Chef’s Morsels: Behind the Scenes with Aspen’s Top Chefs
February 2, 2018
Mario Hernandez: Jimmy's Bodega
Three kitchen staples: A good knife, salt, garlic
Favorite indulgences: French fries
Cuisine you wish you could master: This is very hard for me to answer. I respect all the cuisines of the world. If I had to pick one, it would be Chinese cuisine. It's one of the oldest countries in the world.
Adult beverage of choice: Bodega Margarita, rocks and salt
Can't get enough: Ceviche
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Winter warmer: Homemade soup — classic chicken noodle or potato soup
Food you daydream about: I don't dream too much about food … I'm a chef! I cook whatever I want.
Best cooking music: Andres Segovia
Food trend you wish would go away: There really isn't one that I can think of … I enjoy learning new techniques all the time — even if they are annoyingly trendy.
Chef you'd like to cook with: Francis Mallmann
I miss mom or dad's: Pollo Adobado; it's a homemade soup that my mother would make every week.
Wish I had easy access to: Worldwide travel so that I could fully experience the different cultures and techniques in person.
Sweat treat: A classic chocolate-chip cookie
Favorite Colorado ingredient: Wild mushrooms — I feel as though you can do anything with beautiful Colorado mushrooms.
Greg Van Wagner: Wine director, Jimmy's
Three kitchen staples: Japanese knives, cast iron pan, and plenty of small towels so you can reuse them instead of using paper towels to clean up.
Favorite indulgences: If there are any hard aged cheeses around me then they won't last long!
Cuisine you wish you could master: Tamagoyaki. I got to witness this omelet making technique in Japan and it's beautiful. Breakfast would never be the same.
Adult beverage of choice: Wine, of course! Spanish reds, white Burgundy, and Manzanilla Sherry are always stocked in my house.
Can't get enough: High-quality, reasonably priced red or white Burgundy.
Winter warmer: I go for the Rhone Valley of France, wines from areas such as Cornas, Cote Rotie, Hermitage.
Food you daydream about: The grilled quail at A Fuego Negro in San Sebastian; Kalamata olives if I can't have that.
Best cooking music: Phantogram, Buena Vista Social Club, Polo and Pan
Food trend you wish would go away: Hipster plating. Situations like using Mason jars for anything and everything, random wood boards, and clothespins holding food or garnishes.
Chef you'd like to cook with: Thomas Keller, no question a model of discipline and hard work over decades of time.
I miss mom or dad's: Corn on the cob from our family garden.
Wish I had easy access to: Aged wines that are readily available and reasonable in Europe but eye-wateringly expensive in the States.
Sweat treat: Gelato
Favorite Colorado ingredient: Palisade peaches
Troy Selby: 520 Grill
Three kitchen staples: Kosher salt, good olive oil, fresh herbs
Favorite indulgences: Sushi
Cuisine you wish you could master: Japanese cooking
Adult beverage of choice: O'Doul's n/a beer
Can't get enough: Mountain biking
Winter warmer: A trip to the beach
Food you daydream about: Our new house-smoked beef brisket coming soon
Best cooking music: Cooking music reggae
Food trend you wish would go away: Truffle oil French fries
Chef you'd like to cook with: Rick Bayless
I miss mom or dad's: Mom's pumpkin bread
Wish I had easy access to: Fresh Colorado elk
Sweat treat: Root beer float
Favorite Colorado ingredient: Colorado organic Angus beef
Rob Ittner: Cooking School of Aspen
Three kitchen ingredient staples: What's fresh and in season
Favorite indulgences: Getting to see world-class chefs from around the globe up close at the Cooking School of Aspen
Cuisine you wish you could master: It's about diversity and the journey — not just one food.
Adult beverage of choice: Wine
Food you daydream about: Truffle omelet
Best cooking music: Depends on the food
Chef you'd like to cook with: Alice Waters
Wish I had easy access to: Year-round fresh vegetables in backyard
Sweet treat: Chocolate soufflé
Favorite Colorado ingredient: Lamb
Vincent Bagford: Bamboo Bear
Three kitchen staples: Desire, respect and love
Favorite indulgence: So many. Here is one: a full slab dinner, salad with house dressing, baked potato and roll at Old Hickory Bar-B-Q in Dayton, Ohio, followed up with a milkshake.
Cuisine you wish you could master: I will always be a student of food and technique and never a master of a cuisine.
Adult beverage of choice: Charleston "docktail" — Bourbon, ginger, squeeze of lime and the salt of the coastal breeze.
Dish you could make in your sleep: Red sauce and pasta.
Can't get enough: Travel time!
Winter warmer: My wife's pork belly braised in coconut water, with rice.
Food you daydream about:Live, coal-roasted, whole suckling pig at Lang Nuong Nam Bo in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Best cooking music: Depends on the task. Waylon Jennings/outlaw country or any live Grateful Dead show for prep; pre-service is Rolling Stones live; and for those long, tedious prep items, classical music.
Food trend you wish would go away: 'You must meet my special dietary needs cuisine' — this trend got to go!
Chef you'd like to cook with: Marco Pierre White
I miss mom or dad's: I miss my dad's breakfast, and anything my mom cooks I miss.
Wish I had easy access to: Asian market
Sweet treat: Peanut butter chocolate homemade Buckeyes
Favorite Colorado ingredient: Clean water
Robbie Kostrba: Rustique Bistro
Three kitchen staples: Salt, pepper, onions
Favorite indulgences: Good bourbon and cigars
Cuisine you wish you could master: Thai
Adult beverage of choice: Old-school Martinez
Can't get enough: Hours in a day!
Winter warmer: Constant Comment tea spiked with bourbon
Food you daydream about: In-N-Out Double-Double Animal Style, Animal Fries, strawberry shake
Best cooking music: James Brown
Food trend you wish would go away: Foam
Chef you'd like to cook with: Julia Child
I miss: Mom's hugs and Dad's elk meat in the freezer
Wish I had easy access to: A beach and fresh coconuts
Sweet treat: Rum cake
Favorite Colorado ingredient: Love and Palisade peaches
Chris Keating: Pinecreek Cookhouse
Three kitchen staples: Butter, salt and pepper
Favorite indulgences: Seafood, life and my wife
Cuisine you wish you could master: Anything pastry
Adult beverage of choice: About four times a year I pride myself with my ability to make the most amazing Martini … home use only and I can't seem to get past two.
Can't get enough: Of my motorcycle and bicycle
Winter warmer: Take it as it comes and make the best of everyday.
Food you daydream about: Smoked black cod
Best cooking music: I find the sounds of the kitchen and the food cooking is music to my ears … everything else is a distraction.
Food trend you wish would go away: Sous Vide
Chef you'd like to cook with: Chris Lanter … again.
I miss mom or dad's: I miss Dad and see my Mom as much as I can
Wish I had easy access to: Time off
Sweat treat: Hot waffle ice cream sandwich
Favorite Colorado ingredient: Everything the Colorado farmers raise and grow! They really have stepped up locally sourced game, the customers want more of it, chefs love to cook it … the program is working!