Category Archives: Chef

Beard Celebrity Chefs in Colorado

1515 Restaurant and Devil’s Thumb Ranch to host some of the best.

JamesBeardFoundation-logoThe James Beard House in New York is one of America’s culinary holy places, and the James Beard Foundation located there is the keeper of the flame. Dining there is a WOW! experience, no matter who is cooking, and the foundation is increasingly spreading the epicurean wealth with events elsewhere.

Coming right up (October 20) is the JBF’s Celebrity Chef Tour at 1515 Restaurant in Denver, when chef/restaurateur Gene Tang  hosts the  following kitchen wizards in what I understand is the only Denver event this year:

  • Gene Tang, Restaurant 1515, Denver
  • Jeff Cleary, Grateful Bread, Denver
  • Stephen Fried,  Gullo Specialty Foods, Hicksville, NY
  • Laurent Mechin,  St Julien Hotel & Spa, Boulder
  • Mark Monette, Flagstaff House, Boulder
  • Kevin Nashan, The Peacemaker and Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis
  • Martin Rios, Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe
  • Mindy Segal, Mindy’s HotChocolate, Chicago
    JBF Award–Winning Pastry Chef

Click here to buy tickets, which are $115 per person with U.S. Bank FlexPerks Rewards and $175 for everyone else for the dinner, paired wines, gratuities and taxes.

And at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

On Saturday, November 19, Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Taberbash hosts the sixth annual James Beard Foundation Fundraising Dinner, which in format is similar to the Celebrity Chef Tour. Its purpose is to support the JBF’s scholarship fund.

This year’s event will be held in memoriam of the late Chef Evan Treadwell, who was killed in a boating accident on September 6. Like the mission of the James Beard Foundation, Chef Treadwell was dedicated to mentoring professional chefs. His legacy will be honored by his peers from Denver and by the culinary team at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, who — like Chef Treadwell — demonstrate talent, expertise and most importantly, passion for what they do.  Their inventive dishes will be shared with guests, elegantly paired with wines from Joseph Phelps Winery of Napa, presented by Master Sommelier Damon Ornowski.

Participating chefs are:

  • Alex Seidel, Fruition, Denver
  • Justin Brunson, Ole Major, Denver
  • Jeff Osaka, Osaka Ramen, Denver
  • Paul Reilly, Beast + Bottle, Denver
  • Natalie, Basarov, Devil’s Thumb Ranch

Tickets cost $150 per person for JBF winners and $200 for the rest of us. Call  970-726-5633 to reserve.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is at 3530 County Road 83, Tabernash; 970-726-5632.

Awesome Avelina Launches in LoDo

New LoDo eatery with sterling pedigree.

Avelina executive chef John Broening.
Avelina executive chef John Broening.

Chef John Broening and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, partners in life and in business, are the culinary brains behind Avelina, a big new restaurant carrying a name that means “little bird.” Individually and together, they have produced exquisite fare in a number of restaurants, and Yasmin has been a James Beard finalist/semi-finalist pastry chef more times than I can recall.

Chef de cuisine John Broening and sous-chef Bradley Yard in the large, open kitchen.
Thumbs-up-from chef de cuisine John Broening  (ight) and sous-chef Bradley Yard in the large, open kitchen.

I first encountered Broening at Primitivo, at the time the only fine-dining restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs, and again at Brasserie Rouge in the Ice House before Union Station’s major make-over.  He joined Udi’s on Broadway, where and Yasmin met.  They were in turn at Duo, Olivéa, Spuntino and now Avelina, which is owned by North Carolina-based Urban Food Group out but thanks to them and their team, it has a distinct Colorado flair.

A quiet moment before Avelina's opening party gets roaring.
A quiet moment before Avelina’s opening party gets roaring.

The enormous space. which is proportioned like a big bank with high ceilings, large light fixtures and commodious furnishings, made for a grand setting for the grand opening party. The food — small bites or this and that — was as delicious as  it was beautiful and vice versa. The servers were busy as worker bees ferrying out platter after platter (and beverages as well).  Sometimes they  had time to let guests know what we were eating. Other times not, so here are some uncaptioned food pictures.

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Price check: Shared plates, $5-$16, charcuterie, $11-$12; large plates, $19-$39.

Avelina is one block from Union Station at 1550 17th Street (entrance at Wazee Street),  Denver; 720-904-6711.

Luxury Touch at Navy Mess

Submarine  cooks to get tips on Colorado cuisine.

nuclearnavy-logoWhen the “USS Colorado,” America’s newest Virginia Class nuclear submarine, is launched later this year,  its cooks will have in their repertoire recipes that enhance the submarine service’s reputation for some of the best food in the Navy. Since a nuclear submarine produces its own air and water, it can stay submerged for as long as they have food. It’s not uncommon for submarines to stay under water for weeks at a time. Therefore, food is a top priority.

Chef Michael Wright of The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa meets with two members of the crew today for cooking lessons on how to prepare some traditional Colorado dishes. These include Brown Palace and Colorado specialties such as the Ship Tavern’s famous Prime Rib and Rocky Mountain Trout and Ellyngton’s classic Eggs Benedict, house-made sausage, Brown Palace granola and of course, the Denver omelet. The crew will then be able to serve these dishes at sea — or more accurately, under the sea.

In addition to the Brown, two other iconic Colorado hotels were selected to provide the cooking lessons: The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs and the Four Seasons in Vail. I’m not sure what the Broadmoor and the Four Seasons will do as a follow-up, but the Brown is putting on a Chef’s Table luncheon for 20 or so invited guests.

Denver Chef to Cook at Beard Pork-A-Palooza

Justin Brunson among 10 selected chefs.

JamesBeardFoundation-logoAs it says on that chef’s apron that is a  popular gift for hefty home cooks, “Never trust a skinny chef.”  Bu that measure,  chef-owner Justin Brunson of Denver’s Old Major, Masterpiece Kitchen and Masterpiece Delicatessen is one of the most trustworthy chefs around.

Chef Justin Brunson.
Chef Justin Brunson.

His skill and rep for his way with meats, not his BMI, earned him an invitation to at the James Beard Foundation’s Pork-A-Palooza on October 4 at the James Beard House. The kitchen cadre:

  • Stephen Gerike, The National Pork Board. Des Moines, IA
  • Jason Alley. Comfort and Pasture, Richmond, VA.
  • Justin Brunson. Old Major, Masterpiece Deli and Masterpiece Kitchen, Denver.
  • Brad Farmerie. Public, New York, and Saxon + Parole, New York.
  • Jose Garces*. Garces Group, Chicago; Moorestown, NJ; Palm Springs, CA; Philadelphia; Scottsdale, AZ, and Washington, D.C.
  • Paul Kahan.* One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago.
  • Adam Sappington. The Country Cat Dinner House and Bar, Portland, OR.
  • Chris Shepherd*. Underbelly, Houston.
  • Celeste Campise. Who’s Hungry?, Magazine and Room 1520, Chicago.
  • Jared Rouben. Moody Tongue Brewing Company, Chicago.

    *James Beard Foundation Award winners.

The cost of the dinner is $160 for Beard members and $210 for the general public.


Harvest Week Dinners Set

Fab food at annual Colorado food showcase and fundraiser.

Harvest-Week-logoHarvest Week is coming up next month at GrowHaus, a fantastic community resource in an underserved northeast Denver neighborhood. Its mantra is “Healthy Food Is a Right, Not a Privilege.” Each Harvest Week dinner is prepared by a different independent restaurant, and each has a different theme.

The event, co-sponsored by The GrowHaus and Eat Denver, showcases Denver’s vibrant food culture and the Colorado-grown foods that are such a part of the current scene. Each evening’s description below is the organizer’s words.  I’m heading out of the country on October 16, so I can’t get to any of them — but I hope  you will. Cost is $75 per  person per evening, plus a $4.75 fee. Click here FoMoInfo and to buy tickets.

Sunday, October 16 – Spanish Night 
Experience The Growhaus filled with rich aromas of deep Spanish flavors prepared by some of the most adventurous culinary minds in town. Colorado fare will be transformed with Spanish preparations and key ingredients, all served family style.

Monday, October 17 – Italian NIght
For one night only, The Growhaus will turn into an Italian food lover’s mecca, featuring dishes thoughtfully crafted with flavors of the Italian Mediterranean. As the Italians do, all dishes will represent our region, complete with various styles that all fit within a cuisine far too complex to be represented just one way.

Tuesday, October 18 – Veggie Asia Night
A night designed for the seasoned herbivore and anyone intrigued by the endless possibilities within produce, this dinner will explore the exotic cuisines born from Southeast Asia. Some of Denver’s most creative culinary minds will team together to serve a meal both of the familiar and surprising.

Wednesday, October 19 – French Night
It’s no secret that French cooking is the root of all culinary lineage, with a landscape both wide in technique and flavor. Prepare to experience Colorado ingredients composed with old school technique, a new school approach, and a twist only some of the top classically trained chefs can deliver.

Thursday, October 20 – Southern U.S. Night
Experience The South with a Colorado perspective as some of Denver’s most inspired chefs ban together to honor a region known for its heart and soul. The Harvest Week finale will feature dishes both nostalgic and those you’ll soon never forget.

The GrowHaus is located at 4751 York Street, Denver.

RIP: Chef Evan Treadwell

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Evan Treadwell dies in boating accident.

dtr-logoChef Even Treadwell, captain of the kitchens at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, died on September 6 following a boating accident.

The luxurious and highly honored Grand County resort posted on its Facebook page, “Chef Evan was the heart and soul of the acclaimed culinary team at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. He mentored many food and beverage professionals, and his talents will be carried forward through the skills and passion he imparted on the culinary team at the Ranch.”

Chef Evan Treadwell (Photo by Laurie Smith, courtesy of Devil's Thumb Ranch)
Chef Evan Treadwell (Photo by Laurie Smith, courtesy of Devil’s Thumb Ranch)

Chef Treadwell came to Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa from the AAA Four Diamond Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa in California. His signature culinary style earned him an Iron Chef Award and Santé’s Culinary Award for Innovative Regional Cuisine. Earlier in his career, he worked at Viogner Restaurant with James Beard Award winner Chef Gary Danko.

When Chef Treadwell joined DTR in 2011, it was already known for  sustainably focused cuisine, as local as possible (sourcing summer produce from Morales Farm), and hoping one day to have a vertical greenhouse on the ranch). The spacious ranch also has a Wagyu beef herd to headline its beef-forward menu. He cooked at New York’s prestigious James Beard House in 2012 and again in 2013.   Chef Treadwell built on that reputation and was a charismatic presence who inspired many chefs who, on social media, quickly expressed their shock and profound sorrow at his passing.

Denver Five to Cook at NYC’s James Beard House

Left to right: John DePierro, Kevin Morrison, Dana Rodriguez, Wine Director Ryan Fletter, Pastry Chef Alicia Luther, Darrel Truett,and Mixologist Gerard Collier
Left to right: John DePierro, MiJo; Kevin Morrison, KTM Restaurant Group; Dana Rodriguez, Work & Class; Wine Director Ryan Fletter, Barolo Grill;  Pastry Chef Alicia Luther, Black Eye Coffee;  Darrel Truett, Barolo Grill, and Tacos, Tequila and Whiskey  mixologist Gerard Collier.

This elite team of Colorado culinary compatriots has made an indelible mark on the Colorado dining scene with their bold, inventive fare. The group (five chefs, two “beveragists”) celebrates the collective’s ninth Beard House anniversary with an eclectic menu that highlights the evolving traditions of the Mile High City. If your pockets are deep your your appetite robust (and you are or will be in New York), the dinner costs $175 for the general public and $135 for Beard members.

The James Beard House is at 167 West 12th Street, New York; 212-627-2308. Go to the next page for the menu

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