FOOD & WINE Classic In Aspen Tickets On Sale Now, Discount Before March 15

Seems like just yesterday Gadling was announcing the 30th anniversary of the prestigious FOOD & WINE Classic at Aspen, and already the next is almost upon us. Have you scheduled your annual cholesterol screening yet?

This year, from June 14-16, Food & Wine magazine will celebrate 31 years of incredible food and drink in one of the most glorious locations in the Rockies. Join the nation’s top chefs including José Andrés, Jacques Pépin and Marcus Samuelsson, as well as internationally renowned winemakers, master sommeliers, brewmasters, mixologists and food crafters at the most legendary culinary event in the nation.

The three-day weekend also features over 80 cooking demos, wine and interactive seminars, panel discussions, tasting events and classes on food and wine pairing, as well as twice-daily Grand Tastings featuring over 300 winemakers, craft brewers, distillers and specialty food vendors.

New this year are “DIY Sausage” from offal king Chris Cosentino; a “‘Top Chef’ Leftover Challenge” with Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons; “Next Superstar Value Wine” by wine expert Mark Oldman; “Great Cocktail Party Drinks” with über-mixologist Jim Meehan and F & W editor Kate Krader, and “Dim Sum at Home,” with Andrew Zimmern.

Tickets for the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen are $1,150 before March 15, and $1,250 thereafter. There will be also be a la carte ticketed events, including the Last Bite Late Night Dessert Party; additional details will be released in March. To get your tickets (hurry, hurry; it’s always a sell-out), click here.

[Photo credit: Food & Wine magazine]

Enter To Win A Culinary Voyage On The ‘Top Chef’ Cruise!

Have you ever wondered what the dishes on Bravo’s “Top Chef” actually taste like? Here’s your chance to give them a try. Gadling is giving away a chance go out to sea with some of the show’s favorite judges and contestants on a five-day, four-night cruise through Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico, aboard the Celebrity Constellation from April 11-15.

Cruises will be able to come face to face with “Top Chef” judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, plus Hubert Keller and Tim Love from “Top Chef Masters.” A panel of a dozen celebrity chef’testants will compete in quickfire cooking demonstrations and challenges, including:

  • Richard Blais, finalist on “Top Chef: Chicago” (season four) and winner of “Top Chef All Stars” (season eight)
  • Jennifer Carroll, competitor on “Top Chef: Las Vegas” (season six) and “Top Chef All Stars” (season eight)
  • Tiffany Derry, fan favorite on “Top Chef: DC” (season seven) and “Top Chef All Stars” (season eight)
  • Chris Hanmer, winner of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” (season two)
  • Mike Isabella, competitor on “Top Chef: Las Vegas” (season six) and finalist on “Top Chef All Stars” (season eight)
  • Spike Mendelsohn, finalist on “Top Chef: Chicago” (season four) and competitor on “Top Chef All Stars” (season eight)
  • Yigit Pura, winner of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” (season one)
  • Paul Qui, winner of “Top Chef: Texas” (season nine)
  • Hosea Rosenberg, winner of “Top Chef: New York” (season five)
  • Angelo Sosa, finalist on “Top Chef: DC” (season seven) and competitor on “Top Chef All Stars” (season eight)
  • Casey Thompson, competitor on “Top Chef: Miami” (season three)
  • Fabio Viviani, competitor on “Top Chef: New York” (season five) and “Top Chef All Stars” (season eight)

Several of the competitors – Richard Blais, Jennifer Carroll and Spike Mendelsohn – will also be featured on the upcoming “Life After Top Chef,” in which cameras follow beloved former competitors outside the “Top Chef” kitchen.

While aboard the ship, guests will be able to sample food from Top Chefs, take part in a Q&A with the hosts and contestants, watch cooking demonstrations and challenges, and more Top Chef-related activities. There will also be a one-hour cocktail party and all of the world-class entertainment that comes standard on Celebrity ships.

The Top Chef: The Cruise prize includes an ocean view stateroom for two people. All meals, snacks, coffee, tea and juices are included, plus complimentary 24-hour room service. Ship amenities also include two pools, a whirlpool, fitness center, casino, library and duty-free shopping. Retail value of the cruise is $2,796, which includes port taxes, fees and gratuities. Prize does not include transportation to/from Miami.

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us your favorite “Top Chef” contestant. We’ll randomly select one winner from the entries and award him or her the prize. The contest runs through 5 p.m. ET on Friday, November 2, and is open to U.S. residents 18 and over. See the full contest rules here.

Fans of the show will also want to tune in to “Top Chef: Seattle,” the tenth season of the show that premieres Wednesday, November 7 at 10/9c.

New BBC America cooking show combines travel and adventure

It was only a matter of time before all the eating of rats and scorpions on “Survivor” grew tiresome. Perhaps that’s why producer Kevin Greene and “Chopped” producer Chachi Senior created a new cooking series for BBC America that combines exotic locales with dodgy outdoor adventures. There’s just one little catch: there’s no kitchen.

No Kitchen Required” takes 2008 Food & Wine “Best New Chef” Michael Psilakis of New York’s FISHTAG and Kefi, private executive chef Kayne Raymond (aka the resident beefcake), and former “Chopped” champ Madison Cowan, and drops them into ten remote locations to perform some serious hunting and gathering.

After being plunked down in Dominica; Belize; New Zealand; Fiji; Thailand; Hawaii; New Mexico; Louisiana, and Florida, each chef is handed a knife (“Pack your knives and go,” is not a sentence you’ll hear uttered on this series) and a few key ingredients. They’re then left to fish, hunt, forage, and otherwise scrounge up the remaining ingredients to “create a locally-inspired meal that will be judged by the community.”

Despite the gimmicky and somewhat contrived nature of the challenges, there’s a lot to love about this show. It’s fun, innovative, and despite my raging addiction to “Top Chef,” I’m happy to see a cooking show that finally requires the use of local/seasonal ingredients (let’s hope there’s no blow-darting of endangered monkeys or serving of shark fin). Weaving the regional and cultural element into the concept is genius. Braised nutria, anyone?

The series premieres April 3rd.

[Photo credit: © Gilles Mingasson for BBC AMERICA]

Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant opens pop-up donut shop in New York

From now through December 30, 2011, those who find themselves passing through Grand Central Station in New York can visit Flex Donuts. The pop-up donut restaurant is the creation of Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant Zac Young, who is now the executive pastry chef at Flex Mussel’s in New York.

After a successful run of Flex Donuts in the beginning the year, the pop-up is back in full swing, serving up specialties like:

  • Pumpkin and Marshmallow
  • Cranberry
  • Maple Bourbon
  • Concord Grape PB&J
  • Mulled Cider
  • Rum Raisin

These are just some of the flavors you can expect, which will be served by Chef Young himself. Donuts are $3 and under, and you can get them from the takeout area of Zocalo in the Grand Central Dining Concourse from 11:30 AM to 7 PM daily.

Location is at 109 E. 42nd Street.

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen celebrates 29th year; get discount tickets until March 15th

Better put your cardiologist on speed-dial; it’s almost time for the 29th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. The nation’s most-lauded culinary festival will be held June 17-19, featuring food, wine, and cocktail seminars, cooking demos and competitions, grand tastings, and book signings by celebrity chefs like Tom Colicchio, José Andrés, and Michael Symon. Get your tickets before March 15th, and you’ll save $100 off the $1,185 ticket price. Hey, no one said gastronomic blowouts in Colorado’s ski town Shangri-la come cheap.

The price includes attendance at five Grand Tastings, where you can sample the goods from over 300 vineyards, breweries, and distilleries, as well as charcuterie, cheese, olive oil, and chocolate.

Think it sounds a little too high-falutin’? Take note of a few of this year’s witty new seminars: “Sauce on the Side: Wine, Wieners & the Works,” with restaurateur Danny Meyer; “Global Street Food” with chef/one of half of Two Hot Tamales’ Susan Feniger, and “One Pot Meals” with Ming Tsai. Also sure to be popular: “Sophisticated Sipping Rums,” “Top Chef: Salty and Sweet,” with Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio, and “Cheeses and Wine from Spain.”

FOOD & WINE donates two percent of the net proceeds from all Classic tickets sold to Grow for Good, benefiting Wholesome Wave Foundation. Grow for Good is FOOD & WINE’s national initiative dedicated to supporting local farms and encouraging sustainable agriculture. To purchase, call 877-900-WINE or click here.