Highlights and lowlights from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
By the time the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen ended yesterday afternoon, I'd already seen a whole posse of amateurs puke; another man suffer a seizure just after chef Michael Symor ended a fantastic cooking demo devoted to pork belly; Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg locking arms with knifed Top Chef contestant, air-kisser, fan favorite, flirt and fabulous dresser Fabio Viviani; Giada De Laurentiis, who weighs all of two ounces, crediting portion control and six small meals a day for her Hollywood abs; Mario Batali bitching about his bumpy flight into Denver; and Jacques Pepin and his daughter Claudine, who lives in Denver, smiling for the flashbulbs more often than Paris Hilton.
Now that it's all over and I've recovered -- at least partially --here's a recap of the weekend's highlights and lowlights:
1. Spanish chef and molecular gastronomy wizard Jose Andres sweating like a pig, bantering with PBS TV chef Ming Tsai and hamming it up for the cameras while cooking his ass off during a private party where the main event was two spit-roasted lambs.
2. The complete and utter awkwardness between Top Chef judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons during the pair's Top Chef cooking demonstration, which was as boring as it was uncomfortable.
3. Every single taste of the spectacular pea soup from David Chang, exec chef at New York's Momofuko and a 2006 Food & Wine Best New Chef winner, who cooked at this year's Best New Chefs dinner. (Speaking of the Best New Chefs dinner, as soon as I get home, I'm booking flights for Los Angeles and Portland for no other reason than to have dinner at Animal (LA) and Beast (Portland), because the names rock and so did their food.)
4. Listening to the voyeurs, gossip-mongers and stalkers wage bets on whether Rosenberg and Leah Cohen, the two cookers caught snogging on Top Chef, are, in fact, a couple. I know and I'm not telling.
5.. Scoring a pair of creamsicle orange Crocs for Jason Sheehan at a party hosted by the Croc hawker himself, Mario Batali, who didn't change his shoes all weekend long.
6. Major highlight! Not spotting Bobby Flay once during the entire weekend. Was he even there?
7. Seeing our homeboy, Hosea, win the Sunday morning Iron Chef smackdown between himself and Top Chef Season Four conqueror Stephanie Izard, who was relegated to cooking ourtside during the opening party Thursday night, which easily made her the weekend's top trooper since it poured rain -- and she somehow didn't knife the genuis who made that call.