The hottest new restaurant in Aspen, Colorado, is also one of the hottest new restaurants in the country. Chef’s Club by FOOD & WINE is a unique joint venture between the Forbes Four-Star St. Regis Aspen Resort and FOOD & WINE Magazine. This entirely novel concept involves importing four to eight recipients of the magazine’s annual Best New Chefs award to collaborate on a menu that’s heavily seasonally influenced and focused on fresh local ingredients. The cuisine is comprised solely of individual signature dishes, and each item identifies which chef created it. Then, every six months, the culinarians rotate, and new winners draft an entirely original menu, keeping the establishment contemporary and constantly evolving. The décor and artwork, featuring mostly Aspen locals such as Peter Lik, also changes bi-annually. In fact, the only constant at Chef’s Club is its centerpiece, open show-kitchen with counter seating and a chef’s table.
Chef’s Club opened last June in time for Aspen’s famed summertime Food and Wine Festival, and the second slate of chefs currently running the show took over in December: Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern, Portland, Oregon; Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat, Cleveland; Kevin Willmannof Farmhaus, St. Louis, Missouri; and Matt Lightner of Atera, New York. Some of the current menu’s standout dishes include Louis’ Ricotta, Sage and Fennel Fritters and her Sorcetti, a spin on gnocchi, served with braised Colorado lamb shoulder; Willmann’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Jalapeno Doughnut; Sawyer’s “Properly Butchered” dry aged Rib Steak; and Lightner’s Lamb Tartare.
In keeping with the theme, FOOD & WINE’s executive wine editor, Ray Isle, also creates a customized wine list for each seasonally rotating menu, curating the wines for suggested meal pairings. Mixologist Jim Meehan, author of FOOD & WINE Cocktails, has created an original cocktail selection for the restaurant. Drawing from local ingredients, one of Meehan’s libations include the Colorado Comfort, an updated version of the whiskey sour featuring Rocky Mountain peach flavored whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Kosher Like Me