Telluride, Colorado has been a premiere winter sport destination since the mid-1970s. But it’s emergence as a world-class outpost for food and beverage is a far more recent phenomenon. If you haven’t visited in a few years you’d be surprised at just how much there is to savor along these streets—and the eclectic variety of those options. In service of that impressive evolution, this weekend the resort’s five star Madeline Hotel & Residences is hosting its second annual Alpine Cookout. The event is aiming to become a local tradition by attracting a global array of talent.
The 3.5 hour long event takes place in Reflection Plaza at Telluride’s Mountain Village, under the shadows of the majestic San Juan Mountains. This year it includes celebrity chef Viet Pham—who will be preparing his signature hot chicken sandwich—along with James Beard Award-winning chefs Dean Fearing and Mark Kiffin, and Mark Tarbell, a two-time inductee to The Arizona Hall of Culinary Fame. Ten percent of all ticket sales are donated to Indigenous Led, a non-profit whose mission is advancing “biocultural conservation on Indigenous lands” across the country.
“We are thrilled to welcome this impressive roster of chefs to Telluride and to our Madeline family,” says Bryan Woody, general manager for the luxury hotel. “The Southwest’s vibrant culinary culture and Telluride’s local bounty offer the perfect canvas for these chef’s skilled merging of esteemed technique with the best local ingredients to create distinctive dishes.”
The visiting talent will be welcomed by Madeline’s executive chef Bill Greenwood, who oversees a laudable menu of his own at the property’s Black Iron Kitchen and Bar. Selections here are protein-centric and showcase the farms of Western Colorado. Highlights include a half-pound burger built off of two patties of American wagyu, seared buffalo tenderloin, and a pork porterhouse glazed with whiskey.
Speaking of whiskey, the spirits list under Greenwood’s purview is quite notable as well. The backbar holds dozens of bourbons, ryes and American single malts, including Colorado standouts from the likes of Stranahan’s, Laws Whiskey House, and Woody Creek.
In addition to the Alpine Cookout, the resort has partnered with Crossbow Leather for a weekend long activation offering custom hats and leather goods crafted by local artisans. “Guests can create their own unique accessory to wear around town during this one-of-a-kind event and to take a piece of the local community home by means of their own work of art,” according to a press release.
But even if you don’t have the good fortune of finding yourself in Telluride over the holiday weekend, the real point is that there’s no bad time to eat and drink your way through this historic, quintessential western mining town. There’s great French at La Marmotte, superb Thai selections at Siam, Italian fine-dining at Rustico, and the Middle Eastern delights of Caravan—to name but a few. For drinks you can enjoy rooftop cocktails at the New Sheridan Hotel, choose from a vast collection of craft beer at the Last Dollar Saloon, or use a password to secure a spot at The Tunnel speakeasy.
Telluride also boasts its own eponymous brewery as well as distillery, both of which are crafting exciting elixirs in their respective facilities just outside town center. Free gondola service connects you between the Mountain Village and downtown. It affords world-class views of the surrounding peaks. And now you know there’ll be world-class dining to pair it with on either side of the ride.