Food & Wine Classic in Aspen keeps it fresh |

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen keeps it fresh

Jeanne McGovernThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado
Stewart Oksenhorn/The Aspen TimesDennis McWhorter, a former Aspenite now living in Eunice, La., helps put finishing touches on the Food & Wine Classic tents in Wagner Park on Wednesday morning. The 30th annual Classic begins Friday.

ASPEN – While the name might be the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, there is far more to the three-day festival than just food and wine. And this, organizers say, is the key to the event’s continued success.”That’s 100 percent our pitch,” said Christina Grdovic, publisher of Food & Wine magazine, which puts on the Classic. “It’s not just about food and wine. It’s about all the things that go with food and wine.”Food and wine are the glue that holds it all together, but the Classic is really so much more than that.”In fact, the Food & Wine Classic – which runs Friday through Sunday at venues around Aspen – prides itself on offering the perfect blend of essential ingredients: emerging talent, celebrity chefs, educational seminars and entertaining events, to name a few.And then there’s the setting. “You can’t create a place like Aspen,” said Grdovic, who’s marking her 18th Classic this year. “There’s the mountains, the air – all those things people say about Aspen, but it’s true.”Aspen has allowed us to create an intimate event that cannot be found elsewhere.”Of course, it takes more than this to keep the Classic fresh year after year. So, for its 30th anniversary edition, the festival has upped the ante.”Thirty years is not like single digits … we have to keep pushing the envelope,” said Food & Wine spokeswoman Jill Davison. “Every year we want to freshen it up, be innovative, try new things.”Among the new offerings this year are having Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs cooking in the Grand Tasting tent, a 5K charity run with celebrity chef Bobby Flay, a benefit concert featuring Elvis Costello at the Benedict Music Tent, and hands-on seminars such as Knife Skills 101 and Butchery for Beginners.”We watch the trends, we understand what foodies want, and we try to incorporate that into the weekend,” said Grdovic. Along those same lines, and with the bigger foodie picture in mind, Food & Wine Magazine this week opened the Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen. The restaurant, which was recently remodeled as part of a massive renovation of the hotel, will feature a “unique menu of seasonally-inspired cuisine” curated by a select group of Food & Wine Best New Chefs.According to Grdovic, it is things like these that make the annual Food & Wine Classic about more than just food and wine.”Food and wine are not a trend,” she said. “Once people experience good food and wine, they don’t go back. They go further.”What the Food & Wine Class does is bring food, wine and the lifestyle together.”

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