Besame cooks up successful night at James Beard House |

Besame cooks up successful night at James Beard House

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After months of preparation and anticipation, the team from local Latin fusion restaurant Bésame fulfilled a lifelong dream by cooking up their debut dinner at the James Beard House in New York City on Sept. 26.

Cooking at the James Beard House has been considered a high honor for chefs across the country since it was established more than 30 years ago in honor of the “Dean of American Cookery,” cookbook author, restauranteur, cooking school founder, television host and world traveler James Beard. 

“Walking into the kitchen at the James Beard House, I couldn’t help but feel the energy of Mr. Beard and the many other great chefs that have passed through that kitchen flow through me,” Bésame’s Executive Chef Joe Campbell said. “It was incredibly inspiring and calming to my nerves. That great energy allowed me to put out some of the best food I’ve ever produced in my entire career.” 

Campbell and Bésame owner and chef Hannah Hopkins’ five-course meal featured a sea scallop and smoked salmon ceviche, duck breast smothered in mole sauce, queso fresco topped with 24-carat gold, a Hudson Valley foie gras and passion fruit tart mousse. Each dish used ingredients sourced from both Colorado and New York. Mixologist Rena Day prepared craft cocktails and paired wines. Also on the Besame team were general manager Natasha Krefft, sous chef Michael Maison, Colin Nicoletti and Fernando Maldonado. 

“Cooking at the James Beard House was truly a dream come true,” Hopkins said. “I am proud of my team and proud to represent a little piece of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in New York City at the James Beard House.” 

The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone. In addition to hosting dinners at the James Beard House, the Foundation also runs leadership awards, a food summit, scholarship programs and education and empowerment programs.

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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