Cormac Mahoney Shines at Aspen Food & Wine Classic

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Madison Park Conservatory’s Cormac Mahoney was glowing. And it wasn’t just the photo-op bright lights. No, the chef was basking in the steady stream of compliments flowing from the consumers at this weekend's glittering Aspen Food & Wine Classic.

Even after waiting in one of the longest lines of the event, avid food enthusiasts raved about Mahoney’s signature Coco Pork tacos crowned in crispy shoestring potatoes.

Mahoney couldn’t stop smiling. And why not? He was featured at this epic eat-a-thon after achieving one of the hautest spots on this year’s Food & Wine's Best New Chefs list. And, yes, of course, he’s wearing a brilliant grin on the cover of the July issue, sitting across the table from… who’s that? Blaine Wetzel from Willows Inn on Lummi Island. (More about that rising star and the clever bite he served to the crowd in another post.)

Mahoney and his trusty sidekick Zoi Antonitsas prepped most everything for their appearance at the Classic – celebrating its 30th anniversary this year – back in Seattle. The shoestring fries were finished that morning and the chefs topped those terrific tacos as folks walked up to their station in the massive tents during one of several Grand Tastings that take place throughout the day.

“It’s pretty cool that a couple of boys from the South Sound are here representing,” said Mahoney, who grew up in Centralia. Wetzel is from Olympia.

And, yes, of course, I tasted both dishes and couldn’t help feeling the swell of civic pride. They did the Pacific Northwest culinary community proud!