Marcus Pop Food: Aspen Food and Wine Classic 2011

Every year I look forward to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic. It's my tenth or twelfth year going, and each year it's amazing how much I learn from my chef colleagues. It's inspiring to hear about what they're up to, to be inspired to try new things, and to hear the feedback on Red Rooster.

It's been a really great trip already. Last night's barbecue at Jose Andres' house was a great start for the trip. I've been having a great time hanging out with my buddies, and discussing what's going on in the food world.

This morning started off on a great note. The Meet the Masters panel was truly inspiring. The panelists-Daniel Boulud, Judy Rodgers, Frank Stitt, and Jonathan Waxman-all had a lot of great stuff to say about the state of food right now, which challenged me to think about the message behind Red Rooster.

We've been open for about six months, and now the next step is about how we define our culture at the restaurant. Being here is definitely helping me with this progression.

When we're thinking about defining Red Rooster's culture, we want to get across is the sincerity of the message and the hard work. Sometimes you have a good night, sometimes you have a bad night, but in the end, you just want the sincerity and hard work to get through.

Like planting a tree, starting a restaurant grows down through the roots of the organization, and stretches up and out through the branches and onto the leaves.  The roots come from our message, our culture, and our team, which is still in development, growing, and expanding. The branches are our staff, connecting with customers, and spreading our message. We continue to grow and establish ourselves with in the community and in the meantime, we'll be learning and figuring it out.

I had a great time with the Stella Artois team at today's seminar and demo and tonight, I'm looking forward to cooking at the Bombay Sapphire dinner. One more demo and seminar tomorrow then hanging out with my fellow chefs for the rest of the weekend.