Schmoozing with the Stars at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

Leslie Kelly
Washington winemaker Charles Smith and Seattle mag food writer Leslie Kelly

Jacques Pepin shook my hand and called me cherie. Talk about the ultimate Rocky Mountain High!

I’m at the 30th annual Aspen Food & Wine Classic, where it’s perfectly possible to bump into the A-list culinary talent. The people who put the celebrity into celebrity chef.

So far, I’ve seen Mario Batali hugging it out with Jose Andres. I had my photo snapped with Marcus Samuelson. Andrew Zimmern, Giada De Laurentiis,  Emeril and Bobby Flay are here, along with 5,000 consumers who have forked over more than $1,000 to feast, drink and learn.

So far, one of the highlights was a pre-funk pool party last night hosted by Washington state winemaker Charles Smith. A huge crowd of industry folks mixed and mingled while tasty apps were passed that would thrill your average stoner: Mini corndogs, bite-size pizza, lobster mac-n-cheese, blissful desserts.

No sign yet of Madison Park Conservatory’s Cormac Mahoney or Blaine Wetzel from Willows Inn. But I will track them down at their demos in the Tasting Pavillion. Stay tuned.