Category Archives: Chef

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.

 

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 Bear members.

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

Continue reading Denver Five to Cook at NYC’s James Beard House

JBF Celebrity Chef Tour in Boulder

13th Street site of one long outdoor dining experience.

jbfcelebtour-logoA big culinary splurge coming to Boulder. The city is the as one of 20 sites of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour. The tickets are $115, so I’m not splurging. (Besides, it seems  to be sold out.) Long immaculately set tables will stretch along 13th Street between Pearl and Canyon. Let’s hope for clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Bon appétit!

Eric Skokan of Black Cat Farm, Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare has been key to organizing what will surely be a dazzling occasion — “a culinary block party,” someone called it.  He recruited  talent from Boiulder, Denver and even Chicago — Daniel Asher (River & Woods), Jessica Emich (Shine), Will and Coral Frischkorn (Cured and Cured West), Bradford Heap (Wild Standard, Salt and Colterra), Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall, Stroic and Genuine ), Mark Monette (Flagstaff House), Dave Query (Big Red F Restaurant Group), Alex Seidel (Fruition and Mercantile Dining & Provision),and James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal of Mindy’s HotChocolate in Chicago. Joining them is (Bryan Dayton of Oak at Fourteenth, Acorn, Brider) as mixologist and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman (Boulder Wine Merchant).

Rebirth of a Culinary Landmark

Former John’s Restaurant location reborn as River and Woods.

011The small house at 2328 Pearl Street in Boulder long was John’s Restaurant, an atmospheric, romantic, family-run restaurant.  Chef-restaurateur John Bizzarro operated the place for decades, and then Corey Buck took over. Eventually, Buck moved on and the quaint cottage stood empty. John and his wife Nancy still own the building, and they were determined that no chain would occupy the space. It took a while to find a team to renovate and operate it.

John's exterior was red. The new paint job is sky blue with dark trim.
John’s exterior was red. The new paint job is sky blue with dark trim.

That team, publisher/restaurateur Josh Dinar and Denver star chef Daniel Asher, have created River and Woods, a new paradigm in Boulder dining. There is neither river nor woods nearby, but the name implies a simpler, more natural approach to food.  Asher was behind the cutting-edge food at Denver’s Root Down, Linger and Ophelia’s. Dinar is a co-owner of Boulder’s T|ACO, co-founder of First Bite Boulder and publisher of DiningOut Magazines.

The bar near the entrance is light and bright -- at least in daylight. We'll have to see what it's like on a winter evening when the sun sets early.
The beam-ceilinged bar near the entrance is light and bright — at least in daylight. We’ll have to see what it’s like on a winter evening when the sun sets early.
Outdoor tables made from gorgeous rustic reclaimed wood.
Outdoor tables made from gorgeous rustic reclaimed wood.

River and Woods is a sprightly new space with a terrific outdoor backyard. A few rustic tables and wooden barrels were scattered amid the trees on pre-opening weekend, and there’s also an outdoor kitchen that wasn’t yet operating. The new menu uses local ingredients to create food that is both familiar and infused with innovation. Some of the recipes are tributes to the Bizzarro days. Others derive from contributions solicited from Boulder foodies. Still others come from the fertile culinary mind of Daniel Asher.

Chef Daniel Asher passing River and Woods' unusual and excellent gazpacho.
Chef Daniel Asher passing River and Woods’ unusual and excellent gazpacho.

We were invited to the Friday night opening party where wonderful small bites were  passed around (spicy corn dogs were the best — and I don’t generally like corn dogs all that much). And today, we sampled the real thing at a Friends and Family Brunch.

When is a Bloody Mary not a Bloody Mary? When it's made with the restaurants Tomato Barbato Gazpacho, which I'd loved two evenings before, and Spring 44 Vodka and an application of lime salt on the side ot the glass.
When is a Bloody Mary not a Bloody Mary? When it’s made with the restaurant’s Tomato Barbato Gazpacho, which I’d loved two evenings before, plus Spring 44 Vodka and an application of lime salt one the side of the glass. Look closely next to the lime wedge and you’ll spot it. The gazpacho recipe was shared by Lisa Barbato, a Spanish teacher at Boulder High School.
The improbably delicious croissant BLT is loaded with Tenderbelly bacon, organic greens, heirloom tomato, two-year cedar from Vermont, Calabrian pepper aioli and a Cottonwood Creek egg, over easy. On the side, the restaurant's excellent breakfast potato. Josh Dinar told me that his 10-year-old son made these breakfast sandwiches. The kid has a future!
The improbably delicious croissant BLT is loaded with Tenderbelly bacon, organic greens, heirloom tomato, two-year cheddar from Vermont, Calabrian pepper aioli and a Cottonwood Creek egg, over easy. On the side, the restaurant’s excellent breakfast potato. Josh Dinar told me that his 10-year-old son assembled these breakfast sandwiches. The kid has a future!
Zimmer Challah French Toast, a recipe contributed by Pat Miller (aka, Gabby Gourmet) from a recipe she got from Sara Zimmer a concentration camp survivor. In this tribute dish, the challah bread with Marionberry cream cheese and baked in an individual lidded cast iron mini-casserole until the top is golden. On the side, warm maple syrup,, those excellent breakfast potatoes and some dressed organic greens
Zimmer Challah French Toast from, a recipe contributed by Pat Miller (aka, Gabby Gourmet) from a recipe she got from the late Sara Zimmer, a concentration camp survivor. In this tribute dish, soaked challah bread is combined with Marionberry cream cheese and baked in an individual cast iron mini-casserole until the top is browned.. On the side, warm maple syrup, those excellent breakfast potatoes and some dressed organic greens.
Close-up of the top of the French toast.
Close-up of the top of the French toast.
A generous cup of coffee, attractively served as is everything else at River and Woods.
A generous cup of coffee, attractively served — as is everything else at River and Woods.

The old John’s Restaurant was a special-occasion place to dine, and judging by our initial experience, River and Woods will be that as well.

Price Check: At brunch, entrées, $7-$13.

River and Woods is at 2328 Pearl Street, Boulder.

Denver Food & Wine Fest

Eat, drink and celebrate local chefs and winemakers.

denverfoodwinefest2016-logoThe Denver Food + Wine Festival is six days events celebrating the good life at the table. It takes place downtown on the Pepsi Center grounds, Metro State and he Curtis Hotel. Here’s the roundup. Click here for details and to buy tickets.

Tuesday, September 6. Culinary Cinema Night,  part of the ongoing Culinary Cinema Series, a partnership between the Colorado Restaurant Association and Denver Film Society, the Denver Food + Wine Festival will kick off with an evening comprised of great food, great drinks and a great movie. An exclusive screening of an engaging culinary film will be paired with wine, cocktails and bites from Denver’s notable chefs.

Wednesday, September 7. Dinner Under the Stars, which is new for 2016, celebrates the best of what Colorado’s culinary scene has to offer. Each course of the curated, five-course prix fixe meal is designed by a different acclaimed chef and served in a beautiful outdoor setting.

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No Holds Barred at Bar Dough Brunch

McKissock’s LoHi hit adds weekend brunch.

024Drives to Denver in the middle of the day are usually predictably mellow and stress-free. Traffic is light, and if it slows down, I can switch to “Toll” on my transponder. Except this past Thursday, when a couple of cars piled into the concrete barrier and/or each other on Davidson Mesa, and  traffic backed up behind the accident. I’m betting that one or both drivers were texting of jabbering on their phones.

I was irritated, because I was heading for Bar Dough, Max McKissock’s highly praised restaurant in LoHi for a brunch preview. I arrived after the other guests had done damage to several of the dishes. What was left looked good, and what was served from  then on was delicious and beautifully presented.

Simple modern lines serve as a setting for Bar Dough's complex dishes.
Simple modern lines serve as a setting for Bar Dough’s complex dishes.
I suppose it helps to be oa certain age to recognize French sexpot Brigitte Bardot perching on a bar somewhere in France in this picture perching on Bar Dough's bar. Love the humor.
I suppose it helps to be of a certain age to recognize French movie star Brigitte Bardot perching on a bar somewhere in France in this picture perching on Bar Dough’s bar. Love the humor.

Continue reading No Holds Barred at Bar Dough Brunch