Meet the chef: Jesper Jonsson will lead Wine Country’s Edesia on March 29
WHAT: Edesia VIP Lunch
WHERE: Wine Country Inn; 777 Grande River Dr., Palisade
WHEN: March 29, lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; main event to follow
COST: $125 for the VIP Lunch, plus main event
MORE ABOUT THE CHEF
Before joining the Escoffier educator staff in Boulder, Chef Jesper Jonsson was executive chef at Randolphs at Warwick Hotel in Denver. A native of Denmark, Jonsson trained in France at both Universite Paul Valery and Auguste Escoffier. With a solid background in French cuisine, he moved on to cook in Europe, New York and eventually Colorado for Danish diplomats, royalty, heads of state, captains of industry and a variety of film and sports celebrities. His guest lists have included such luminaries as Princesses Stephanie and Caroline of Monaco, Caroline Kennedy, Yoko Ono, Isabella Rossellini, Clint Eastwood, Roger Moore and Greg Norman, to name a few. He comes by his love for Colorado from having lived and worked on the Western Slope in and owned a popular restaurant in Meeker. Jonsson has participated in Edesia for several years.
SOURCE: Wine Country Inn
When Chef Jesper Jonsson moved to the south of France from Denmark at age 12, he fell in love with the area’s style of cooking.
“That is where all my culinary education took place,” Jonsson said. “There’s a big difference between Scandinavian food and French cooking.”
Food in southern France was “more Italian inspired due to location,” he added.
It wasn’t just the region in which Jonsson grew up that inspired his career as a chef, however.
“My dad was an amateur cook and he was very, very good at it,” he explained, “and we had a family friend who was a chef. I knew early on that I enjoyed cooking and eating.”
According to Jonsson, his style and technique is traditionally French, but the way he uses food products is likely less traditional.
“I like to do a lot of picked vegetables with a traditional dish to lighten it up, which is a traditional Danish way to do things,” he said, noting an affinity for fresh, pickled cucumber.
And when asked to name a favorite ingredient or flavor of the season, he immediately named “wild game.”
“Locally, elk is phenomenal,” Jonsson noted. “I love red meat and mushrooms. I like to use the good products — the ones that taste good. This time of year, we can allow ourselves to use rich ingredients in our cooking. The cooking style in winter is a lot more traditional, and good elk stew is hard to beat.”
Jonsson also enjoys working with seafood, as it requires more skill to pull off.
“As a child I used to not like fish,” he said with a chuckle. “Now, if I am out having a refined meal, fish is definitely my favorite.”
And when Jonsson is craving comfort food, he said he prefers ribeye: “You can’t go wrong with a piece of Angus beef from the Western Slope.”
As far as food trending right now, Jonsson also named a huge demand for pork dishes.
“The desire for restaurants to create pork dishes and do a lot more with cured meat is definitely a big trend,” he explained. “Cured and fermented foods are a step back in time with a new touch.”
At Wine Country’s Edesia fundraiser for Marillac Clinic on March 29, Jonsson will create and prepare the menu for a VIP luncheon, and he will provide chef demonstrations for attendees. Tickets for the VIP Luncheon (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) cost $125 each and are limited. Folks may purchase tickets online or at Wine Country Inn.
“It’s a very traditional French meal,” he said of the menu he’s creating. “I have an affinity with [Auguste] Escoffier. For me Escoffier goes back quite a bit; I tried to make a menu true to his take on food.”
Jonsson is currently chef educator at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder,
According to Jean Tally, co-owner of Palisade’s Wine Country Inn, the reason Jonsson was chosen to lead the resort hotel’s signature event “ … boils down to his philosophy of food preparation: fresh, simple and elegant. He loves Western Colorado and enjoys coming to Wine Country Inn. He’s such a nice man.”
And when asked, “What do you love about food?,” Jonsson replied: “What I like about food is the world that is around it. I have been cooking for a lot of different people, in big settings and in small. My job has always been to try my best to make a social event successful, to enable people to share good times and experiences. It’s important to know [that as a chef] that is ultimately our job.”
Wine Country Inn is located at 777 Grande River Dr., in Palisade. Call 970-464-5777 or visit http://www.coloradowinecountryinn.com for more information.
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