Thursday, February 14, 2013

Broadmoor's Salute to Escoffier is food heaven

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Tournedos Rossini at the cooking demonstration: A pan-toasted crouton under filet, a disc of lightly grilled foie gras and a shaving of black truffle.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Tournedos Rossini at the cooking demonstration: A pan-toasted crouton under filet, a disc of lightly grilled foie gras and a shaving of black truffle.

Last weekend brought the Broadmoor's 11th annual Salute to Escoffier, a three-day focus on food that benefits both the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation, and the Broadmoor’s culinary-apprenticeship program. All told, it's packed with enough butter and booze that you'll be craving an apple at the end of it. (See here for previous coverage of the event in year's past.)

It started Friday night, with a reception in the Lake Terrace dining room, where small-plate offerings from the hotel's various restaurants — including the newest, not-yet-opened spot Play, in the new bowling alley — were consumed with varieties of champagne and jazzy renditions of "Cast Your Fate to the Wind." Guest-of-honor author N.M. Kelby introduced her book White Truffles in Winter, a fictional account of the life of famed chef Georges Auguste Escoffier.

"I have to tell you that Escoffier is a man I love," she began, with a grin. "When I was a young girl my mother used to always pull down the Escoffier cookbook. She was from Paris, and she was shot during the war, and she would be transported back to the Paris of her youth by cooking his wonderful, wonderful recipes.

"And so I grew up in the shadow of Escoffier, but I knew nothing about him. And when my mother died I inherited the cookbook; and I started to read the cookbook. And if you’ve ever read Ma Cuisine [or his other books], they’re very funny — he’s kind of a rake. And when you read them in French, they’re actually a little, you know, dirty. I mean, some of these descriptions — I mean, seriously? “The Breasts of a Virgin”? This is my dessert tonight? How do you explain that when you deliver it to the table? It’s, like, who is this guy?

"And I started doing some research, and it turns out that Escoffier was a very short man. He was so short he couldn’t even reach the stove, and he actually had special shoes created for him so that he could safely cook. And I thought, ‘Oh my God: Here’s the guy who couldn’t reach the stove, and he became the greatest chef of all time. Really?’ OK, he got really interesting then."

From there, the weekend continued with a cooking demonstration early in the morning, a wine luncheon at the Penrose Room, and a cocktail class later, all capped off in the evening by the Granddaddy of Them All: the grand buffet in the International Center across the street, attended by local food folk like Franco Pisani of Paravicini's Italian Bistro, and Dave Brackett of Pizzeria Rustica and TAPAteria. Eater Denver said "the selection of food was overwhelming." Westword called it a "culinary odyssey." As some of the photos below show, it was just a hell of a time.

If you've got a few nickels to rub together, maybe stow 'em away for next year.

From the kitchen of the Penrose Room, at the opening reception: crispy pork belly and roasted tenderloin.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • From the kitchen of the Penrose Room, at the opening reception: crispy pork belly and roasted tenderloin.

A sunny afternoon at the Penrose Room, where eaters dined on striped-bass escabeche, braised short ribs, and an amazing chocolate-anise custard.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • A sunny afternoon at the Penrose Room, where eaters dined on striped-bass escabeche, braised short ribs, and an amazing chocolate-anise custard.

A proper Sidecar cocktail. The notes say Dilute every cocktail by 25 percent; Juice [centric] = shake, spirits [centric] = stir gently.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • A proper Sidecar cocktail. The notes say "Dilute every cocktail by 25 percent"; "Juice [centric] = shake, spirits [centric] = stir gently."

Salty caviar, crème fraîche and blinis preceded the nights highlight.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Salty caviar, crème fraîche and blinis preceded the night's highlight.

A view of the overwhelming selection just of bread and cheese at the grand buffet. This centerpiece of the room was stylishly unveiled in the middle of the dinner with a drop of ceiling-high drapes.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • A view of the overwhelming selection just of bread and cheese at the grand buffet. This centerpiece of the room was stylishly unveiled in the middle of the dinner with a drop of ceiling-high drapes.

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