Radio Guest List–ALT/Aspen and the 37th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado–June 22, 2019
This week’s broadcast of Eye on Travel comes from the ALT/Aspen and the 37th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado. First, a news update on the tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic, plus
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Andrew Zimmern, Creator and host of Bizarre Foods, The Zimmern List, and author of AZ and the Lost City of Ophir: Alliance of World Explorers, thinks when you go to the last stop on the subway and go out to the country is when you see the real life of who lives in a city. If you want to meet real people, he says you should go out of the main city and explore. He tries to go to the furthest places he can and works his way back in. He thinks it’s hard to get in touch with real people. He is creating an entertainment program, not trying to lecture people. He loves traveling with his son, who is a big adventurer, which has also led him to doing more adventure centered travel.
Geoffrey Zakarian, Owner of seven restaurants, including Point Royal, and frequent judge on Chopped, speaks about the menu he’s created at his restaurant, The Lamb’s Club, and how it was designed to fill you up but not weigh you down. He also speaks about some of the surprising places he is going to expand to, such as Doha, Qatar. Then, he shares how he came to be a chef as well as his rise to stardom on the Food Network.
Rick Balentine, Aspen Fire Chief, discusses how response time is key for any fire department, especially when it comes to wildfires. Acting quickly is what helps keep it contained. He shares that when you live somewhere relatively small like Aspen, when you go to someone’s house for a response, the chances are high that you’ll know the person. One of the best things about living in a community that small is how locals invest in the department. One of the biggest recent examples of this is Boogie Wineglass’ donation of $126,000 so that the department could buy a new fire truck. This fire department is protecting $28 billion of property in Aspen. For visitors, he offers advice. He says to be safe, hydrate, and of course have fun!
Aspen Mayor Torre explains the story of how he ended up with only one name. Then, he speaks to the great wealth in Aspen. The struggle that goes along with that is to keep the community and working class able to live in the town. Aspen has 6,700 people but can swell to 30,000 on busy weekends, and it embraces those weekends –like the Food and Wine Classic’s weekend– because it boosts the economy and celebrates the community. The top of the ladder issue for Aspen is the environment, which is not just about the trees but about making sure that the town and area is still a healthy place for people to live.
Chris Lane, CEO of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, informs us that microplastics are getting into the ocean primarily from rivers. The city of Aspen has banned plastic bags. It’s also working on getting people away from plastic bottles and using reusable containers. Aspen is said to have the cleanest water in the country out of the tap. Then, he talks about the steps that Aspen is doing to help the environment. He says it has the best mass transit system in the state. More people utilize the bus in Aspen than anywhere else in Colorado. He feels that climate change is what the town is most concerned about because it has the ability to destroy skiing resorts.
Marcus Samuelsson, Author of The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem, Producer and Host of No Passport Required, and Owner of the Red Rooster restaurants, talks about the impacts that 9/11 had on cooking in New York and starting his restaurants. He moved from the Time Warner Center to Harlem, where he eventually opened Red Rooster. He always feels like the most traveled person in the room, but that changes when he’s in the room with Peter, who he has known for over 25 years. He also talks about his new cookbook, Our Harlem, which will be featured on Audible and gives you a journey into his dishes and their locations. The traditionally diverse neighborhood of Harlem is celebrated across Samuelsson’s Red Rooster menus. He also explains that sometimes he transports the energy of Harlem but not the cuisine. When he goes to open a restaurant, it boils down to the personal connection he has to the neighborhood.
Hunter Lewis, Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine, gives his view of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and how there’s a different energy here with the “old guard” and the “new guard” both being here. This is where young chefs, sommeliers, and other food industry professionals can meet with each other as well as fans. Then, he speaks about the interesting history of the Food & Wine magazine. Did you know that it originated as an insert in Playboy? He shares more about the evolution of the magazine and the changes he’s seen recently, including the impact of the Me Too movement in the food industry. He’s working to combat the bad rap that the food industry has had in the last few years and is focusing on ways to help restaurants of every size implement better practices.
Drew Nieporent, New York City Restaurateur and part-owner of Myriad Restaurant Group, speaks about his various restaurants and how Nobu has expanded exponentially in the last few years. It’s one thing to open the restaurants, but it’s another to maintain them. What he does to maintain quality is to maintain the quality of the employees by making sure they are making money. When he started this in 1994, he put the sushi chefs into the tip pool. The laws let workers at a counter make tips, and so he wanted to bring the sushi chefs into that. The sushi chefs can make nearly $100,000 a year.
Lissa Ballinger, Curator of the Aspen Institute and Organizer of Bauhaus 100: Aspen celebration, gives us the history of Bauhaus and how the cultural movement ended up in Aspen. It has one of the last surviving total environments of Bauhaus that still exists. The school was considered too radical for the Nationalistic government in 1939. The Bauhaus at the beginning was an art house commune and grew from there. Artists wanted to recreate this movement in Aspen and you can see works and hear lectures on the artistic style throughout the summer in Aspen.
Dennis Tajer, Communications Committee Chairman at the Allied Pilots Association and 737 Pilot, joins the show to discuss what constitutes a new plane and the problematic technology-driven plane testing alternative that is taking away the hands-on test. He comments that several professionals are arguing that pilot training, which entails simulation training to experience problems firsthand as opposed to having to troubleshoot for the first time on the actual plane, is crucial.