Tastings Blog – Steve Olson Master of Ceremonies for Taste and Savor 2015




Meet – Steve Olson, Master of Ceremonies




Steve Olson Headshot


We are so thrilled to have our friend Steve Olson, join us for our inaugural Taste and Savor culinary weekend !  In the weeks leading up to Taste and Savor we will be featuring a fun questionnaire from of our guests as well as a short biography of their lives.

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire Beverage Experts

Describe your beverage philosophy in one sentence:

If you like it drink it:  make your own decisions, as there is no right or wrong to this.

What is your earliest beverage memory?

I was already working as a soda jerk at the age of 12, so my memories go waaaay back, but regarding wine, it was a sip of Mateus with my tea-totalling Iowa-farm-raised parents when they finally had a glass of wine with a special dinner.  It was terrible, but I was hooked.

Who is or was your biggest influence?

Far too many to name here, as I have been very lucky to have many great mentors over the years, but the first that really influenced me in the restaurant service and hospitality world, that I have lived in and worked my entire grown life, taught me that it was not about me, or my wine list or my cocktails or even about our incredible service—-it is all about the food.

What is your favorite beverage that most would consider to be a guilty pleasure?

In my role, I am not allowed to have favorites, but if I have to choose only one liquid to consume for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Mezcal.

After a long day, do you prefer wine, beer or a cocktail?

Depends upon who I am with, where I am, what day it is—how long that day really has been—-and what I am eating—-I love them all! That said, I love wine, I love cocktails, and I teach about and consume more than my share of each, but I am a beer drinker at heart.

Money is no option – what is your drink of choice?

see above—-Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Tobala.


Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache, since you are buying!

Steve olson cocktail

Steven Olson is dedicated to the education and consultation of degustation for appreciation and celebration.  He teaches, lectures, and writes all over the world about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and virtually any other beverage under the sun, discussing their integral cause-and-effect relationship with food as he preaches the gospel of his mission: making tasting fun by removing the intimidation factor and the pretense.


Olson’s company, aka wine geek, based upon his standing as one of America’s foremost experts and most sought-after lecturers in the business, and his 30+ years of experience in the restaurant business, specializes in beverage and service consulting, and has focused on the professional presentation of beverage education for the trade, consumers, press and the media since 1992, always striving to empower both members of the trade and consumers to make their own decisions, and to trust their own palates.


Over the years, Steve has hosted a few of his own TV series’ and been a guest on many others, and has served as host of several trade education and product information videos, including being the voice of Virtual Bartender kiosks in retail stores nationwide.  He was also selected as Santé Magazine’s Spirits Professional of the Year for 2003, awarded CHEERS Magazine’s Beverage Innovator of the Year, a lifetime achievement award in 2005, chosen to judge at the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Diageo Reserve World Class Finals, and honored as Best Bar Mentor at the Spirited Awards at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail.


Olson may be best known to many, however, for his restaurant and bar consulting, having designed the innovative beverage programs and service systems for several nationally acclaimed operations, including the Relais Chateau, Mobil Five Star award-winning Mayflower Inn in Connecticut, New York City’s #1 Zagat-rated restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, and the Adam Tihany-designed Summit at the Mobil Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond BROADMOOR in Colorado Springs. Olson designed the beverage programs for OTG Management, which exclusively operates dozens of restaurants and wine bars in airports, and designed the beverage programs for Aqua in Cancun, Mexico, the prize jewel of Grupo Posadas, which opened in 2008.  His most recent ventures are Isola and Hudson Common, both in Manhattan, where Olson and team acted as beverage consultant to the Morgan Hotel Group in NYC.

TASTINGS BLOG – Announcing Taste & Savor 2015



March 5-8, 2015 will bring; Michelin Star chefs, Food and Wine Magazine, Best of’s, a Spirited Award Winner, Master Sommelier’s, James Beard Award winner’s, etc… all together and for one weekend at The Broadmoor.

Weekly in Tastings, we will be updating and showcasing the talent with their latest news, information and some interesting tidbits about them!

Be a part of this inaugural event because only the best will Taste and Savor.

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This exclusive, culinary event will provide guests an opportunity to savor gourmet dishes, world-class wine and craft cocktails; attend seminars and panel discussions and interact with culinary and viticultural leaders, all set against the backdrop of the picturesque, Rocky Mountains.

  • Steve OlsonRenowned, award-winning beverage consultant, teacher and lecturer; Founder of aka wine geek


  • Sissy Biggers – Lifestyle expert and television host (Food Network’s Ready, Set, and Cook!, ABC’s Extreme Makeover), New York, NY




  • Tony Abou-GanimMixologist and pioneering bar professional, author and National Ambassador of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild
  • Doug FrostMaster of Wine, Master Sommelier, noted wine writer and author
  • Sean KenyonAmerican Bartender of the Year at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2014
  • Frédéric DrouhinPresident of the Executive Board, Joseph Drouhin Wines
  • Martin RieseWater Sommelier, Ray’s & Stark Bar, Los Angeles, CA
  • Christina PerozziThe Beer Chicks Founder, Los Angeles, CA

Three-night room packages, a 25 percent discount on suite upgrades, and discounts on select retail items are available; to book and for more information, click here! 

The Broadmoor’s Taste & Savor is sponsored by Denver Life MagazineRent-A-Center, Kitchen Aid, San Pellegrino and Lavazza Coffee

TASTINGS – New Penrose Chef de Cuisine Greg Vassos

Greg Vassos

It is with great pleasure that we announce our new Chef de Cuisine of the Penrose Room – Greg Vassos.   Although Greg is known for his contemporary French and American creations, he has remarkable skill executing delightful farm-to-fork dishes inspired by many cuisines and dictated only by his passion for fresh ingredients.  For it was a clear and simple vision to use only local and ethical ingredients that brought his former restaurant Racine, Pottstown, PA to life and it is this same vision that has underscored his success and will continue here at The Broadmoor.


Greg started his culinary aspirations at a young age and pursued the art with incredible dedication. In the span of nearly two decades, Greg worked in many kitchens on four continents alongside some of the world’s most respected chefs including:  Sergi Arola of Arola, Bruno Menard of the Dining Room and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. It was his role as Sous Chef under the direction of three-star Michelin Chef Eric Ripert that provided Greg with invaluable experience and a respect for seafood.002

Greg’s success continued as Chef de Cuisine at The Brasserie by Dean Max in the Cayman Islands. Here he was inspired by the art of French cuisine and began to implement various modern and unconventional techniques. It was during his time at The Brasserie that Greg was invited to cook alongside a team of chefs at the James Beard House in New York City.

His second invitation to The Beard House came during his time as Chef of five-diamond restaurant L’Escalier at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. This time he was invited as Featured Chef.

Vassos gardenHis career blossomed at L’Escalier with his demonstrated skill in haute cuisine, a skill that produced many exciting creations such as pumpkin gnocchi with white truffle foam and his extraordinary Garden Landscape, a whimsical garden with baby turnips, carrots, radishes and ears of corn “growing” from a porcini “soil” base topped with a potato rake and served on a slab of slate.


Greg brings an honest simplicity to even the most complex of dishes. He has a deep understanding for the connection that humans have with food and it is this knowledge that inspires him to delight palates with only the best, farm-fresh ingredients he can find.PRChandelier2

 All of this and more is what makes him a 5 Star 5 Diamond addition to the Penrose Room.

Tastings: Gelato!

There is nothing better than a cool, sweet and creamy dessert to put a smile on anyone’s face.  Ice cream has been a consistent go to for most people, but for a sophisticated twist on an American classic, The Broadmoor’s Executive Pastry Chef Adam Thomas is now making homemade gelato on property the authentic Italian way!


So what’s the difference between ice cream and gelato anyway?  The two treats can be made from the same base of milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings, so the difference lies in texture.  Traditionally, gelato has a more dense and creamy texture than ice cream, because during the production of ice cream, air is churned into the mix to give it a light and fluffy consistency.  Gelato also has a lower fat content than ice cream, with around 3.5% fat, while ice cream usually contains around 10% fat content.

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To make enough gelato for the entire property, The Broadmoor needs a state of the art machine.  Our pastry kitchen boasts a Bravo Trittico 120 that is capable of making an entire batch of gelato in about 18 minutes!


It begins by adding a base mixture to the upper chamber to be cooked.  From there, it can immediately be sent to the lower chamber to begin cooling, or be left to mature for a more intensely flavored gelato.  Once it reaches the lower chamber, the machine cools the mixture down from 185 degrees Celsius to 12 degrees in just minutes.

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After the gelato is chilled it is extracted from the machine and your favorite flavors can be added!  Strawberry, pistachio, and chocolate can be mixed into the vanilla base for a colorful variety.    Don’t forget to top it off with fresh fruit or chocolate for the perfect frozen treat!


This classic dessert will be served at Ristorante del Lago to complete your authentic Italian meal.  Start by ordering Antipasti with the finest imported meats and cheeses before your main course.  The serving sizes allow you to choose several different dishes to sample, with classic favorites like Penne Alla Norma, Saltimbocca, or Roman Meatballs.  Save room for dessert and order the gelato along with tiramisu or cannolis for a sweet ending you can share!


Tastings: What’s New?

For many, staying at The Broadmoor is a timeless family tradition, while others often visit the hotel as locals.  As a frequent guest on property, you might be wondering what new and exciting dining options you have.  Fortunately our creative culinary team is continuously conceptualizing new dishes to please your palate!


The Broadmoor’s newest restaurant, Natural Epicurean focuses on organic, natural and wholesome cuisine that highlights their all day menu.  With a variety of salads, sandwiches, and entrees, there is plenty to try.  Pavo Mole Negro Tacos or a crunchy Greek Salad are light and healthy options for lunch or dinner.  Chef de Cuisine Brian Wallace’s soup de jour is a wonderful accompaniment to a Naturally Raised Turkey Sandwich!  Favorites have included a velvety Black Bean Soup with roasted peppers, and sweet and spicy Tom Yum Soup, but you will have to stop in to see what he dreams up next.


For dinner, Chef Mark Musial takes seasonality serious at Summit!  Order an appetizer of Assiette de Melon teeming with sweet cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and savory Prosciutto de Parma, all topped with an aged balsamic for a sweet starter.  Summit’s Classic of the Month is a beautiful summer Bouillabaisse, inspired by the classic dish of the French Riviera, and full of fresh swordfish, shrimp, scallops, and mussels.  Mix in house made aioli and soak up the broth with a warm baguette for a scrumptious summer meal.


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If you want the Five Star Five Diamond experience, but are short on time, head up to the Penrose Lounge to sample the new dessert menu.  The Cylindre de Chocolat is perfect for chocolate lovers, while a Tarte Abricot features fresh fruit.  Pair your sweet treat with a classic cocktail or glass of wine from the extensive European list as you enjoy vistas of property and Cheyenne Mountain.

Cylindre au Chocolat

Tarte Abricot

La Taverne is also sporting a new menu!  Alongside classic favorites like prime rib and premium steaks, you can enjoy seasonal favorites like a Maine Lobster Bisque, Seared Divers Scallops, or Austrian Veal Schnitzel Viennese.  Come in Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings for live music from La Taverne orchestra with your dinner.  Sunday through Thursday you can also participate in “Dine at Dusk” from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.  Enjoy a prix fixe three course menu for only $29.50 per person for a great dinner deal that includes a delicious pie of the day for dessert!

tavern scallops

blueberry lemon marscapone

The Broadmoor may be 96 years old, but there is always something new in our fabulous restaurants!  Make your reservations today to sample them all!


Tastings: Gadgets Galore Part 2

The first thing to catch your eye as you enter Ristorante del Lago is the  stunning floor to ceiling wood fired oven that bakes the satisfying selection of pizzas from the menu.  Pizzas bake at between 700 and 800 degrees, and at peak performance the oven can turn out 100 wood fired pizzas in just one hour.  The mixture of pecan, cherry, and apple woods burn extremely hot to get a crispy crust, and add a subtle wood fired flavor to your pizza.  Chef Justin’s favorite is the House Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Pizza, which goes perfectly with a Bianco wine on tap at the bar.



Next to the wood fired oven is the eye catching red Sambonet Rotisserie.  Though it isn’t Italian, this kitchen instrument is a small nod to Executive Chef Bertrand Bouquin and his French roots.  For dinner the rotisserie is full of whole chickens roasting in the blue flames.  Chef Justin shares that it is the low and slow cooking that gives the chicken a crispy skin and melt-in-your-mouth tender meat.  In the bottom, baby potatoes rest after being oven roasted to catch the flavorful drippings from the chicken for a savory side dish.



If wood fired pizzas, Parma prosciutto, and rotisserie chicken aren’t enough to spark your appetite, Ristorante del Lago also makes fresh pasta with our very own Pama Roma pasta machine.  Dough ingredients are added to the top of the machine, where they are mixed to a consistency similar to that of wet sand.  Chef Justin then attaches the appropriate die to the front of the machine and allows the dough to be forced through the form to make pastas of all sizes.  The pasta maker can also make and fill raviolis, and cut sheets of pasta into any size strand!  After it is cut, the pasta briefly air dries before being stored in the refrigerator to maintain the proper humidity level.



To cook the pasta, Chef Justin places it in the Pasta Dipper where it takes a quick bath in boiling water.  He then adds your favorite meats and sauces for the perfect Italian dish!  The portion sizes of Ristorante del Lago allow you to sample several courses so you can taste how well these gadgets work for yourself!


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Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!  To finish your meal Ristorante del Lago offers classic Italian desserts like tiramisu and house-made gelato.

RDL tiramisu

Tastings: Gadgets Galore!

If you haven’t dined at Ristorante del Lago yet, you need to reserve your table today!  With a warm and inviting interior designed by Adam D. Tihany, you can enjoy a relaxing evening at a table with a lakeside view.  The menu reflects dishes hand picked by our chefs from the finest culinary regions of Italy, with classics like Saltimbocca and Lasagne.  To create these delectable dishes, Chef de Cuisine Justin Miller and his talented team have a variety of kitchen gadgets directly imported from Italy to create the most authentic meals possible.

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The Aging Room of Ristorante del Lago sits in the back right corner of the restaurant and proudly boasts a variety of the best Italian meat and cheese we could find.  One of only a few in the country, this room stores Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano and other imported products at the perfect temperature.  Set between 55 to 58 degrees, the meats and cheeses in the Aging Room continue to mature for more reinforced and complex flavors.

aging room

The contents of the Aging Room are the finest from Italy, and all come with their own unique backgrounds.  Prosciutto di Parma comes from the heart of the Parma River Valley, where Giovanni Tosini carries on his family business started in 1905.  From selecting the feed to determining the age and weight of each animal slaughtered, Giovanni is involved in each step of creating the best Prosciutto di Parma possible.



Giant wheels of Parmigian Reggiano carry five generations of experience from the Serra family.  They control every part of production from growing grass, milking, cooking, and aging all on property, and give their Bruna Alpina brown cows a high quality life to produce the rich milk used to make the cheese.


Along with the meats and cheeses, the Aging Room also sports authentic Balsamico di Modena made by the Cattani family, who grow their own grapes, and carefully age the balsamic vinegar  in a process completely done by hand.  The olive oil of Ristorante del Lago comes from a family that also makes some of the best Chianti wines of the Florence region.  A few grape stems and leaves are intentionally ground into the mixture to  create a rich and herbaceous flavor like no other oil.


To slice our perfectly marbled Parma Hams, Ristorante del Lago has a 50th Anniversary Parma Slicer, which commemorates the high standards Parma holds for their ham.  The meat must come from the Parma region of Italy, and farmers have to obtain special permits to certify their ham as the finest quality.  The gleaming 18 inch blade slices the prosciutto paper thin, while the platform shifts with every crank to ensure each slice is precisely the same thickness.  A smaller Parma slicer cuts imported salami and mortadella, all of which go on a board to create a delicious Antipasti Misti to begin your meal.


RDL Anti Pasti Misti

This is only the beginning of the gadgets!  Check out next Thursday’s Tastings to learn about pizzas, pastas, and rotisseries at Ristorante del Lago!


Tastings: Ancient Grains

Walking into the bakery of The Broadmoor greets you with the tempting smells of baked bread, warm and fresh out of the oven.  Every day our Head Baker, Chef Johann Willar and his team masterfully bake dozens of different breads for outlets all over property.  Since the age of 15, Chef Willar has continued to refine his baking skills to create the perfect yeasty treasures.  Recently, he attended a seminar hosted by Peter Reinhart focusing on the “next frontier” in baking: ancient grains.

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Ancient grains refer to a method of baking that uses different types of sprouted grains.  Rather than milling the dormant seeds of cereal grains, these seeds are sprouted and then dried and milled into flour.  Eating breads baked with sprouted grains offers a multitude of health benefits and better taste to consumers.  Broadmoor guests and Colorado Springs locals can find these breads exclusively at our newest restaurant, Natural Epicurean.

small bread

Traditionally, bread is difficult for the human body to digest because it requires pancreatic enzymes, which are not abundant in our digestive systems.  Allowing the grains to sprout begins the transformation from starch to plant, which the body can better digest, and uses for energy instead of storing of as fat.  Sprouted grains also increase the availability of nutrients, specifically antioxidants, that lie dormant in whole grains.

warm dough

The Broadmoor receives sprouted khorasan, oats, rye wheat, and spelt grains which are then run through a sausage grinder to create “the chub”.  The chub replaces commercially bleached flour and contains higher levels of vitamin c, vitamin d, and carotene.  Sprouted grains contain higher levels of fiber as well, which has been shown to lower cholesterol, fight type two diabetes, and help maintain overall digestive health.  They also neutralize enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, allowing your body to better absorb key nutrients, including calcium and magnesium.

chub small words

Natural Epicurean boasts a number of breads made with these ancient grains including whole wheat buns, pitas, and even focaccia.  Sprouting the grains avoids the bitter taste of traditional whole grains, and gives the bread a light and well rounded flavor.  Chef Willar hopes that this technique will bring people back to bread, as it contains less gluten and has extensive health benefits.  And combined with the fresh, locally sourced produce in the kitchen of Natural Epicurean, diners have a long list of healthy and wholesome options to choose from!


Tastings: Natural Epicurean

Wholesome, natural, organic, and healthy are the four pillars that Natural Epicurean was founded on.  The word “epicurean” comes from the teachings of Greek philosopher Epicurus, who taught the highest level of happiness could be achieved through modesty, minimalism, and knowledge.  An array of freshly made food and beverage will bring guests and locals to the highest level of dining pleasure, though the flavors are far from modest!

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The commitment to natural products starts from the bottom up.  Sustainable hardwood floors, lighting from post consumer products, and tiles made of recycled glass give the dining room a light and airy feeling.  Sitting down for lunch, you’ll find glasses crafted from reused wine bottles, and china made from recycled stoneware.  Or sit on the patio for a classic view of Cheyenne Mountain, while enjoying the blooming flowers and trickling fountain.

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This relaxing atmosphere is the perfect place to enjoy the real star of Natural Epicurean, the food!  Start your meal with a thirst quenching cold pressed juice, or a Beet Bloody Mary, all freshly made to order from locally sourced produce.

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Healthy doesn’t have to equal hungry!  Natural Epicurean does offer salads and appetizers perfect for a light lunch or dinner.  But after a long day on property, we recognize you might need some protein to refuel.  The menu also includes a hearty Grass Fed Colorado Bison burger and Grilled Atlantic Swordfish, as well as the option to add Steelhead Salmon or Colorado Chicken to any salad.  For our vegetarian friends, the Anasazi Bean Burger, or Italian Vegetable Club are sure to keep you satisfied.


After your meal, you better leave some room for dessert!  Fresh fruit offers natural sweetness to options like the Baked Apricot Tart, or Compressed Melon Salad.  These sweet treats are the perfect ending to your wholesome experience, and healthy to boot.

apricot dessert

Natural Epicurean is also proud to partner with the following organizations:  Colorado Proud, Healthy Dining Finder, Arkansas Valley Organic Growers, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.  Our seafood comes from sources that do not harm the environment, and our meats and produce are locally grown; meaning our food is good for you and the earth.

Chilled Green Asparagus

The Broadmoor’s head baker, Johann Willar creates freshly baked bread, pita, and pastries each morning for Natural Epicurean using ancient grains.  In contrast to commercially bleached flour, these ancient grains offer better health benefits and taste!  In addition to breads on the lunch and dinner menu, stop by Natural Epicurean for breakfast to try a whole wheat croissant or a spinach and kale danish.

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Whatever time of day or mood you’re in, Natural Epicurean offers something to satisfy without the guilt!

Tastings: What Will You Do for Dad?


The third Sunday in June is dedicated to the special men we call “Father”.  Since the holiday was first declared back in 1972, families find many ways to celebrate through special activities, gifts, and dining.  At The Broadmoor we recognize the importance of these influential gentlemen, and offer a multitude of ways to show Dad how much he means.

You are sure to start the day off right with a tasty breakfast at the new Ristorante Del Lago while enjoying stunning views. From hearty eggs to a full breakfast buffet, your father is sure to find something to love.

 RDL Patio

As a hotel guest, you can also challenge dad to a friendly round of golf on one of three championship courses. After the game, the Golf Club Grill offers a great selection of fresh salads and sandwiches to refuel.

Golf man & son

Stop in Bar del Lago, the hotel bar, or the Golden Bee throughout the day to relax and enjoy a drink or snack. All three locations will have the US Open tuned in so dad doesn’t miss a thing!

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For your main man’s sweet tooth, Espresso’s offers some decadent treats to keep him satisfied.  Bailey’s Irish cream encased in dark chocolate cigars, and Scotch ganache filled milk chocolate golf balls are a perfect surprise for every dad.  If chocolate doesn’t appeal to him, The Broadmoor’s pastry chefs have also crafted a delicious Banana Cream Pie complete with Bourbon banana custard to satisfy your dad’s dessert craving.

golf balls

Before dessert, you will need some dinner! Play at The Broadmoor is a perfect spot to grab a delicious dinner and maybe an adult milkshake. You can make a night of it by reserving a bowling lane for some good family fun.

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If the weekend is already booked, make reservations to bring your father to the Vodka, Wine, and Dine Charity Dinner on Tuesday June 17. Modern Mixologist Tony Abou Ganim will lead dad through an evening of blind tasting and dinner with stellar cocktail and wine pairings.  To reserve call 719.577.5896 or email [email protected]


The best way to enjoy all the fun The Broadmoor offers is to make a weekend of it! Book a room in the renovated Broadmoor West building to show your father just how much he means. However you celebrate, take some time to thank your dad for everything he does for you!