This year I was lucky enough to attend The Master Chef Classic at Beaver Creek, Colorado for the fifth time. So, I can definitely say from experience that it only gets better every year. This was the second year that the Grand Tasting was held at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch and it is certainly a step up from the previous years. This year the Classic was revamped. The fat was trimmed, in more ways than one. There were only 9 celebrity chefs this year and a plethora of Beaver Creek’s finest. This year I was able to move comfortably with several plates, one wine glass, a camera and many napkins in my hands. It was the perfect amount of chefs and vineyards this year. I was able to go back and enjoy seconds and thirds of my favorite dishes without ballooning to the size of a sea lion. Lighter fare overall this year.
I began with Bison. I didn’t know I was such a fan until I sampled a lovely rare, tender strip over a goat cheese tartlette from Mirabelle. With a sign proclaiming that 2010 was going to be the year of the bison, I couldn’t be more excited. I hope to see more of it in the future now that I know I crave it. I helped myself to more than one serving seeing as it was so lean of course. Anthos’ Michael Psilakis was serving up Hiramasa sashimi with garlic, olive and tomato. It was simple yet genius, exploding with vibrant flavors. Feeling that it was on the ‘healthier’ side, I passed by several times helping myself. Continuing with the lighter fare, I see that again Spago is offering its sesame miso cones, but this time they are filled with lump crab and scallions. Once again they are delicious. Joey Campanaro was back this year. He had sliced duck breast with endive, pear, foie gras and walnut pesto. The richness of the duck and foie gras was perfectly paired with the freshness of the pear and the bitterness of the endive.
I must have stood there looking lost for a minute, not knowing where to go next, when I looked to my left to see Laurent Tourondel offering me a freshly sliced strip of bacon dusted hanger steak directly off the tip of his knife. I accepted. In fact he kept it coming. I was moving on into my more gluttonous, red meat stage at this point. With that I went over to Splendido’s table. I was saving room just for this: Red wine braised oxtail with truffle-marrow custard and potato mouseline. Gasp. Oh my. It was every bit as fabulous as it sounds. I am a meat and potatoes girl at heart and with 3 or so servings of this you can stick a fork in me, because I am done.
I must make an exit. I have to at least try not to act like a total piggy. Ming Tsai is blocking my exit taking pictures with overjoyed foodies. Cat Cora is being congratulated on the great job she did hosting last night’s Iron Chef Battle. Alain Allegretti is being crowded by single women admiring his good looks, his cooking skills a side note. It has been another fantastic year at the Master Chef Classic and it has come to an end. I am fully satisfied and beyond satiated this year. I was impressed to say the least.