[click "Play" to hear Bouqion interview]
You may hear unfamiliar murmurings on the streets of Telluride this weekend. The conversation won’t be about dogs on sacred tracts of land or the local economy.
The talk may be about “terroir” versus technology. This weekend is all about drinking wine, consuming copious amounts of fabulous food. It is the 28th annual Telluride Wine Festival.
The French word “terroir,” from a Latin root meaning “earth,” describes the relationship between a given wine and the place that wine comes from. The ongoing debate in the wine world about “terroir” versus technology asks the question: Is wine about some place or about the expertise of someone, aided by technology? At its heart, however, the debate is all about the Old World, meaning primarily France, telling the New World, meaning places like Napa, it’s all about the land stupid: We have had it for centuries. You are upstarts.
It seemed that until 1976 in Paris, when an American Cabernet trumped a French Bordeaux in blind tasting, the preeminence of French wines was taken for granted, much like the mastery of Italian shoemakers – or French chefs.
Alain Ducasse, was named “the world’s best cook” in 2003 by the American Academy of Hospitality and Sciences and he is the only chef within the Michelin Guide to hold three stars in three countries. Daniel Boulud, who has lived and worked in the U.S. for 25 years, is the chef-owner of a number of fine restaurants, including “Daniel,” touted by the International Herald Tribune in 1993, when it opened in Manhattan, as one of the “Ten Best Restaurants in the World.” Boulud became famous in Manhattan for using seasonal ingredients bought from local purveyors whenever possible. He was way ahead of the curve on the now familiar subject of Slow Food and locavores.
Bertrand Bouquin worked for both Ducasse and Boulud. The young chef returns to town this weekend to strut his stuff at the 28th annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 25– June 28. He is giving a cooking demonstration at the Oak Street Plaza, 2:30 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, 11:30 a.m., he is preparing a luncheon at Allred’s.
Bouquin began his restaurant apprenticeship at 16, working near Lyon and in the south of France. At Bastide de Gordes, Ducasse was was consulting chef. His first sous chef position was at a Michelin three-star (top rating) restaurant, Restaurant Bruneau, in Belgium.
In 1997, the young chef fulfilled a childhood dream to visit America, where he got a job at Boulud’s Daniel. In 2000, Bertrand left Daniel for Pebble Beach, CA. for the top slot at Club XIX, where he produced contemporary French cuisine with a California accent — dishes such as scallop and oyster ceviche with cilantro and lime; sautéed Monterey Bay Abalone; Chilean Sea Bass with Provencal Crust.
Before joining the team of first-tier chefs at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, where he works his magic today at the Summit and Penrose Room, Bouquin was the executive chef at the exclusive Mobil five-star Maisonette in Cincinnati. The Penrose is the only five-diamond restaurant in the state of Colorado.
To learn more about what Bertrand has planned for the Telluride Wine Festival, press the “play” button and listen to his podcast.