Heritage Fire brings the heat to Base Village | AspenTimes.com

Heritage Fire brings the heat to Base Village

Food festival focuses on whole-animal cookery, farm-to-table ethos

Butcher Jason Nauert cuts meat at the Snowmass Heritage Fire festival on June 15, 2019.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times file photo

This is no vegan’s delight.

When Heritage Fire by Cochon555 takes over Base Village at 4 p.m. Saturday, the live-fire, whole-animal cookery festival will put thousands of pounds of food on full display with an emphasis on the farm-to-table ethos and a whole lot of meat.

The event had sold 650 tickets with “just a handful” still available by the afternoon of July 26, according to information provided via email by Brett Friedman, partner and CEO of Agency21, which produces Heritage Fire.

The festival will meet that hungry demand with an enormous supply of produce and heritage-breed proteins like pork, beef, seafood and poultry that together clock more than 2,500 pounds on the scales, according to Friedman.

Goya Foods and the Denver-based Seattle Fish Co. are two primary suppliers, but there also will be a contingent of Roaring Fork Valley providers including the Emma Cattle Co. located just outside Basalt and Shining Mountains Farm, located on Lazy Glen Open Space; other Colorado suppliers include Rock River Ranches in Commerce City and McDonald Family Farm in Brush, according to Friedman.

The local contingent of chefs includes familiar Snowmass Village figures Eddy Chimal from Venga Venga, Jason DeBacker from The Edge, Tim Ormonde from TORO at Viceroy Snowmass and Dan Foster, who has worked at a number of village restaurants over the years and will be representing Big Hoss on Saturday.

There also are quite a few Aspenites: Home Team BBQ’s Mike Rutherford, Aspen Skiing Co.’s Jim Butchart and Andrew Helsley and the The Little Nell’s Matt Zubrod, plus Roaring Fork Valley makers Mark Hardin from Field2Fork Kitchen and David Eisenson from Plosky’s Deli, both in Carbondale.

The 650-plus attendees and the chefs cooking for them should get ready to sweat come Saturday, not only from the belly-stuffing meats but from the live fire setup used to prepare some of the food.

“It’s usually hot, you can always guarantee that,” Butchart, Skico’s culinary director, said in a July 26 phone call.

He and Skico mountain division executive chef Andrew Helsley are taking a “tongue-in-cheek” approach to their meal — literally, with several variations on beef tongue and cheek.

The two are familiar with whole animal cookery as both are repeat attendees at the festival (Butchart estimates they haven’t skipped a year that Heritage Fire has run since its inception as a standalone event in 2015) and as chefs who sometimes work on that scale at Elk Camp Restaurant and at catering gigs. The style of cooking is fun but so is the camaraderie, Butchart said.

“It’s something that we always look forward to as chefs because we get to visit with a lot of past colleagues and friends that we’ve made,” Butchart said.

Chimal from Venga Venga agrees; he’s looking forward to the return of the festival that he has participated in a few times before, where he can reconnect with chefs from years past and meet new cooks as he prepares tacos al pastor for diners.

“It’s a great festival — it is one of the best (events) in Snowmass in the summertime,” Chimal said in a July 27 phone interview.

Foster, a longtime chef who’s cooking in partnership with Big Hoss, shared the praise.

“It is the best event I’ve ever been a part of,” he said on a call July 26.

Foster is planning a “forage to table” approach to his dish of chicken and mushrooms grown near where he lives in Old Snowmass, he said, taking “something that’s very local and adding it into the Heritage Fire concept.”

He’s no longer a full-time professional chef — after stints at local venues including Venga Venga and Westin Snowmass, Foster decided to become an electrician to be able to spend more time with his family — but the opportunity to cook at his favorite food event is one he couldn’t resist.

“This is one event that I just can’t miss even though I’m not cooking,” Foster said.

For more information, visit bit.ly/heritagefire.