ASPEN — A defunct lounge space at the St. Regis Aspen Resort has been retooled as an open-kitchen restaurant where teams of chefs named Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine will showcase their talents with rotating seasonal menus.
Chefs Club by Food & Wine, part of the $40 million redesign of the St. Regis, will open in June in conjuction with the 30th annual Food & Wine Classic.
The inaugural team of four Best New Chefs are 2011 winner George Mendes of Aldea Restaurant in New York; 2011 winner James Lewis of Bettola in Birmingham, Ala.; 2008 winner Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s in New Orleans; and 2010 winner Alex Seidel, chef-owner at Fruition in Denver.
“This is an opportunity to work with other great chefs,” Seidel said. “Any time that you can surround yourself in a circle of quality people from around the country, it can only help to offer things you can learn from.”
The four chefs will collaborate on the seasonal menu and train the restaurant’s permanent staff on how to prepare the dishes. The chefs also will appear in the restaurant from time to time. The menus and chefs will change twice annually.
The agreement between the St. Regis and Food & Wine marks the first time a major magazine has entered into a partnership with a private restaurant in the U.S.
Food & Wine has often worked with chefs and restaurants on events, parties, programs and openings. “But this is our first restaurant concept,” said publisher Christina Grdovic.
Food & Wine editors and staff will have a role in the restaurant. Executive wine editor Ray Isle will pair wines with the Best New Chef seasonal dishes. Jim Meehan, deputy editor of Food & Wine Cocktails, will craft an original selection of cocktails.