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Steak at Blackbelly. Photo by Aaron Colussi

Flatirons Food Film Festival Fundraiser Includes Virtual Classes With Top Chefs

A series of 10 live events in August combine food, film, and live discussion.

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The Flatirons Food Film Festival, now in its eighth year, is “all about bringing the community together, in whatever form that takes,” says Julia Joun, founder and executive director of the Boulder-based event. In 2020, the year of coronavirus, that connection is taking place virtually, with both the October film festival and its August fundraiser moving online. 

The latter will consist of 10 live Zoom classes and events next month, hosted by some of Colorado’s top chefs and other local food experts. Chefs Hosea Rosenberg and Arun Moghe of Blackbelly will lead a class on August 9 about shopping for and cooking the perfect steak. Cookbook author-photographer Jennifer Olson will host a tutorial on August 8 about “upping your Instagram food game.” And chef Matt Vawter of Mercantile Dining & Provision will delve into the delights of making pickles on August 14.

Other topics include tasting American artisan cheeses; the secrets of sourdough bread baking; and the magic, folklore, and gastronomy of shiitake mushrooms. In addition to cooking demos, guided tastings, or lectures sharing tips and expertise, each 90-minute event will include a Q&A and discussion about the upcoming film festival (October 8–11), as well as a short movie about—you guessed it—food.

Participants will receive a recording of the session and a recipe so they can relax and enjoy the virtual experience and then re-watch the tutorial and create any corresponding dishes at home on their own time, says Joun. Some classes will also include supplemental items available for pre-order—think: ingredient kits, books, and to-go meals—as a way to support local restaurants. 

All proceeds from the August fundraiser tickets will help host the 2020 Flatirons Food Film Festival in October, which will include film screenings, speakers, and other to-be-determined virtual events, with an overarching focus on underrepresented cultures, says Joun. As in years past, the festival will also consciously explore food through the lenses of politics, agriculture, chefs, and restaurants. Past guest speakers include celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower and the late Johnathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times restaurant critic. 

Details for this year’s festival will be released in late August or early September, says Joun. Last year’s event drew 1,212 people, and attendance increases every year. 

“It’s a completely volunteer festival, nobody profits from this,” says Joun. Though donations are necessary to sustain the organization (hence the fundraising events), the festival is “a gift to our community,” she says. “It’s done completely out of love.” 

The 2020 Flatirons Food Film Festival Fundraiser schedule: 

Each class costs $30 per person; a pass to attend all classes is $250. Click here to purchase tickets. 

Saturday, August 8, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: “Making and Using Shio Koji, a Japanese Fermented Marinade” with chefs Christine Ruch and Mara King of Fresh Thymes Eatery

Saturday, August 8, 12:30–2 p.m.: “Upping Your Instagram Food Photo Game” with Jennifer Olson of Jennifer Olson Photography

Saturday, August 8, 4:30–6 p.m.: “A Guided Tasting of American Artisan Cheese” with certified cheese professional Jessica Beer and other members of the Cured team

Sunday, August 9, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: “Making Tahchin, Persian Baked Saffron Rice with Chicken” with Saba Parsa of Saba Jam

Sunday, August 9, 5:30–7 p.m.: “Shopping for and Cooking a Perfect Steak” with chefs Hosea Rosenberg and Arun Moghe of Blackbelly

Tuesday, August 11, 5:30–7 p.m.: “Sourdough Secrets and Baking with Local Heritage Grain” with master bread bakers David Kaminer of Raleigh Street Bakery and Andy Clark of Moxie Bread Co. and support from the Colorado Grain Chain

Friday, August 14, 5:30–7 p.m.: “Making Dill and Bread-and-Butter Pickles” with chef Matt Vawter of Mercantile Dining & Provision

Saturday, August 15, 10:30 a.m.–12.p.m.: “Shiitake Mushrooms: Magic, Folklore, and Gastronomy” with culinary mycologist and chef Shadi Ramey of Feed Your Vibe

Sunday, August 16, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: “Spanish Spices and the Art of Paella” with chef Dakota Soifer of Cafe Aion and Dan Hayward of Savory Spice Shop – Boulder

Sunday, August 16, 5:30–7 p.m.: “Heirloom Grain Pizza Making” with chefs Kelly Whitaker and Colten Steiner of Dry Storage

Also in August: The Flatirons Food Film Festival will host its fifth Dinner and a Movie event on August 21 at 6:30 p.m. The series invites folks to watch a food film (in this case, Trattoria, a dramedy about a workaholic chef and his estranged son who reconnect and heal their past through cooking), eat a suggested accompanying meal, and listen to expert speakers via Zoom. Tickets cost $10 and go on sale on August 10. Click here for more details. 

FFFF is also partnering with the Best Served podcast next month to launch a four-part series, “Best Served on Film,” in which chef and host Jensen Cummings will interview distinguished speakers from past festivals. The month-long series will take place every Wednesday, from 12–12:30pm, starting on August 12. You can listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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