I was invited to Stowe, Vermont to broadcast from the Stowe Wine and Food Classic, a festival of wine and foods to be paired by chefs, winemakers and purveyors from throughout the culinary world. The headliners were nationally known winemakers and chefs who joined their colleagues based in the Green Mountain State to dazzle the crowd with their creations. The pairings were expert, even artistic. What I found most impressive was that two of the primary artists were from Rhode Island. One is a leading Providence restaurateur, the other an up-and-coming chef who helped launch two restaurants in the Ocean State between stints up north in ski country.
The event brought top winemakers and chefs headlined by the founder of Ravenswood Winery, Joel Peterson, one of the leading producers of Zinfandel wine in the world, and his son, Morgan Twain Peterson, who founded his own winery, Bedrock Wine Co.
The Wine and Food Classic was held at the Trapp Family Lodge, perched on its own mountaintop in the shadow of Mount Mansfield. The executive chef at Trapp is Kim Lambrechts, who recently returned to Vermont from two executive-chef positions in Rhode Island. Lambrechts was executive chef, as well as food-and-beverage director at Forty One North in Newport and the Stone House in Little Compton. His time in our state had an influence on his cooking, as we would see.
Before cooking in Newport County, Lambrechts served as food & beverage director at Stowe Mountain Lodge, just up the mountain road from our weekend festival location. Of course in Vermont, everything is just up or down the road.
Opening the festival, which was held over the first weekend of the summer season, was a familiar Providence chef. Matt Jennings conducted a tasting of the cheeses of Vermont and a pairing not with wine but with local craft beer. The two-time James Beard-nominated chef left Farmstead, his artisan boutique, and its adjacent La Laiterie bistro, for the weekend to return to the Green Mountains.