ASPEN, Colo. — An all-star lineup of NBA players showed some old moves away from Hardwood as they join a growing list of black athletes trying to break into the competitive business of brewing.
Former Knicks great and 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum joined Miami Heat icon Dwayne Wade at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic last weekend for a well-deserved crowd at the exclusive Rocky Mountain resort Uncorked your wine. Town.
“We are rookies in this game,” said Anthony, who came with McCullum on Saturday at a Food & Wine panel to discuss how NBA stars build brands that transcend basketball.
This month, Anthony launched his own wine brand, VII(N) The Seventh Estate, which is just one tip of the hat for the uniform number the forward has worn throughout his career. Partnering with third-generation Rhne winemaker Stéphane Usseglio, their first launch is VII(en)Fidelity 2017’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape Oath. The name reflects Anthony’s social justice activism, and is a tribute to the 17th-century Haitian general François-Dominique Toussaint. Louverture, who led the fight for the independence of the Caribbean nation from France.
“Getting into Food and Wine gives us an opportunity to bring us all together [the wine community] Inclusive,” said Anthony, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. “We want you guys to help us learn too. We want to learn from people who came before us. We want to learn and we want to become more educated about how this process works. We It’s not always going to be perfect. It won’t always be peaches and roses. It’s not going to be rosé all day every day.”
McCollum — who spent his first nine seasons in the league as a member of the Portland Trailblazers, within a long three-point shot of the fertile Willamette Valley — bought a 300-acre vineyard in Oregon with his wife, Alice, last fall. According to reports, his wine label, McCollum Heritage 91 released a 2018 Pinot Noir, which sold out in less than an hour.
“I felt this was something we needed to be a part of,” McCullum said during the symposium. By “we” I mean people who come from communities like mine, people of color. I wanted to make sure that once I got into this space, it was more comfortable for everyone to order off the menu Gone, but to be able to locate really meaningful jobs in this space.”
Anthony’s new wine was the focus of Friday night’s “Black on Black” dinner hosted by New York’s top chef JJ Johnson at the famed Hotel Jerome. The event was hosted by Anthony and Wade, along with Deelyn Proctor, longtime advocate for black brewers, and Robin and Andrea McBride – two sisters who grew up separately in California and New Zealand. found each other later in life and launched the McBride Sisters Wine Company. , the largest black-owned wine company in America.
“I think the McBride sisters showed that there can be black people in this industry and that our culture wants to drink alcohol in a big way,” Johnson said. “When you include NBA players, you’ll have more black winners, more black people on staff, and the industry will automatically drop out.”
Wade launched his wine label, Wade Cellars, during his playing career and has expanded the brand since retiring in 2019. The growing roster of NBA-affiliated entrepreneurs includes Steph Curry’s wife, restaurateur Ayesha Curry, and her youngest sister, Sydell, who launched their own. Own wine brand – Domaine Curry – in 2018. Retired players Channing Fry and Amar’e Stoudemire are also in the wine business with Yao Ming, who owns Yao Family Wines in Napa Valley.
“There is a huge culture in the NBA of people falling in love with wine, gathering and traveling the world to find great wines. Some of the most important players in the NBA realize the importance of a great glass of wine and that Really special,” said Shyda Gilmour, CEO of Sherry-Lehman Wine & Spirits.
Another star of the Aspen Food and Wine classic, New York chef Chintan Pandya, on the Lower East Side of the blast, was named a James Beard Award Best Chef for New York State.
Pandya, executive chef and partner at Unapologetic Foods, runs Dhamaka as well as Semma, Adda Indian Canteen and Rowdy Roasters. By Sunday, the crowded chef had sold 1,000 plates of fried chicken sandwiches in less than 90 minutes at the tasting tent in the center of Aspen.
“We are here because of our customers and New York City, a cultural hotspot that honors every color and race, and this award was living proof of that,” Pandya said.
Unapologetic Foods CEO Ronnie Mazumdar explained some of the obstacles Pandya faced, including name recognition: “The person who introduced me to Chintan said he was one of the most talented chefs of his generation, but only There was only one problem: no one had heard of him.”
is no more.
He said, ‘We are Indians without apologizing. You can lose your identity and soul while cooking. But I am making what I like to eat – not to impress other people. That is the trend,” Pandya said. “During the festival, people were messaging me and thanking me. They are now going to cook food without even thinking about it. ,
Majumdar said this was the first year the festival felt really diverse.
“The biggest change is diversity – before, in 2019, ethnic chefs felt lucky to be here. Now we feel like we are part of the celebration, welcomed by old-fashioned chefs. You are bound to fake diversity or fake authenticity. Can’t. It’s very emotional,” said Majumdar. “And the more diversity in the crowd, the more people told us that they had come to see us. That is the biggest development.”
Plant-based prime roots were also gathered for their charcuterie, deli meats, foie gras, and pate—which taste like meat but are made with the mushroom fungus, koji.
“The sly, Michelin-starred chefs came to us. They didn’t believe they would like it – they have a natural aversion to our products – and were stunned, now asking us to make more for Pork Belly and their restaurants. Said Jason Rose, a VP of food service operations and partnerships at Prime Roots, founded and founded by meat eaters.
“It is still a challenging time and coming to the festival was an opportunity to educate people.”
Economics is also a factor. Meat prices have jumped 60 to 70 percent – but kogi prices remain the same. While the calories are the same, Prime Roots products are also higher in fiber, 15 percent less sodium, zero saturated fat — and the products don’t melt in the heat, unlike vegan cheeses that are still finding their way, Rose added.
Another food and wine trend – zero-proof, non-alcoholic spirits – was also highlighted at dinners held at the Summer Lodge, a sustainable dining in St. Regis Aspen from New York hotelier Jayma Cardoso of Montauk’s always hip Surf The spot was Lodge.
The Summer Lodge launched as the Snow Lodge, a 2019 winter pop-up that is now the hotel’s permanent location.
Last weekend, famed LA chef Roy Choi of Summer Lodge and Netflix’s “The Chef Show” hosted a five-course pairing dinner with zero-proof cocktails and wine from Boison, a non-alcoholic beverage retailer co-founded by CEO Nick Bodkins did. The pairing, curated by New York sommelier Miguel de Leon.
Guests included top chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern.
“When we founded Boison, one of the core beliefs was that high-quality, non-alcoholic options were on restaurant menus across the country and that the ritual of making cocktails should not be defined by alcohol content,” Bodkins said.
There are currently five Boisson shops in the city — three in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn — and the company is poised to expand nationally, he said.