SF Bay Area Invades 33rd Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

Galdones Photography/FOOD & WINE
Celebrity chefs join FOOD & WINE Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin and Publisher Christina Grdovic to toast Chef Jacques Pépin in honor of his 80th birthday on the top of Aspen Mountain at the Publisher’s Party.

Photo Credit: Galdones Photography/FOOD & WINE

The San Francisco Bay Area, being the food and wine hub that it is, was naturally well-represented at the 33rd annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, America’s premiere culinary weekend which took place June 19-21. Chef Tyler Florence, McEvoy Ranch proprietor Nion McEvoy and ONEHOPE winery in Napa Valley played a part in the festivities that featured a star-packed line-up of culinary masters and trendsetters, including celebrity chefs and wine experts Hugh Acheson, Richard Blais, Carla Hall, Kristin Kish, Tim Love, Danny Meyer, Morimoto, Mark Oldman, Jacques Pépin, Marcus Samuelsson, Sang Yoon, Andrew Zimmern, Christina Tosi, Jordan Salcito, Patrick Capiello and Anthony Bohlinger. Drew Barrymore, Pink and John Salley were among the famous faces on hand as well.


Tyler  Florence

Tyler  Florence demonstrates how to make his famous fried chicken, available at Wayfare Tavern.
Tyler Florence demonstrates how to make his famous fried chicken, available at Wayfare Tavern.

Photo Credit: Galdones Photography/FOOD & WINE

Florence, whose popular Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco celebrated its fifth anniversary on June 21, had full houses at his two seminars, where he shared his recipe for Wayfare Tavern’s famous fried chicken. He credits his wife Tolan Clark for suggesting he put the chicken on the menu. He said Wayfare Tavern does 200 orders of fried chicken a day and the dish accounts for one quarter of the $10 million in annual sales the eatery did last year. “Wayfare Tavern is the home that fried chicken built,” he said at the seminar.  At the demonstration, Florence threw in a couple of marijuana buds when he fried his herbs. “Our version of Wayfare Tavern fried chicken is kind of a Rocky Mountain high,” he joked. Florence also gave the attendees a sneak peek at his new app, Yumavore, which is expected to launch later this summer and will be a way for peer-to-peer sharing of recipes worldwide. This app is so haute that it even is expected to give you a recipe based on what you have in your kitchen. “I think this is my life’s work,” Florence told the obviously impressed group. Look for him on the cover of the November Food & Wine.

McEvoy Ranch

Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman at the party
Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman at the Taste of the Golden State party

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

Nion McEvoy, the proprietor of McEvoy Ranch, and winemaker Blake Yarger hosted “Taste of the Golden State,” a cocktail party on the roof of the Aspen Art Museum to celebrate the company’s first appearance at the Food & Wine Classic. Best known for being one of the country’s largest producers of organic olive oil, McEvoy Ranch wines, which debuted two years ago, were in this spotlight this time. McEvoy Ranch’s 2012 Pinot Noir The Evening Standard was featured in Oldman’s seminar, “Best Wines for Spice Lovers.” That was the perfect reason to throw a bash!

At the party, guests indulged in McEvoy Ranch’s three wines [the company also produces Red Piano Red Blend and Rosebud Rosé], olive oil and olive oil-enriched body care line, “80 Acres,” a nod to the 80 acres of Italian olive trees that thrive on the ranch in Petaluma and noshed on tasty bites catered by the Caribou Club [McEvoy Ranch’s 2015 traditional blend olive oil was drizzled on everything from local fruits and vegetables to Lemon & Kaffir Lime Sorbet], including scrumptious foie gras tacos that we couldn’t get enough of. Revelers kicked up their heels to the Jackson Emmer Band, which describes its style as “classic back porch Americana.” McEvoy, a member of the board of trustees for SFJAZZ, mingled with guests, who included Jazz Aspen founder Jim Horowitz and his wife Nicole Giantonio.

“I love the Food & Wine Classic,” enthused McEvoy, who brought along his partner Leslie Berriman to Aspen and during the weekend reminisced with Pépin about his visit to McEvoy Ranch with Julia Child.  “The reception to our wines has been good. I’ve been pleased by it. I’ve been very encouraged by it.”

Asked what’s next for the brand that also includes book publishing in its portfolio, McEvoy said, “It was my mother [Nan Tucker McEvoy, who passed away in March] who started McEvoy Ranch in the early 90s. It still has a little ways to go to fulfill its promise and capacity. I’m hoping to build the wine program and the body care program while maintaining the olive oil as our keystone and see where it leads us.”


Jake Kloberdanz, John Elway and Jeff Sperbeck
Jake Kloberdanz, John Elway and Jeff Sperbeck

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

We also hit the launch party at the Hotel Jerome for John Elway’s Reserve, a partnership between the former star quarterback of the Denver Broncos [he’s now the team’s General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations] and ONEHOPE winery in Rutherford.

“The wine was kind of the next step for us,” Elway, who starred at Stanford, told Haute Living. He’s known for his successful business ventures, which include restaurants and car dealerships in Colorado. “Like I always say, I had a lot of [business] success but the reason I’ve had this success is because I know how to pick good partners. That’s my strongest point. That’s why we’ve chosen ONEHOPE.”

ONEHOPE has a Signature Series, where VIPs make their own wine for charity. Musician Darius Rucker and Los Angeles Dodger Clayton Kershaw are two of the boldface names with their own wines; NBA star Chris Paul will debut his next month in Las Vegas. However, the partnership with Elway is the first time ONEHOPE has done a wine where it is the supplier, exclusive source and distributor somebody else’s brand, says Jake Kloberdanz, CEO and Co-Founder of ONEHOPE.

“We thought the Elway brand was really strong and John was a perfect fit for the wine-drinking demographic,” Kloberdanz told us at the bash. “When we had the opportunity to do something with him, we said we need to do something bigger than our normal Signature Series. It turns out that John and his (business) partner Jeff wanted to do wine for a while. For about five years they wanted to launch the Elway Reserve brand. We made it happen.”

The tastemakers on hand were the first to enjoy the 2014 Carneros Chardonnay and 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, co-created by ONEHOPE and Rob Mondavi Jr. The wine was thieved the day before the event, shipped overnight to Aspen and a huge hit!

“I am competitive,” Elway said to the crowd. “I look forward to making this the best wine possible.”

The 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet is a merge of dark fruits (dark berries) and spiciness from American oak barrels. The 2014 Carneros Chardonnay is full of crisp tropical fruit(apple and pear) with hints of vanilla. Starting in September, the wine will be available for purchase at Elway’s Steakhouses, as well as, other fine dining restaurants in Colorado and California. It will also be available for online purchase at SevenWines.com. The cabernet will be approximately $75 and the chardonnay will be $35


Photo credit: Galdones Photography/FOOD & WINE and Erik Roush