7908 Aspen looks to local growers for supper club series

Nearby farms, Oregon winery on the menu for August event

Chef Byron Gomez of 7908 Aspen focuses while working in the kitchen.
Stonehouse Pictures/Courtesy photo

For the latest round of the 7908 Aspen Supper Club Summer Series, chef Byron Gomez looked to hyper-local growers and a West Coast winery to flavor the Aug. 15 dinner menu.

The $325 per person meal will feature ingredients from Carbondale’s Sustainable Settings and Basalt’s Colorado Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute paired with vino from Willamette Valley Wines in Oregon.

Gomez said he is “very, very extremely excited to be working (with and) highlighting local growers, local farmers, and kind of linking up also with Willamette, which is a very, very well respected winery.”

Gomez began laying the groundwork for the partnerships with local growers last year, still early in his tenure with the upscale Aspen dining venue; the chef frames his supper club menus around what produce local growers can provide at that point in the season rather than setting the menu first and then tracking down the ingredients, he said.

“As a chef, it is my responsibility to highlight what they have available,” Gomez said. “You know, many restaurants around town offer the same menu, the same options and they don’t really verge, but you know, these farmers, they work so hard that I take it upon us here at the (7908) culinary program to highlight their hard work, to to work around what they have, instead of the other way around.

“I think that just builds special bonds and I’m looking forward to put(ing) these farmers on the map for them to get more recognition than they have.”

As for the choice to pair the meal with Willamette Valley Wines, Gomez was introduced to the winemakers there during his time competing on “Top Chef: Portland” last fall. (He made it to the top six before he was eliminated; the season’s final episode aired at the beginning of July.)

“I’m a sucker for good things in life, I must say,” Gomez said; he “fell in love” with the winery’s pinot noir varieties during the filming of “Top Chef” and consulted with 7908 master sommelier Jonathan Pullis for his blessing.

Gomez said he isn’t tired of the “Top Chef” buzz yet.

“It’s just kind of riding the wave and being appreciative of how people look at you, and the support from the community has been really, really awesome,” he said.

He’ll even be joined by three other competitors from the TV series for a Sept. 23 supper club event with Goslings Rum that recently doubled its capacity to accommodate at least 70 diners, Gomez said. Reservations for that event open Aug. 23.

For more information about the supper club series, call 970-516-7908.