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Apres Tasting Reels in Foodies
Wednesday, March 20, 2024


There was a tangible air of excitement in the air as the Sun Valley Culinary Institute hosted its inaugural Apres Ski Tasting Saturday at Ketchum's Limelight Hotel.

After all, one of the chefs serving up tasty bites was Jonathon Sawyer, a James Beard Award winner from Chicago. Ethan Stowell lay claim to "Food & Wine's” Best New Chef All-Star title, Britt Rescigno had taken down Bobby Flay on "Beat Bobby Flay" and John Sundstrom was a James Beard Award winner from Seattle.

They had spent the first few days of the Food & Wine Celebration in joyous lockstep as they created special dishes for a Gala Dinner and cooking demonstrations. But each also had a competitive streak in them that couldn't be denied as they concocted and set out small bites for the tasting.

As a result, attendees were greeted with Rescigno’s bright yellow Eggs on Egg made up with egg yolks with smoked chives and smoked trout roe.

Sawyer laid out an Italian sando featuring marinated Wagyu beef on crostini, topped with a mix of celery, carrot and onions.

Vintage’s Rodrigo Herrera laid out homemade seaweed sesame chips made of glutinous rice flour and sesame seeds topped with plump scallops and Idaho caviar, while Stowell prepared  crabcakes with cilantro and other seasonings.

Sun Valley Culinary Institute students prepared samosas with cilantro and two types of chutney, while Limelight Hotel chefs served up an array of pizzas, including a Mexican Tiger Shrimp Scampi pizza that oozed with deliciousness.

And Chef Nadina Keller offered a sweet touch to finish with an array of gelatos in lavender, pistachio, mint chip, caramel and other flavors.

As attendees milled around, meeting and greeting old friends, a representative for Cazadores mixed up Ginger Espresso Martinis, in addition to offering samples of Blanco, Reposado, Cristalino, Anejo and Cafe tequilas, which had tasters commenting on its smoothness.

Nearby, Party Animal Vodka, which just opened a boutique mixing room in Hailey, served up a Party Animal cocktail, while vintners offered samples of their specialties. Among them, AXR, a boutique winery in the Napa Valley whose wines are handcrafted by a Swiss winemaker.

Among those doing the tasting was Don Anderson, who splits his time between Sun Valley and Florida. He has long been involved in restaurant management and, so, observing the Apres Tasting on a warm bluebird ski day in March was of particular interest.

"I wish they had a larger variety of cocktails," he said. "But watching the chefs try to out-compete one another is fun. They each crank it up a notch trying to outdo one another. I love the Sun Valley Culinary Institute--the events they have are first class, whether it's the fondue event I went to a couple weeks ago or events like this."

Sun Valley Culinary Institute board member Rick LeFaivre said he was only too happy to sample the unique foods served up by top chefs.

“I’m delighted to see all the people here,” he said. "It's a great way to sample some unique foods served up by great chefs. Every year the Food & Wine Celebration gets better and better."

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