Q&A with The Little Nell’s culinary director Matt Zubrod
kicking off summer
To find out about what’s in store for The Aspen Times’s 2020 Summer Kickoff Virtual Culinary weekend, go to http://www.aspentimes.com/culinaryweekend to check out the schedule and register for a virtual 5k and webinars hosted by local chefs and wine experts.
With the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen placed on the back burner until 2021, The Aspen Times has created the 2020 Summer Kickoff/Virtual Culinary Weekend to help fill the void. The Aspen Times is hosting a collection of virtual events to fill in just a bit, at a time when the town usually is welcoming chefs and sommeliers for Aspen’s annual rite of summer. The Times is hosting four Zoom webinars (as well as a virtual 5K) this coming weekend. This week, we’ll be asking some of the hosts about the industry trying to rebound from the pandemic and what this weekend of wine and food means to them.
Today, we talk with Matt Zubrod, who is the culinary director at The Little Nell and will be hosting a webinar Friday with the Nell’s wine director Chris Dunaway.
What will you miss most about the Food & Wine Weekend?
The buzz and seeing many friends I have met that weekend in years past. I have worked with some incredible talent and some egocentric jackasses.
We all have specific or special memories of Classics past. What are two or three of those for you?
1. Guest chef dinner at Dish Aspen with Steve Reynolds, Jeff Bundschu, Chris and Kathy Benziger, Ron Cooper, Bob Waggoner and Mark Monette;
2. Cooking with Jacques Pepin;
3. Working with Stefanie Izard.
What has changed in your business since we have started to reopen?
1. Wearing a mask.
2. Reinventing oneself: We just introduced Nourish by the Nell, a pick-up/delivery option from The Little Nell kitchens. All items are prepared to simply be reheated such as our premier wagyu collection, house-extruded pastas, signature sauces and more. There’s a gourmet pantry component, as well.
3. More hands-on for management, working on tighter budgets because of the unknown
How can the food and wine worlds emerge stronger from this period of time?
Hard to say, I think we all are humbled and grateful for our craft. Cooking at home is more rewarding when you put the same effort as you do while working as a chef, so I feel like there is in a renewed appreciation for cooking all around.
What has been the biggest thing the community has done to support you since all this began?
We ran a test kitchen for our Nourish by The Nell take-out kits and enjoyed the wave of appreciation and kindness on social media from the test drivers so to speak.
A civil deputy kept her job and was mandated to undergo counseling after Aspen police arrested her in July on suspicion of driving under the influence and reckless driving.
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