Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SV Food & Wine Fest broadens its tent

Express Staff Writer

John Turenne will give a pizza-grilling demo concentrating on unique, healthy and tasty cooking methods that are easy and affordable. Photo by

Enjoying the delectable cuisine and wines of Idaho and the Pacific Northwest is what makes the Sun Valley Food and Wine Festival an intriguing event to kick start the summer in the Wood River Valley. The festival is evolving and growing even in down economic times, and for the third year will feature some of the top chefs in the country.

This year the festival's main tent will be at Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge in Sun Valley, featuring cooking demonstrations. This exciting addition to the festival was made possible by Viking's kitchen equipment. Viking's Executive Chef Vaughn Hobbs, who is based in Denver, Colo., will present a demonstration on Saturday from 5-6 p.m.

The festival will also feature several vintner dinners on Friday and Saturday at area restaurants, which will pair wines and local chef menus for an educational and tasty food and wine experience. Vintner dinners are at an additional cost to a separate price from festival passes. For a listing of restaurants, visit

Returning for a second year will be John Tesar, one of Manhattan's best regarded chefs. He plans to dazzle foodies again with his own sustainable version of a surf and turf—Modern Steak and Sustainable Seafood. Tesar has over 15 years of experience as an accomplished chef in several top-notch restaurants including the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Texas, and The Inn at Quogue in the Hamptons.

Another returning chef to the festival is Portland's Cory Schreiber, owner of Wildwood and the James Beard Award winner in 1998 for Best Chef Pacific Northwest. He will feature his new dessert cookbook, "Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumble, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies and More," with co-author Julie Richardson. Richardson was a resident of Ketchum in the 1990s and owned the Good Earth Bakery. She owns Baker & Spice in Portland and was an integral part of growing the Portland Farmers Market.

In addition, Portland's Vitaly and Kimberly Paley of Paley's Place are making a visit to the festival. Receipts of the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest in 2005, the Paleys are committed to bringing sustainable, delicious food to the table and connecting diners to growers.

Changing food practices to eat locally have been adopted by many valley residents, but when institutions are involved, the idea of sustainability takes on a bigger commitment. St. Luke's Wood River Foundation will bring the president and founder of Sustainable Food Systems, John Turenne, to the festival to share his success in creating institutional sustainable food programs. Turenne has been assisting St. Luke's for several months in creating a sustainable food program at the hospital.

"John Turenne is both nourishing people with real food and helping to transform agriculture in this country," said Alice Waters, executive chef and owner of the Chez Panisse restaurant and foundation as well as a leading sustainable food advocate

Turenne said sustainable food is environmentally friendly, supports the local economy and promotes good health.

"St. Luke's is making changes in all of those areas," he said.

Turenne's goal for the hospital was to convert its food service program to a sustainable model which, he has been doing for institutions around the country since he was the Aramark director of sustainable dining at Yale University, where he also served as executive chef for the Yale Sustainable Food Project and for Yale University food services from 1999 to 2005.

"Our society has accepted very processed, quick and easy food," Turenne said. "Food doesn't have to be costly. I come from an industry of working in schools, colleges and hospitals where I was the person to provide food as inexpensively as possible."

Turenne will present a demonstration on grilled pizza on Sunday, June 14, at 1 p.m. The pizza is a menu item at St. Luke's and will include a version with grilled trout among other local and delicious fresh vegetables and cheeses.

"Administrators, food service operators and cooks are the real champions of the programs," he said. "What I do is spark the fire and keep it stoked."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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