At Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE, located at the St. Regis Aspen (one of Curbed Ski's 38 Essential Hotels), a rotating roster of current and former Food & Wine magazine Best New Chefs are upping Aspen's culinary game. Each chef designs that season's menu, which is then executed by executive chef Didier Elena and his team. Besides having a bad-ass bar program (Manhattan anyone?), Chefs Club also hosts seasonal guest chef dinners and cooking demos for a steal of a deal.
Curbed Ski sat in on former A Voce (NYC) chef Missy Robbins' demo last week (she prepared a guest chef dinner too), which was held in the smallish open kitchen of the restaurant. The bar-style seating in front of the kitchen affords diners an insider view into what goes on during a dinner service. With a demo, however, it's more like drinking and dining with a friend who's a really amazing cook, in their home kitchen.
Robbins, celebrated for her modern take on Italian regional cuisine, is fresh off a trip to Italy and found inspiration in the city's cicchetti bars (think Italian tapas). After welcoming guests with Aperol Spritz cocktails and taking one for herself, the down-to-earth chef whipped up a six-course menu of rustic Venetian snackies of the most delicious sort (the Prosecco flowed once the cocktails ran dry).
The result? Speck and Robiola panini, egg-yolk-enriched salsa verde-marinated anchovies, Musetto sausage with grainy mustard, mussel and preserved cherry tomato crostini, and pesce in soar. Piles of food, useful tips on technique and sourcing, and asides about forays to a Piemontese "snail-farming village," made the $50 price tag one of the best deals in Aspen.
Guest chef dinners are $65 per person, with complimentary wine pairings for $25 (excluding tax and gratuity). Upcoming winter season events include chef Jason Franey from Canlis, Bryant Ng from The Spice Table, and Viet Pham. See the full lineup here.
-By Laurel Miller
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· Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE