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Step up to the Plate

Here’s what’s trending at the Food & Wine Classic (and around Aspen, too).

Chefs José Andrés, Emeril Lagasse and Andrew Zimmern

Chef José Andrés will show that there’s more than just a few ways to serve oysters.

TREND: DARING TO DIY

So you bake your own baguettes, put up a pantry full of peaches and have charcuterie curing in the garage. What’s next? Well, the concept of DIY food projects has taken a major leap of late. Brooklyn Brew Shop home-brewing kits are flying off the shelves at Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods. Fresh mozzarella takes only an hour with Zingerman’s Home Cheesemaking Kit. Even chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa has gotten into the act, offering Nobu’s Sushi Hand Roll Box complete with all the fixings, including fish, for a 10-person sushi feast (all for just $550).

Quick on the uptake, this summer’s Food & Wine Classic includes a batch of seminars intended to inspire home cooks in new directions. Can’t make it? Follow our suggestions, and sample some of the goods here in town.

Seminar: DIY Sausage with Chris Cosentino
Chris Cosentino, head-to-tail chef of Incanto (incanto.biz) and purveyor of “Tasty Salted Pig Parts” (the firm’s tagline) at Boccalone (boccalone.com), both in San Francisco, shares his sausage-making smarts—and then some.
Can’t make it? Head to Steakhouse No. 316 (steakhouse316.com) for Kathleen Crook’s Avalanche Ranch goat sausage appetizer, Eight K at the Viceroy Snowmass (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com) for Will Nolan’s housemade andouille and elk boudin blanc, or Finbarr’s Irish Pub & Kitchen (finbarrsaspen.com) for Joe Flamer’s bangers and mash.

Seminar: Sushi Rolling Party with Ming Tsai
“A sushi-rolling party is fun for everyone,” says Ming Tsai, TV personality and James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of Blue Ginger (ming.com) in Massachusetts. “Guests really get into the easily mastered process of making maki, then enjoy the result of everyone’s efforts.” As demonstrated in this seminar, you don’t have to be a pro.
Can’t make it? Pick up Tsai’s recent cookbook, Simply Ming in Your Kitchen, and you’ll be ready to roll.

TREND: OYSTERS

Seminar: Oysters 10 Ways with José Andrés
Always the innovator (his restaurant count is up to 13) and a Food & Wine Classic favorite, Andrés has his hands in all types of cuisines. Oysters pop up on his menus in many forms... smoked with apple mignonette at The Bazaar (thebazaar.‌com), and beef and Kumamoto oyster tacos at China Poblano (chinapoblano.com). Ten ways? That’s just for starters.
Can’t make it? Slurp West Coast Kumamotos or East Coast Wellfleets at Pacifica’s (pacificaaspen.com) full-fledged raw bar, or try them salt-baked off the menu. At Matsuhisa Aspen (matsuhisaaspen.com), Kumamotos come on the half shell, tempura-battered, fried or as shooters. Element 47 (element47aspen.com) in The Little Nell does justice to Duxbury Farm-raised Island Creek oysters with a classic mignonette.

TREND: GRAINS

Seminar: Great Southern Grains with Hugh Acheson
Carolina Gold rice, a staple grain used to make “slave food” like porridge in South Carolina’s antebellum days, has made a comeback. In this seminar, Hugh Acheson, Top Chef judge, chef-restaurateur and James Beard Award-winning author of A New Turn in the South, will share the story behind the grain and prepare a thoroughly modern-day dish–middlins (rice grits) with kimchee, cream, pork belly and greens.
Can’t make it? At Pyramid Bistro (pyramidbistro.com), Martin Oswald does a colorful Bhutanese red rice salad with arugula, black figs, butternut squash, hemp seeds and Meyer lemon vinaigrette, while at Ajax Tavern (ajaxtavernaspen.com), Matt O’Neill’s farro and quinoa salad with kale, Avalanche goat cheese and cider vinaigrette is a lunchtime fave.

TREND: PIGGING OUT

Grand Cochon: On Sunday of the Food & Wine Classic, the Hotel Jerome (hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com) will become pig central for the annual Grand Cochon, the finale of the Cochon555 culinary competition. Winning chefs of the 10-city event will each prepare a selection of dishes using a whole heritage pig–and compete for the title of King or Queen of Porc. It’s an oinkin’ good time—and tasty, too, for pass-holders who get to vote for the People’s Choice.
Can’t make it? Order up a bone-in Berkshire pork loin at Prospect in Hotel Jerome, barbecue pork spareribs or apple- and hickory-smoked pulled pork at Smoke Modern Barbeque (smokemodernbbq.com) in Basalt or indulgent pork belly with grits and rhubarb bacon agrodolce at Mark Fischer’s excellent new Town (facebook.com/town.carbondale) resto in Carbondale. 

And dim sum...

Seminar: Dim Sum at Home with Bizarre Foods America host Andrew Zimmern
What will your Classic seminar include?
AZ: It’s a demo of several recipes, some great storytelling and a handmade noodle lesson that will be the easiest from-scratch noodle recipe anyone has ever seen.
It’s bulletproof.
What is it about dim sum that’s so appealing?
One of the many translations from Chinese for dim sum is ‘places on the heart.’ This is Chinese comfort food, part of the great Chinese tea tradition. Remember that dim sum developed in teahouses in Southern China. Most importantly, it’s the type of easy-to-eat fare that Americans love... dumplings, rib tips, buns, barbecue… it’s become our comfort food, as well.
What will you demo? Anything bizarre?
I am going to do a hand-pulled noodle dish with braised beef, boiled dragon dumplings, perhaps some classic shrimp toast, and a cold sesame peanut sauce that is great with noodles or chicken. … I won’t be doing any possum lung fritters—doesn’t play so well in the big ballroom. That was a joke… but in all seriousness my show is about exploring culture through food, so I eat what I find in the place I go. I take what I see and eat and love, and make it accessible for the home cook. This demo is a perfect example of that. Everyone loves going out for dim sum, and I want to see people share it at home with their friends and family.