Tastings

Tastings Blog – Meet Martin Riese, Water Sommelier

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JERK MARTIN RIESE world-renowned water sommelier from Germany

Riese officially began his culinary journey as an apprentice to the restaurant specialist at the Relais & Châteaux Hotel Stadt Hamburg on the Island of Syltin in northern Germany.  During Riese’s ever-evolving career, he was hired at First Floor restaurant in Berlin where he worked as the maître d’ hotel and developed the position of water sommelier – a distinctive job that allowed him to share with guests his passion for multiple varieties of water from around the world. Riese’s knowledge of water led to appearances on television and radio programs throughout Europe, South America, and Asia, ultimately leading the German press to refer to him as the country’s foremost water sommelier. In 2009, he co-authored the critically acclaimed book Die Welt des Wasser (World of Water) – considered the foremost European book on the subject. Riese reunited with the Patina Restaurant Group in 2011 and unveiled his own water program at Ray’s & Stark Bar, Los Angeles in 2012.

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire–Beverage Experts 


Describe your beverage philosophy in one sentence:

Water is not just water!

What is your earliest beverage memory?

As a child I realized that even tap water from different cities taste different. On vacation with my parents it was for more interesting to taste the differences in tap water than to discover the cities.

Who is or was your biggest influence?

Nature, it’s amazing that nature gives us a broad taste spectrum of waters. Water can go from bitter to sweet and from smooth to complex.

 

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

Dr. Pepper Cherry – Sometimes I need something so strange in taste to reset my taste panels.

 

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

Champagne – the light sparkling beverage refreshes my mouth and helps me to calm down.

 

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

1988 Louis Roederer Cristal

Join Martin Reise because only the best will #tasteandsavor2015


Tastings – Taste and Savor Meet Shawn McClain

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TS2015 Shawn McClain

 

Shawn McClain has a knack for balancing innovative concepts with tradition and sensibility. McClain’s star rose quickly in the culinary world. He first broke onto the national scene at Trio restaurant in Evanston, earning four stars from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. After seven accolade-filled years, he left to open Spring in 2001, which served as his homage to seafood and earned extraordinary critical acclaim and consumer success. That same year, Spring was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant award, and McClain was named Esquire magazine’s Chef of the Year.
By 2004, McClain opened his second restaurant, Green Zebra. An immediate success, this vanguard concept brings vegetables to the center of the plate and was lauded by The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and several other prestigious publications.
After continuing his success in Chicago with the addition of Custom House, McClain eventually found his way to the bright lights of Las Vegas. At Sage in ARIA Resort & Casino, McClain changed focus once more with a New American menu built on the irresistible freshness of California’s local harvests.

 

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Chefs

  

Describe your cooking philosophy in one sentence:

Fresh, clean, seasonal ingredients prepared in a balanced, flavorful and creative way.

What is your earliest food memory?

An awesome big lazy susan full of Chinese delicacies at a restaurant my parents used to take me (age 8) and my five siblings.  We always ordered for 10!

Who is or was your biggest culinary influence?

There have been so many people that have influenced my cooking, but if I had to pick just one, I would have to say the late Chef Charlie Trotter of Chicago.  He set the bar so high and inspired a generation of cooks to aspire for excellence and look at food in new ways.

Name your favorite food city and why.

In my 20s it was San Francisco, in my 30s it was New York and now in my 40s  I have to say Chicago.  I have spent so many years there and the food scene just doesn’t stop moving forward.

 

What food item or dish is your guilty pleasure?

Fries & Mayo

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

Depends on the day and I like to mix it up; a cold beer is always nice and following it up with a reposado tequila or bourbon makes it even better.

 

What is your ultimate day off meal?

Japanese

Join Shawn McClain because only the best will #tasteandsavor2015


TASTINGS – Taste and Savor meet Kelly Liken

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TS2015 Kelly Liken

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Kelly Liken, culinary extraordinaire and Knife Fight Champion!

Kelly Liken, one of Colorado’s most promising and influential young chefs, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2002, Kelly graduated first in her class from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, She interned at the renowned Inn at Little Washington. After graduation, Kelly headed west to work at Splendido at the Château in Beaver Creek, Colorado. In 2004, at the youthful age of 27, Kelly realized it was time to open her own restaurant.  Restaurant Kelly Liken opened as one of the state’s most sophisticated dining destinations, where the restaurant’s cosmopolitan décor and progressive American cuisine are reflections of the owner/chef’s personality.
A James Beard nominee for “Best Chef Southwest” (2009, 2010 and 2011) and participating chef in the James Beard national Celebrity Chef Tour, Kelly has garnered national recognition for her creativity in the kitchen, as well as her commitment and passion for her craft. She has been featured in “A Cowboy Cookout at 10,000 Feet” in Food & Wine, August 2012 , as well as an emerging female chef to watch in the country in Bon Appétit, 2008 “Women Chefs: The Next Generation.”.

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Chefs

 

Describe your cooking philosophy in one sentence:

I serve a simple yet exciting Seasonal American Cuisine that relies heavily on locally produced and cultivated products.

 

Who is or was your biggest culinary influence?

Patrick O’Connell at The Inn at Little Washington

Mario Batali

My Mom

Name your favorite food city and why.

Pick just one!! How hard…  I love Nashville right now.  It’s a really exciting time to eat there, there are great new restaurants popping up everyday.

Denver is really coming into it’s own and we’re really starting to see a Colorado point of view and style.

What food item or dish is your guilty pleasure?

Chicken Wings!

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

Maker’s Mark on the rocks

What is your ultimate day off meal?

Anything my husband makes, he’s does a mean Beer Can Chicken on the grill.

Join KELLY LIKEN because only the best will #tasteandsavor2015


Last minute gifts that keep on giving for the Italian foodie in your family!

The Four Courses of Ristorante del Lago – Italian Wine Dinners
$95++*

Warm up this winter with your favorite Italian restaurant and some of the finest Italian wine producers.  Four courses of fine Italian cuisine, spectacular wines and merriment that will last long after the gleam of  the holidays has passed.  Come for one or all four, each is sure to delight the senses!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 6PM – Enrico Rivetto of Rivetto Winery


Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 6PM  – Erika Abate of Bersano Winery

 
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 6PM  – Andrea Sottimano of Sottimano Winery

 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 6PM  – Daniela Mastroberardino of Terredora Winery



Chef Justin Miller creates an innovative yet comforting menu to pair exquisitely with the beautiful wines of Italy.  $95 per person plus tax and gratuity. For reservations call 719.577.5733 or email [email protected].  A special room rate of $150 per night, plus taxes and service fees will be offered for this event.  Call 866.696.1974 to reserve a room.

 

*Plus applicable taxes and gratuity

Tastings Blog – Meet Doug Frost

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Doug Frost – Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

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Doug Frost is a Kansas City author who writes and lectures about wine, beer, and spirits. In 1991 he passed the rigorous Master Sommelier examination and two years later became America’s eighth Master of Wine. He was the second person in history to complete both exams and almost two decades later he is still one of only three people in the world to have achieved both of these remarkable distinctions. According to USA Today, “Frost likely knows as much as anyone in the world about how to make, market, serve and identify wines.” The Wine Spectator has also bestowed the accolade of Master of Spirits on Mr. Frost. Frost is the wine and spirits consultant for United Airlines, and has authored three books: The Far from Ordinary Spanish Wine Buying Guide (2005), Uncorking Wine (1996), and On Wine, a Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Tells All (2001). He is also director of the Jefferson Cup Invitational, founder of the America’s Best Wine Lists competition, and founding partner of Beverage Alcohol Resource, a new educational and consulting company whose other partners are Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, F. Paul Pacult, and David Wondrich.

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Beverage Experts

 

 

Describe your beverage philosophy in one sentence: People should drink what they like, regardless of what “experts” tell them.

 

 

What is your earliest beverage memory? A bottle of 1968 Louis Martini Special Selection Pinot Noir when I was fifteen years old – it was the first wine I had ever tasted and it was delicious.

 

 

Who is or was your biggest influence? Madeline Triffon is a Master Sommelier in Detroit who has been a inspiration to me: her belief in true hospitality is steadfast and unbending.

 

What is your favorite beverage that most would consider to be a guilty pleasure? I enjoy an inexpensive California Chardonnay with popcorn. So wrong. I struggle to be snooty enough sometimes.

 

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

 

Money is no option – what is your drink of choice? I’d like to drink 1962 Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache again someday.

 

 Join Doug Frost because only the best will #tasteandsavor2015

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Tastings: Meet Curtis Duffy of Grace

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We are pleased to welcome Curtis Duffy and to congratulate him on his third Michelin Star!

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Curtis Duffy knew early on he had a passion for cooking. In 2000, he left Ohio to work at the legendary Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. After three years at Trotter’s, Duffy accepted a position as Pastry Chef at the esteemed Trio, where he was recognized as “Best Innovative Pastry Chef” from Food & Wine. Duffy met Chef Grant Achatz at Trio, and in 2004, they left Trio to open Alinea, where Duffy worked as Chef de Cuisine. Alinea skyrocketed to fame, being named the “Best Restaurant in America” by Gourmet just a year after opening, and is widely recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world. In 2008, Duffy took his impressive skill set to Avenues (The Peninsula Chicago) and was instantly celebrated for his thoughtful, progressive and imaginative cuisine by consumers and media alike.
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At Avenues, Duffy garnered an extraordinary list of awards and accolades, including two stars from the prestigious Michelin Guide, the AAA Five Diamond Award , and perfect four-star ratings from Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Tribune.  In May 2010, to mark the 20th anniversary of the James Beard Awards, Duffy was named a “Legacy Chef.” The James Beard Foundation asked previous Outstanding Chef award winners from each of the prior twenty years to select a chef whom they have mentored and who they believe would have a major impact on the culinary world in years to come. Grant Achatz selected Duffy, essentially naming him to the next generation of leading chefs. The following year, Duffy was nominated by the JBF as “Best Chef, Great Lakes Region.”

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In mid-2011, Duffy left Avenues to begin making plans for his own restaurant, which opened in December 2012. At Grace, Duffy’s culinary style – elegant, graceful cuisine – is showcased, reflecting his personal taste and drawing upon his wealth of experience. His micro-seasonal cuisine is best described as “thoughtfully progressive” – thoughtful as he puts tremendous time, focus, research and thought into what he creates, and progressive as he will utilize modern techniques to coax the best out of the ingredients. Each dish is an expression of his personality – progressive but grounded – and puts ingredients at the forefront. He continues to source the highest-quality ingredients, allowing flavor to trump technique.

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Since opening Grace on December 11, 2012, Duffy and the restaurant have been awarded many accolades, including AAA’s Five Diamond Rating, Forbes Travel Guide’s 5 Star Rating, Robb Report’s Best Restaurant in the World 2013, Chicago Tribune’s 4 Star Rating, Chicago Magazine’s Best New Restaurant, Eater National’s Chef of the Year, 2 Michelin Stars in the 2014 Chicago Red Guide, and Three Michelin Stars in the 2015 Chicago Red Guide.

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The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Chefs

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Describe your cooking philosophy in one sentence:

My food is very ingredient focused, and I enjoyed to use modern technique to highlight the ingredients but never overshadow them.

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What is your earliest food memory?

My mom used to make pizza burgers.  They were hamburgers with pizza sauce and mozzarella, and we loved them.

Who is or was your biggest culinary influence?

Michel Bras.

 

Name your favorite food city and why.

Tokyo.  I love Japanese food and the culture surrounding it.  Minimalism, clean flavors, plating design.

 

What food item or dish is your guilty pleasure?

Peanut butter no bake cookies

 

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

Fortaleza Anejo with 1 ice cube

What is your ultimate day off meal?

I love sitting in my kitchen and eating PB & J sandwiches with my daughters: smooth peanut butter and Concord grape jelly, of course.

 

Join CURTIS DUFFY because only the best will #tasteandsavor2015


Tastings Blog – Meet Frédéric Drouhin

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TS2015 Frédéric Drouhin

Frédéric Drouhin is like the director of an orchestra. His role is to direct the development of the company. Overall strategy is his responsibility. He also pays close attention to the making of the wines. His culinary interests as a chef make him the natural spokesperson for the “art de vivre” of the House. Frédéric Drouhin received his MBA from the University of Hartford, Connecticut. He furthered his knowledge of business and marketing at several companies before joining the House in 1995.

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Beverage Experts 

Describe your beverage philosophy in one sentence:

To share the right bottle at the right place with the right people.

What is your earliest beverage memory?

Blind tastings: we used to hold at home for lunches on Sundays. I was probably 8 when started.

Who is or was your biggest influence?

Probably my family and also our former wine maker Laurence Jobard who spotted my tasting capacities and encouraged me to join the family business.

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

Burgundy is small and sometimes a production of a vineyard Lilliputian. The guilty pleasure will be to keep most of the bottles and sell just a little.

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

I like something refreshing and will favor a dry white wine such as a Chablis Premier Cru or a glass of Champagne Pol Roger vintage Chardonnay.

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

Money is one thing , availability is another, especially for Grands Crus of Burgundy from great mature vintages. I love all burgundies because of their complexity, uniqueness of bouquet, and endless finish…but you can’t find them!

Join Frédéric Drouhin March 5-8, 2015, because only the best will #tasteandsavor2015


Tastings Blog – Meet GABRIELLE QUIÑÓNEZ DENTON AND GREG DENTON

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GABRIELLE QUIÑÓNEZ DENTON AND GREG DENTON

TS2015 Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton

 

Born in Schenectady, New York and raised in Rutland, Vermont, Greg knew he wanted to be a chef from age four and he started working in kitchens at age nine. Similarly, summers spent in her grandmother’s kitchen in the Andean highlands of Ecuador spurred Gabrielle’s passion for food at a young age. Both Greg and Gabrielle graduated from culinary school with honors, Greg in 1996 from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and Gabrielle in 1999 from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

Greg and Gabrielle met while working under Chef Hiro Sone at the One Michelin-starred restaurant,Terra, in Napa Valley. Greg eventually became the first titled Chef de Cuisine and Gabrielle, Sous Chef. Together, the two chefs opened Ox Restaurant in April of 2012 in Portland, Oregon.

Ox and the Dentons have received the following recognition: 2014 Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs, year semi-finalists of the James Beard Foundation Annual Award for Best Chefs Northwest, 2013 semi-finalists of the James Beard Foundation Annual Awards for Best Chefs Northwest and Best New Restaurant in America, The Oregonian’s Restaurant of the Year 2013 and was voted one of the Top 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit Magazine.

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Chefs

 

Describe your cooking philosophy in one sentence:

Gabi: I cook to make people happy at the table, and I strive to do this with bright, bold flavors that are at once comforting and exciting.

Greg: My cooking philosophy is the same as my life philosophy, which is to be a better person and a better chef every day.

 

Quito, Ecuador

What is your earliest food memory?

Gabi: My earliest food memory is of my dad bringing me breakfast in bed on my fourth birthday at my grandmother’s home in Quito, Ecuador. I can’t recall what it was, but I remember how loved and how special it made me feel.

Greg: My earliest food memory is of hating canned green beans.

 

Who is or was your biggest culinary influence?

Gabi: My grandmother. She taught me that you don’t need a lot of money to feed people delicious food.

 Chef Hiro Sone

Greg: Chef Hiro Sone.

 

Name your favorite food city and why.Italy to sort 502

Vitello Tonnato

Gabi: Alba, Piemonte, Italy. Because it’s close enough to the coast that I can get good seafood there, and virtually every restaurant has great pasta. And vitello tonnato.

Pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain

Greg: San Sebastián, Spain. Because it combines the best flavors and techniques of Spain, France, and Italy.

 

What food item or dish is your guilty pleasure?

Gabi: Fried calamari with any mayonnaise-based dipping sauce

Greg: buffalo-style hot wings

 

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

Gabi: Wine, something refreshing, either sparkling, white, or rosé.

Greg: Cocktail, usually a Manhattan.

 

What is your ultimate day off meal?

Gabi: Oysters on the half shell, then pasta (either tajarin with butter and sage or spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, chili flake, and sea urchin), and then a grilled ribeye (with sliced jalapeños) and grilled radicchio with fourme d’ambert blue cheese. And for dessert: chocolate soufflé. And lots of wine to go with it.

Greg: A perfect French bistro lunch: Foie blonde with poached pear, a mustardy lambs’ tongue salad, sole meunière over pommes purées, and crèpes Suzette for dessert.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!
Join GABRIELLE QUIÑÓNEZ DENTON AND GREG DENTON because only the best will #tasteandsavor2015


Tastings Blog – Meet John Cox of Post Ranch Inn

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 John Cox of Post Ranch Inn

 

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John Cox is the executive chef at the highly acclaimed Sierra Mar restaurant at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California.  Inspired by his upbringing in northern New Mexico, Chef Cox believes in blending bold, primal flavors along with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and his passion can be experienced each night at Sierra Mar.  Chef Cox’s start at Sierra Mar in July 2014 marks a return to Big Sur, where he began his professional career in 2005, rising to the position of chef de cuisine after having trained at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. His initial success in Big Sur landed him in Hawaii where he spent time immersing himself in island cuisine.  From there, Chef Cox had a stint in New Mexico before serving as the corporate chef for Noble House Hotels, where he was responsible for revitalizing the menu concepts for its group of restaurants. Most recently, Chef Cox served as executive chef at the celebrated Carmel, California restaurants, Casanova and La Bicyclette, where he initiated dynamic, daily changing menus focused around locally-sourced ingredients.  The new concept and menus were wildly successful and soon earned recognition as some of the finest in Carmel by publications ranging from the San Francisco Chronicle to Food and Wine magazine.

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Chefs 

 

Describe your cooking philosophy in one sentence:  I use ingredients from the Big Sur Coast to craft a culinary adventure encompassing the history, culture and environment, that can only be found here at Post Ranch.

 

What is your earliest food memory?  When I was twelve I got my first job as a paperboy for the local newspaper.  I remember saving up my small paychecks until I had enough to afford dinner at one of the restaurants in Santa Fe.  I would clip out articles and making lists of places I wanted to try.  Once I had saved enough I would either take the bus or get an older friend to drive.  Since we couldn’t drink, and usually just ordered appetizers, it wasn’t very expensive.   I think that is why I am always so happy to see young people dining at Sierra Mar; it takes me back to a time when everything was very new and exciting.

 

Who is or was your biggest culinary influence?  Growing up in Northern New Mexico there were many strong influences on my culinary style.  I can’t point to one person; rather I remember the food culture in general.  Before micro-regional cooking became trendy, New Mexico was fully embracing local farms, particularly heirloom chiles.  The idea of embracing local ingredients and reflecting terroir has stayed with me since my childhood.  Even today, I don’t want to create a dish simply for the sake of making something beautiful and flavorful, I want it to be a reflection of place, something that exists and is enjoyed only at that perfect moment.

 

Name your favorite food city and why.  Big Sur… Is Big Sur a city?  I have had the unique opportunity to work and cook across the country- from Hawaii to Vermont, Key West, San Diego, Seattle and many spots in between.   There are so many incredible food cities, each with their unique style, but for me, Big Sur is the perfect convergence of coast and mountains.  If you think of a chef’s environment as their artistic palate- then Big Sur is the perfect median for the kind of cooking and food that I love.  Big Sur is not about subtlety or nuance- it is about extremes and contrasting elements, it is an environment that is so raw and beautiful that it evokes strong emotions.

 

What food item or dish is your guilty pleasure?  Lots of Red and Green Chile.   There is nothing  better than perfectly roasted chile rellenos in Autumn, covered in Red and Green chile. Sadly that is  something I can only experience when I travel back home.

 

After a long day, do you prefer wine, beer or a cocktail?  Being surrounded by so many incredible vineyards I tend to lean more in the wine direction.   There has been a real renaissance in the local wine industry and it seems like tasting rooms are popping up all over the Central Coast.  Just like my own culinary philosophy, I appreciate the way that a great winemaker can concentrate the terroir of their vineyard into their own creative expression.

 

What is your ultimate day off meal?  There is nothing better than inviting over some friends, firing up the barbecue and enjoy a simple meal with some great wine and cheese.  (Preferably with minimal pot and pan use to facilitate cleaning up later!)

 

Join Chef John Cox – March 5-8, 2015 #TasteandSavor2015 at The Broadmoor!

 

 


Tasting Blog- Meet Frank Bonanno, Bonanno Concepts

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Meet – Frank Bonanno, Bonanno Concepts

 

Frank Bonanno Headshot photo by Rachel Nobrega

 

 

The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Chefs

 

Describe your cooking philosophy in one sentence:

My cooking philosopy?  I always seek to create clean dishes with simple, great ingredients.

What is your earliest food memory?

 Watching Julia Child with my mom.

Who is or was your biggest culinary influence?

Fernand Point, without a doubt.

Name your favorite food city and why.

Denver is my favorite food city.  We have such great chefs in Denver.

What food item or dish is your guilty pleasure? 

Definitely Mac & Cheese or a Philly Cheese Steak.

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

Wine – White Burgundy.

What is your ultimate day off meal?

A big salad.  I love making a traditional Nicoise Salad.  My sons crave it too.

 

Frank Bonanno is the chef and proprietor of Bonanno Concepts, a Denver restaurant group that’s the umbrella to some of the city’s most established restaurants and bars: Mizuna, Luca, Osteria Marco, Bones, Green Russell, Wednesday’s Pie, Russell’s Smokehouse, Lou’s Food Bar, Vesper Lounge and Salt & Grinder. Frank is a graduate of the University of Denver Daniels College of Business and the Culinary Institute of American located in Hyde Park, NY. He has authored two cookbooks, received multiple James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist nominations, and hosts a PBS show called Chef Driven where he travels across the state visiting Colorado makers and cooking along the way.