a few celebratory pops at the hotel. You're juiced because you've registered to run the Food & Wine Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run the next morning.

It's now 6:30 a.m. Friday, and you're working on maybe three hours of sleep. It's 34 degrees and you're freezing in your running shorts and cool race tee. Over there, looking all Olympian, is Marcus Samuelsson (when does that guy ever sleep?). Stretching like a sprinter on the still frosty grass is Richard Blais (hasn't he run, like, five NYC Marathons since he got famous on "Top Chef"?). Nearby, leaner than a glass of dry Chablis, is Bobby Stuckey, the wine guy from Boulder who doubles as a marathoner.

You can't catch your breath and suddenly it occurs to you, as Emeril would say, that you kicked it up a notch. Yep, you're 8,000 feet higher than when you woke up yesterday. This is starting to seem like a bad idea.

But then the sun rises. Your face warms. The mountains glow alpine green. The crowd surges toward the start line and you get juiced all over again. You run 3.1 miles on a gorgeous morning, stride for stride with many of the most famous chefs and winemakers on Earth.

For seven years now, one of the most memorable events of the Food & Wine Classic has been the annual Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run. It takes locals and visitors alike past multimillion-dollar Victorian homes, across the raging Roaring Fork River and back up the bucolic Rio Grande Trail before the welcome finish. It sets the stage for the Classic and those who brave the course before the opening sessions get big-time bragging rights.

But beyond all that, the race is a fruitful fundraiser for Wholesome Wave.

"The Food & Wine 5K charity race is one of the highlights of the weekend," said Michel Nischan, founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization. "I'm astonished by how many chefs show up — after a long night of celebration — to run at altitude!" Over 300 people run, and the race is open to everyone, passholder or not.

"We are absolutely thrilled that proceeds support Wholesome Wave's work in providing nearly 1 million low-income Americans with produce-purchasing power," Nischan continued. "Whether through Wholesome Rx, our fruit and vegetable prescription concept, or by doubling food stamps when spent on fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and grocery retailers in the Wholesome Wave network, Food & Wine's support — and the runners' — over the years has allowed us to make fruits and vegetables possible for people struggling with urban and rural poverty in 49 states."

It is the classic way to start the Classic.

Kelly J. Hayes writes the WineInk column, which appears every Thursday in the Aspen Times Weekly.