Promiscuous Palate: The Food & Wine Classic returns to Snowmass

Steve Alldredge
Special to the Sun
Courtesy photo

Thirty-one years ago, the Aspen Food & Wine Classic started in Snowmass Village. On June 14, the Viceroy Resort and Residences hosted Promiscuous Palate, a poolside party for 200 with culinary treats prepared by four chefs from season eight of “Food Network Star.”

“The Food & Wine Classic is one of our favorite events at the Viceroy Snowmass Resort and Residences for guests and residential owners,” said Leticia Hanke, marketing director for the Viceroy Snowmass Residences. “Our slopeside pool and cabanas are the perfect setting to showcase new food and spirit trends, and Food Network Stars, such as Josh Lyons and Linkie Marais, are the perfect lifestyle experts to showcase what the Viceroy Snowmass has to offer.”

Chef Malcolm Mitchell, from the Mint Gastro Pub in Richmond, Va., was the primary chef host for the evening, preparing five dishes for the event: Maryland-style crab cakes with a spicy remoulade, rainbow beet salad with sweet onion champagne vinaigrette and grapefruit oil, New Zealand baby lamb chops with a mint rosemary merlot sauce, Mediterranean flatbread pizza, and Don Julio tequila short rib tacos.

While I am not a lover of beets, these meaty heirloom versions captured the richness of the vegetable in a hint of a tasty vinaigrette. The crab cakes with the remoulade had just the right amount of spice, while the servers couldn’t keep the lamb chops from disappearing too quickly from their platter.

“The Viceroy was amazing from the front desk to all of the chefs,” Mitchell said. “Everyone was very accommodating, and the food and beverage staff was on point. I really appreciate the Viceroy, Related and my best supporters, US Foods, for hosting this event. Cheers!”

Under the crystal-clear Colorado sky, attendees mingled around the Viceroy pool and cabanas, listening to the beat of the DJ, tasting the many food treats and sipping drinks prepared by “Food Network Star” mixologist Nikki Martin-Heapes. Her spirit inspirations included the Right Bank, made from Don Julio tequila and St. Germain, and the Aspen Spritz, a mixture of sake, Aperol and ginger beer. She also made a spicy margarita that had just the right amount of heat and tang.

Two other Food Network Stars added their culinary specialties to the evening.

Josh Lyons spent years in a rock ’n’ roll band and is now a sushi chef and restaurant consultant in Jupiter, Fla. Lyons created a wrecked sushi apple pie and seared tuna watermelon salad with avocado dressing. And pastry chef Linkie Marais prepared a lamb crostini with apricot rosemary chutney.

The Food Network Stars evening benefited Snowmass Village-based Challenge Aspen, as $1,350 was raised for its many year-round programs.

“After 18 years in Snowmass, we at Challenge Aspen are so thankful for the continued support of our local community,” said Jay Israel, event sales and sponsorships director for Challenge Aspen. “We truly appreciated being a part of the Food Network event hosted by the Viceroy during Food & Wine. The monies raised will allow us to bring two families for a week to experience Challenge Aspen and Snowmass.”

As the evening wrapped up, the Food Network Stars vowed to return to Snowmass next year. It’s only fitting. Snowmass Village created what has become one of the most notable food events around the world. Now, the world’s finest chefs and purveyors of fine spirits return to where it all started.

Steve Alldredge is the former associate editor/reporter for the Snowmass Sun. He now runs a local communications company whose clients include Related Colorado. He can be reached at