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Opening day at Aspen Food & Wine Classic

By Dave Buchanan

It’s getting late in Aspen but there’s always something to write about.
The first night crowds at the 28th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen were begging for more from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio (The Dining Room, Pasadena, Cal.) and from José Andrés (famed for, among so many other things, cafe atlantico and bringing the Spanish concept of small plate dining) but for such different reasons.

Voltaggio, a very modernistic chef who uses molecular chemistry and large canisters of liquid nitrogen in his cooking, was readying his version of the BLT, called the Past, Present and Future, while Andrés was cutting up some young pigs he had been roasting over an open spit at a private home set a few steps off the Roaring Fork River.
Both very modern yet so different, and the blend of results amazed the crowds.
It was the Voltaggio duo of brothers, Michael and Bryan, working the crowds at the opening reception Thursday at the St. Regis Hotel. The crowd came fashionably late but grew loud and funny with the fantastic food and the wines from the Trinchero Family.
Meanwhile, east of Aspen at the foot of Independence Pass, Andrés’ mastery of the pit was enough to wow even Jacques Pepin, who couldn’t get over the taste of the well-cooked pork skin served him by Andrés.
“Did you taste that pork skin?” Pepin was asking everyone around him.”I couldn’t believe it, it was marvelous.”
Just another cook-out in Aspen.
More tomorrow.

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