An Adventure in Aspen! | Hedley & Bennett // Handmade Chef Gear

You followed Hedley & Bennett's adventure to Aspen Food & Wine back in June but we never got to FULLY tell you what a blast we had and why it mattered to us so much in the first place. For starters, if you've never been to Aspen, finish reading this and then go book your tickets immediately. Then you'll understand why this little city in the mountains is so darn magical. This event was exciting to us for so many reasons. The most basic - it was an absolute blast! Anyone who's ever worked in the food industry understands what I mean when I say, these people, Apron Squad included, are workaholics. We work day and night. We pull 12 hour shifts like it's nothing. It's not just the chefs! So when an event like this rolls around, take all those workaholics, drop them in the mountains, bring some mind blowing food, and you've got this makings for a spectacular weekend. Sure there's still work to be done, but every chef, line cook, dishwasher, waitress and apron maker, that comes gets to work while also hanging out with a whole crew of people that they love. We only see these hooligans once a year but every time we do, it's like we just saw each other yesterday. And that's the best kind of work, when you're having so much damn fun that you barely realize how hard you're actually working. 

On top of the fact that we ate our hearts out and ran around like fools with a whole crowd of our favorite Apron Squad members, this event was really important to us because we weren't just attending, but each and every chef brought on by Food & Wine was sporting a custom designed H&B apron. The actual weekend itself was so quick; over and done before we even realized but it wasn't just the destination that mattered but the journey that got us there. When Hedley & Bennett started three years ago, doing 500 aprons for an event of this caliber would have been goddam impossible to pull off. We had dreams of how much we'd grow and how far we'd be able to reach and it's one of the most amazing feelings in the world to be able to look back on those dreams that, in the beginning, seemed so far away and now, they're actually coming true! We've worked hard to make those dreams a reality and while, with growing opportunities also comes growing responsibility, we were proud to see those ampersands sprinkled all over Aspen! 

One particularly special part of the trip was Chef Jacques Pépin birthday party. Pépin was born and formally trained in France, is a world renowned chef and is one of those rare individuals that, no questions, is a huge reason that the food world is what it is today. He's starred in a boat load of television shows and has written more than 25 books about cooking. He's the Dean of Special Programs at the International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute). He's the top of the top and it was beyond special to be there and celebrate with him on his birthday!

Just for fun, here's a few interesting facts about Jacques that you may not know...

- he started his first formal kitchen apprenticeship in Paris at the age of 13 (he was 13!!!!)

- he had a James Beard Foundation Award winning show with Julia Childs called Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

- he earned his M.A. degree in 18th-century French literature from Columbia University in NYC

- he mixes his red and white wine

 - he's received 3 out of 4 of the highest honors that the French government awards

Before you go, take a second to check out the list of amazing talent that make Food & Wine the amazing event that it is. 

 

  • HUGH ACHESON
  • RICK BAYLESS
  • MICHELLE BERSTEIN
  • RICHARD BETTS
  • SISSY BIGGERS
  • JAMIE BISSONNETTE
  • SHAYN BJORNHOLM
  • RICHARD BLAIS
  • ANTHONY BOHLINGER
  • PATRICK CAPPIELLO
  • DAVID CHANG
  • JUSTIN CHAPPLE
  • ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN
  • DANA COWIN
  • GRAHAM ELLIOT
  • TYLER FLORENC
  • JOSE GARCE
  • ANTHONY GIGLIO
  • CHRISTINA GRDOVIC
  • PAUL GRIECO
  • CARLA HALL
  • TAMRON HALL
  • GABRIELLE HAMILTO
  • RAY ISLE
  • STEPHANIE IZARD
  • KRISTEN KISH
  • ERIC KORSH
  • BETH KOWITT
  • MEGAN KRIGBAU
  • MEI LIN
  • TIM LOVE
  • DANNY MEYER
  • MASAHARU MORIMOT
  • MICHEL NISCHAN
  • MARNIE OLD
  • MARK OLDMA
  • KEN ORINGE
  • CLAUDINE PÉPI
  • JACQUES PÉPIN
  • DANIEL PI
  • JOHN RAGAN
  • ERIC RIPER
  • ANDREA ROBINSO
  • MARK ROSATI
  • JORDAN SALCITO
  • MARCUS SAMUELSSON
  • LESLIE SBROCC
  • GAIL SIMMON
  • CHRIS SPAK
  • BOBBY STUCKE
  • JOSH TETRICK
  • CHRISTINA TOSI
  • LAURA WERLIN
  • JOSH WESSON
  • MICHAEL WHITE
  • SANG YOON
  • ANDREW ZIMMERN

 

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