Local chef looks to elevate career with Food & Wine opportunity | Arts & Entertainment

There’s something particularly charming about hearing the word “yo” amid the thousands of amateur-tasting remarks echoing throughout the Grand Tasting Pavilion at Wagner Park.

That “yo” belonged to local chef — of Food Network fame, for several reasons — Emily Oyer.

During the first Grand Tasting event on Friday morning, Oyer stood with pride beside her booth in the Pavilion. Because among the distillers, wine-makers and culinary ambassadors from around the world, Oyer claimed her spot as a local vendor at this year’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

“As soon as I found out I was in the tent, I was like, ‘Yo, yo I did it,’” Oyer said. “I got it.”

Stationed in the west tent, Oyer represents her most recent culinary enterprise Elevated Eats, a private catering company that offers curated cuisine — and at times, cannabis infused cuisine.

As the former executive chef at Jimmy’s American Restaurant and Bar — a long time local Aspen establishment that closed its doors this past fall after a 24-year run — Oyer has experience in catering to the Aspen community. She’s also well-versed in the high-end marijuana market having worked at the luxury dispensary and retail store in town known as Dalwhinnie Farms.

When her chapter at Jimmy’s came to an end, Oyer said she “put blinders on” and asked herself: “How can I grow?”

The chef’s new Elevated Eats endeavor is indeed on a growing track. She’s been featured on the Food Network in episodes of both “Chopped 420” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” and whether cooking on camera or in an intimate home setting, she hopes to continue elevating her flavors and career.

“With Elevated Eats, I’m bringing the restaurant experience of someone’s dreams directly to their home — cannabis infused or not, whatever they want,” Oyer said. “That’s my goal.”

Exhibiting her cuisine at the renowned F&W Classic is an unreal feeling for the local chef. When it comes to being a part of this year’s event as a local chef, Oyer’s excitement and gratitude was evident in her voice and palpable through her expressions, even amid the loud, drunken chatter surrounding her booth.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet to be completely honest with you… it’s unbelievable,” the chef said.

In terms of the application process to get a booth in the Pavilion, Oyer explained how she received an email from the Food & Wine team regarding applications for specifically local vendors. Though submissions had already closed on the F&W website, local players in the culinary field had until mid-May to apply for a booth, Oyer said.

And the passionate chef took the opportunity, applying with no expectations of being accepted.

“When I applied, I didn’t think that I would get it,” Oyer said. “Not that I didn’t have confidence in myself, but because when I asked how many people do apply, they said, ‘We had a lot this year.’”

To pay for the costs of utensils and food supplies that would last a full weekend of feeding thousands of people, Oyer’s godparents sponsored her endeavors, she said.

Though showcasing Elevated Eats in the Grand Tasting Pavilion for the first time marks a milestone in Oyer’s culinary career, the chef is not a new face to the opportune tasting tent experience. At last year’s Food & Wine Classic, she was seen cooking up sweet treats behind the booth of Red Belly Honey — a California-based honey brand that offers products made from “hemp honey infused by bees, not humans,” according to their labeling.

Red Belly is back in the tent this year and the CBD-infused brand was among some of the first to make way at the premier culinary event in Aspen (2019 was the first year that cannabis companies came to the Classic).

Oyer is not exhibiting her niche cannabis infused cuisine at the booth this weekend. Nevertheless, her Elevated Eats offerings have received high praise.

During the first Grand Tasting, Oyer serves samples of her summer squash soup — which somehow holds a light and creamy flavor in one small slurp, leaving a refreshing hint-of-mint aftertaste. At the afternoon tasting, she and her supportive team — composed of her parents and soon-to-be wife — are passing out pieces of focaccia with candied hazelnuts, gorgonzola cheese, local honey and black mission fig.

Oyer explained how serving the rich bread dish at the second tasting was intentional — catering to the typically drunker crowds.

Throughout the weekend, Oyer said she hopes to network as much as possible and get her name out there among the pristine culinary scene that Food & Wine brings to town.

“I want everyone to know that there are other people than these huge names you see all over the place that can do exactly what you want them to do,” she said. “That’s kind of what I want to show, like, hey, this little person that doesn’t look like much can do a lot.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.