Food & Wine’s Dana Cowin Dishes on New Event

Food & Wine is introducing its own version of the TED Talk this weekend: Classic Conversations. Moderated by Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin, the morning panel discussions will address the state of affairs in the culinary world as part of the 31st Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. On Friday, Cowin is joined by Anya Fernald, Mario Batali and Chris Consentino for a chat about “The Chef & the Rancher.” As sourcing local and sustainable food becomes more important to consumers and chefs, the relationship between those providing the food and those preparing it has changed.

“This gets to the heart and the American food culture today, “she says. “People are obsessed with eating meat and and people are obsessed with vegetarian. … There’s an enormous conversation about should you meat, what is the best meat to eat, and what does sustainably raised mean.”

On Saturday, the second conversation, “BNC All-Stars,” is a semi-retrospective about the Best New Chefs program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year at the Classic. Panelists include Wylie Dufresne, Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert.

“If you think about when we started that program, chefs were talented and people loved going to restaurants, but it has changed so much over the last 25 years,” she says. By that, she means the nature of celebrity chefs and the constantly evolving need to move forward or transform one’s style.

“Each of these three chefs (panelists) have signature dishes that are loved, but even for themselves they need to think through their dishes and move forward,” says Cowin. “None of them are trendy, but they also need to take the temperature of what people want right now.”

 Both conversations are at 10 a.m. in Theatre Aspen’s tent in Rio Grande Park.