Telluride Wine Festival Welcomes Renowned Guest Chefs

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June 6, 2006

TELLURIDE, CO — (News Release) - In what truly may be the epitome of haute cuisine, a quintet of renowned chefs from near, wide and far is heading for the Colorado High Country later this month to take part in the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival — the longest-running event of its kind in the Rocky Mountains.

"The lineup of chefs for our 2006 event is outstanding — maybe the best ever, says Keith Hampton, the festival's director.

Celebrating its silver anniversary this year, the Telluride Wine Festival presents a schedule chock full of mouth-watering cooking classes, winemakers' luncheons and multi-course dinners prepared by chefs representing a broad range of styles, cuisine, and geography. They are:

--Vitaly Paley of Paley's Place in Portland, Ore., named "Best Chef of the Northwest by the James Beard Foundation in 2005.

--Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo., recognized last year as one of the "Top 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine.

--Ana Sortun of Restaurant Oleana in Boston, named by the James Beard Foundation as "Best Chef of the Northeast in 2005.

--Donn Wagner of Cazwellas, in Montrose, Colo., recipient of Wine Spectator's "Award of Excellence and named one of the "Top Five Restaurants in Colorado by the National Restaurant Association.

--Pilar Rodriguez, considered a rising star in her native Chile, as well as in Washington D.C., where she's a diplomat of sorts for her country's wines and foods, cooking regularly at the Chilean Embassy.

Held in the historic town of Telluride, high in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado amid stunning views of snowcapped peaks soaring to more than 14,000 feet above sea level, the Telluride Wine Festival is unique, indeed. The four-day event features more than six dozen wineries from around the world pouring their finest at venues throughout town, as well as in Mountain Village, just a gondola ride away.

Besides the wine, The Telluride Wine Festival's refined opportunities in culinary education are what draw many festival patrons.

Chef Paley goes to work Friday, June 23, hosting the first of two cooking demonstrations, "In the Kitchen with Vitaly Paley, in which he will share the creative approach, techniques and philosophy at the heart of exceptional cuisine. The culinary education continues Saturday, June 24, with "In the Kitchen with Ana Sortun, in which she shares the ingredients, flavors, techniques and style behind her award-winning Mediterranean cuisine.

Chef Mackinnon-Patterson then takes over in late Saturday afternoon, hosting "An Afternoon in Fruili, presented by Frasca Food and Wine with his partner, Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey. The pair will offer up tastes of several dishes from the special region of Italy — the Friuli-Venezia Giulia — that inspired their renowned Boulder restaurant.

Festival patrons also may attend two midday Winemakers' Luncheons. Friday, Chef Sortun and Chef Rodriquez join forces to prepare a multi-course meal in which each dish is paired with up to three wines. Chef Paley and Chef Wagner combine for their own culinary extravaganza on Saturday.

Saturday night is the grand finale, when all five chefs unite at the Patron's Gala Dinner and Annual Auction. Each chef prepares a dish — the unifying theme, of course, being the special wines selected especially for the event.

Nobody seems more excited to be part of the 25th anniversary Telluride Wine Festival's culinary program more than Chef Rodriguez, a product of L'Ecole d'Art Culinaire Le Cordon Bleu, in Paris, whose career highlights include cooking for former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and opera singer Placido Domingo.

"I am so looking forward to it, says Rodriguez. "I think these kinds of experiences are really valuable for a chef. Everybody has their own way, and you always learn something. Cooking definitely is about experiences.

Despite its stature among wiine and culinary festivals and its reputation for haute cuisine, the Telluride Wine Festival is a nonprofit organization. This year, all proceeds will be donated to local charities, including the Telluride Medical Capital Fund.

For more information about the 25th anniversary Telluride Wine Festival, or to buy tickets, visit www.telluridewinefestival.com or call (970) 728-3178.