Prepare to feast.
This week, the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour makes a stop in Vail, coinciding with the annual Taste of Vail food and wine festival. The six-course dining event will be held at Larkspur Events & Dining on Friday, April 1, and feature top talent from throughout Colorado.
Premier Denver chefs like Max MacKissock, Jennifer Jasinski, and Troy Guard will cook alongside top Vail culinarians like the Larkspur’s chef-owner Thomas Salamunovich and executive chef Paula Turner, as well as Paul Anders of Sweet Basil. As a bonus, Bryan Dayton, co-owner of Acorn, Oak at Fourteenth, and Brider, will be on hand mixing cocktails, and Mark Metzger, executive pastry chef for Boulder’s St. Julien Hotel, will treat diners to a show-stopping dessert.
With a talent pool like that, attendees can expect an exceptional evening of innovative eats. MacKissock, of LoHi’s Bar Dough, will be showcasing Snake River Farms’ pork for the dinner’s fifth course, a porchetta served alongside spring ingredients like rhubarb, green strawberries, and asparagus. “After a long winter with the same root vegetables, it’s fun to brighten things up again,” he says. “This dinner should be great for the guests to see what some truly terrific chefs from all over Colorado are excited about right now.”
Jasinski, chef and co-owner of Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, and Stoic & Genuine (and, incidentally, MacKissock’s wife), has course number two. As the James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Southwest in 2013, Jasinski has cooked at the James Beard House in New York and at numerous other JBF events around the country. “I am looking forward to being around other great chefs and learning new things from each other,” says Jasinski. She plans to serve Georges Bank sea scallops with Hudson Valley foie gras, kumquats two ways, and bok choy kimchi.
Pastry whiz Metzger once worked at Larkspur Restaurant, so the event is a bit of a homecoming for him. “I have helped friends with James Beard dinners, but this is the first for me with my name on the bill,” Metzger says. “I am really looking forward to a wonderful collaboration of amazing culinary talent.” He says the event’s sweet finale will be a play on a time-tested crowd pleaser: s’mores. Diners can expect a chocolate and graham cracker layer cake with marshmallow panna cotta and fudgesicle sorbet to finish off the evening.
Don’t sleep on tickets for this event—they’re sure to sell out.
Kim Fuller is a freelance writer based in Vail, Colorado.
If You Go: James Beard Celebrity Chef takes place Friday, April 1, 5–11 p.m.; Larkspur Events & Dining, 458 Vail Valley Dr., Vail, 970-754-8050; $195; for more information and to purchase a ticket, click here.