It is estimated that there are about 5,000 eateries in New York City, 6,000 in Chicago, and nearly 7,000 in the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles. In Aspen and Snowmass, there are about 150 (and it seems like there are about five anytime you actually want to go out to dinner!).
With the natural restaurant turnover rate, in large cities it is surprisingly conceivable for you to eat at a different place every night of the year for your entire adult life. Here, you can make the rounds in a season — which makes Viceroy Snowmass’ newest culinary program all the more intriguing.
While not quite a novel idea, Viceroy Hotel Group is launching its Chef Exchange Program on Thursday, Feb. 28 in Snowmass. In the first of what will hopefully be a long-running series, Chef Mirko Paderno of the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills will take the reins in Eight K from Thursday to Sunday, Feb. 28-March 3, offering a specially prepared six-course wine-pairing menu.
Paderno honed his modern Italian cuisine while at the Cesare Ritz School in Merano, Italy, before working under renowned Chef Sergio Mei at the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. After departing the Four Seasons, he took a position as the executive chef at Piero Selvaggio’s Primi in Los Angeles, before continuing on to other notable Los Angeles Italian eateries like Celstino Drago, Dolce, Cecconi’s, and All’ Angelo. From there, he embarked on his latest venture: developing and launching Oliverio inside Avalon Hotel. Paderno is known for a style that focuses on flavor first, frequently showcasing local and regional ingredients.
The modern Italian feast will be a departure from the typical Southern-spiced fare at Eight K, which features the NOLA-inspired cuisine of Executive Chef Will Nolan (his full menu will still be available all week). And while there is no shortage of Italian eateries in the area, importing a chef from a much larger, well-known market and with a background like Paderno’s will certainly provide quite the culinary experience.
And as a self-proclaimed Roaring Fork Valley foodie (a term that I’ve come to loathe, especially after a comically dead-on scene in “Parks and Recreation” where foodies were described as people that Instagram food, not eat it) I’m curious to see how our food stacks up to larger markets. I’ve had amazing meals all over the world, but great culinary experiences are often tethered to the experience of the trip in general. So with Viceroy Snowmass’ bringing of the mountain to Mohammed, as it were, we’re given the opportunity to more objectively make an assessment.
And as a guy that frequently treats himself to dinners out on the town, I know the food in Aspen/Snowmass stacks up. It’ll just be nice to prove it.
Chef Paderno will also offer a one-hour cooking class on Saturday, March 2. Taking a cooking class with a renowned chef. The price for the prix fixe wine-pairing dinner is $150, and the cooking class costs $75. To make a reservation for dinner or to reserve a spot in the cooking class, call 970-923-8000.
Wine-pairing Dinner Menu
Cauliflower soufflé with Parmigiano fonduta and freshly shaved black truffle
Spanish octopus alla griglia with borlotti beans alla Toscana
Spaghetti alla chitarra with tartufo and salsiccia all norcina
Risotto carnaroli alla Milanese with veal ossobucco
Filet of branzino in pizzaiola with taggiasca olives, capers, and candied cherry tomatoes
Orecchiette pasta rustichella with spicy rapini and manila clams alla barese