Food & Wine Classic in Aspen 2012

The Classic celebrates its 30th anniversary

"This is the photo that sells the tickets," someone nearby said as culinary luminaries clinked glasses.

As Food & Wine noted last week, when the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen launched in 1982, 30 years ago, "300 people showed up. Today, more than 5,000 come: celebrity chefs, wine pros, restaurateurs, citizen foodies and... F&W editors."

And there they were, sipping SInskey in the tasting tents, lining up an hour before Mario Batali's Sunday Supper demo, and managing that tricky balance of drinking too much wine in too-high altitude. Festivities kicked off with a Spanish style barbecue on Friday night at Casa José at Aspen Tuscan Estate

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas & José Andrés’ Café Jose Spanish BBQ

Pan Con Tomato to Jamón Iberico Ribs to a selection of artisanal cheeses and embutidos.

Marcus Samuelsson, Jacques Pepin, Tom Colicchio, Giada DeLaurentiis and Jonathan Waxman, industry notables such as Gail Simmons, Andrew Zimmern and Paul Grieco, as well as Food & Wine "Best New Chef" honorees Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat, Nashville) and Jenn Louis (Lincoln Restaurant, Portland).

The 5K Charity Run with Bobby Flay starts off Friday, June 15th at Rio Grande Park at 6:30 a.m.

the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, an organization that works to improve access to fresh produce, gave Food and Wine magazine a $10,000 gift for their yearly sponsorship of the event.

“The drought conditions are unfortunate but we hope it does rain, on Tuesday, after we’re gone,” said Christina Grdovic, vice president and publisher of Food & Wine, “I say it’s about Aspen hands down, we couldn’t do it without you.”

But the city had more in store for the magazine — Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland and Councilman Derek Johnson presented Grdovic and the rest of the staff with a key to the city.

Mayor Ireland did not forget to note that originally the event organizers were given a $5,000 grant in 1983, which will be forgiven along with the $24,112 of interest. Ireland joked that the money would go to “Spanish wine banks.”