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Food & Wine Festival Features Celebrity Chefs

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Visitors to the sold-out Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this month can look forward to panels featuring foodie favorites Tom Colicchio, Danny Meyer, Barbara Lynch, Stephanie Izard and more.

The American Express Restaurant Trade Program is an exclusive event at the popular three-day festival, and offers programming targeted to industry insiders. Restaurant owners, operators and chefs can attend panels led by restaurateurs and pick up tips to take home to their own establishments.

Three featured panels are scheduled to take place on June 20 and 21st at Aspen’s Hotel Jerome. Topics will include how to keep customers coming back for more, surviving in a competitive industry, and a special session on mixology and the future of bars.

This will be the 25th Restaurant Trade Program sponsored by American Express. The The American Express Restaurant Trade Pass is available to restaurant industry attendees of the Food & Wine Classic and includes access to the full program as well as a kick-off party, exclusive industry-only happy hour events, panels and workshops.

Schedule of Events

On Friday, June 20 at 9:15am, American Express presents “Meet the Masters: 25 Years of Excellence,” moderated by chef and television personality Andrew Zimmern. Panelists Michael Chiarello of Bottega and Coqueta; Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park, The Butcher Shop and Drink; Danny Meyer of Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, and Union Square Café; and Jonathan Waxman, the chef at Barbuto and author of Italian, My Way. They will discuss how they’ve made it to the top and give tips on surviving in the competitive restaurant world.

That afternoon at 1:30, “Shake it Up: Using the Bar to Drive Business” will cover everything from seasonal cocktails to micro-distillation and the clarity of ice. Panelists Dave Arnold (founder and president of the Museum of Food and Drink), Charles Joly (beverage director at the Aviary and founder of Crafthouse Cocktails) and Kimberly Patton-Bragg (head bartender at Tivoli & Lee) will talk about the future of bars and their role in the hospitality industry. Steve Dolinsky (food reporter for ABC 7 Chicago News) will moderate.

The last panel, on Saturday June 21 at 9:15 and also moderated by Steve Dolinsky, is all about keeping customers coming back. “The Evolution of Customer Loyalty” is slated to feature Sean Brock (chef at Husk & McCrady’s), Tom Colicchio (chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and Colicchio & Sons), and Stephanie Izard (author of Girl in the Kitchen and chef at Little Goat Diner). They will discuss strategies for retaining customers and share their own approaches to customer service.

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