Chef from Vail Valley’s The French Press to give demos at Palisade event


• WHAT: Edesia: A Palisade Culinary, Wine & Spirits Adventure.

• WHEN: 2–6 p.m. March 20.

• WHERE: Wine Country Inn in Palisade.

• COST: $49 per person.

• TO BENEFIT: Marillac Clinic, provider of health care to uninsured Mesa County residents with low or moderate incomes.

• CONTACT: 464-5777 or

Chef Juan Cruz Anon was “slammed” when I called him at 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. When you serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at The French Press, every hour and every day is a “slammed” day. And he travels 10 days a month.

Still, Cruz Anon manages to squeeze in much more outside his Edwards restaurant, such as benefit events, for example, one of which he’s doing this month at Edesia: A Palisade Culinary, Wine & Spirits Adventure — Edesia being the Roman goddess of gourmet foods and fine wines.

Restaurants contributing to the affair include Le Rouge, Il Bistro, Red Rose Café, Tapestry Lounge, Bin 707, Red Canyon Grill and La Dolce Vita.

The list of wineries participating is extensive and represents the best of the Grand Valley. Colterris wines will be included, which are a particular favorite of Cruz Anon.

The Cordon Bleu-trained chef will give hourly cooking demonstrations of his planned four-course dinner.

The Argentina-born chef grew up in Buenos Aires but spent much of his free time in the countryside fishing for golden dorado or trout and hunting the wild game of his country. The family businesses included restaurants and guided game and fishing tours.

He combined both loves to forge his careers. I say careers because he’s also destination director for HomeWaters fly-fishing club and professional angler at a resort in Guatemala.

Staples on the menu at The French Press are a confit du jour, which usually is partridge, duck, boar or elk; salmon; wild game special; Rocky Mountain trout; and conventional French favorites such as escargot and mussels.

Cruz Anon is an active hunter and angler around Vail but his catches are purely his own.

The day I caught up with Cruz Anon was his 37th birthday. He planned to go fishing in the Vail Valley for a couple of hours of reflective time before heading back to The French Press to prepare the evening menu.

On the day after his cooking demonstrations at Wine Country Inn, he’s flying to Bimini in the Bahamas to open a new restaurant featuring French cuisine with a Caribbean flair.

LAND OF ENCHANTMENT: New Mexico, the state that already has the slogan “red or green,” referring to one’s preference for red or green chile, now plans to further cement its $400 million a year spicy reputation.

State Rep. Andy Nunez, I-Hatch, is sponsoring the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act, which would regulate and punish restaurants, groceries and roadside stands that falsely claim their chiles are grown in the Land of Enchantment.

Peru, India, China and Mexico are increasingly horning in on the market.

The state to our south already has a Piñon Nut Protection Act.

“Colorado has some very hot chile, but in my opinion there’s no flavor to it,” Charlie Marquez of the New Mexico Chile Association told the Legislature.

Oooh. Fighting words.

VEGANS: The downtown Grand Junction Pablo’s Pizza is rolling out new vegan pizzas that are soy and lactose free.

The pies are aimed at vegans or those who have multiple allergies or are lactose intolerant, but will cost you an extra dollar or two. If they prove popular, Pablo’s plans to add the pizzas at all locations.

The tapioca-based cheese is apparently all the rage in the vegan community. It melts and stretches just like dairy cheese, but has no gluten, nuts, soy, casein or dairy.

QUOTE: “Hey yogurt, if you’re so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera?” — Stephen Colbert

Send tips and ideas to Tess.Furey@


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