Category Archives: Chef

Chef Shuffle in Aspen

Moscatello heads west & Zubrod comes down the street.

Bryan Moscatello
Bryan Moscatello

On the eve of the 2015 Food & Wine Classic at Aspen, Bryan Moscatello departed Element 47, the spectacular signature restaurant in e Nell Hotel where he had been since late 2013. He took his knives and left for Napa to head the kitchen at The Lakehouse, currently open only to overnight guests at the Calistoga Ranch,  an ultra-posh resort.  When he was with the long-shuttered Adega, Moscatello was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2003.

MatthewZubrodDuring his career, Matthew Zubrod has been with several Ritz-Carltons (including Aspen Highlands, Boston and Naples Florida) as well as Monette’s at the Hotel Mauna Kea in Hawaii and San Diego’s fabled Hotel del Coronado and most recently BB’s Kitchen, a few blocks from The Nell. He is now there, putting his stamp on Element 47.

 

Keystone’s Ski Tip Welcomes New Chef

CMC/Keystone alum returns to Ski Tip Lodge.

KeystoneResort-logoJordan Alley, a 2009 graduate of Colorado Mountain College and former Ski Tip Lodge sous-chef, returns as executive chef with 10 years of culinary experience.  He spent five years in CMC’s noteworthy apprenticeship program with Keystone Resort. Before his return to Keystone, he was sous-chef at Z-Cuisine in Denver, chef de partie of Fruition Restaurant in Denver and chef de partie at Bouchon in Las Vegas.

Jordan Alley, new executive chef at Keystone's Ski Tip Lodge.
Jordan Alley, new executive chef at Keystone’s Ski Tip Lodge.

Alley is hitting the ground running, kicking off his tenure at the Ski Tip on Sunday, June 14 at 6 p.m. with a six-course showcase dinner, including a meet-and-greet to begin the evening. Featuring a seasonal heirloom tomato salad with locally sourced goat cheese, house-made ricotta-filled gnocchi and a braised and glazed veal cheek entrée, the introductory dinner is $115 and requires reservations (call 970-496-4386 or through opentable.com).The showcase is the first of several culinary events that at the Ski Tip Lodge this summer. Others include Summer Après every day from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunshine and Wine tastings (July 12, August 2 and 30 and September 13) and Wine Dinners (July 20, August 21 and September 18).

RIP: Roger Vergé, Pioneering French Chef

RogerVergeRemember when nouvelle cuisine was, in fact, nouvelle? I do. It was in the ’60s when the American mainstream media was reporting more on the counterculture than the culinary culture.  But the buzz among chefs and gourmands (“foodie” was not yet a concept) was about the lightened up French fare introduced by a group of daring young French chefs, who steered their country’s heralded haute cuisine in a lighter and more artistic direction. I had visited France as part of a college summer trip to Europe, and while there was nothing haute about the food my friend and I ate, it was a palate-tickler. When I lived in New York soon thereafter, Biarritz and Le Mont St. Michel were on my block, and other moderately priced French restaurants were not far away. My interest never waned.

Chefs like Roger Vergé, Paul Bocuse, the Troisgros brothers and Michel Guérard were on the vanguard of this revolution, whose after-effects linger to this day. The Moulin de Mougins restaurant that Vergé established in a village near Cannes earned two Michelin stars. He was an early celebrity chef, a restaurateur, hotelier and author of several cookbooks. He called his food Cuisine du Soleil, cuisine of the sun. He died on June 5 at the age of 85. The New York Times ran a lengthy obituary.

Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

Celebrating a favorite wine for the warm months.

RoseWinesWhen my husband and I visited Greece last year, I started drinking the country’s rosé wines. It started a summer of drinking these light and lovely wines almost every evening. Therefore, I’m cheered that the first-ever Drink Pink Vino International Rosé Wine Festival is coming to the Omni Interlocken Resort’s Outdoor Pavilion in Broomfield on Thursday, June 11.

Chris and Darcy Davies, the fine folks who run the Denver International Wine Festival and other events celebrating adult beverages and interesting food, are presenting Drink Pink Vino. Davies clears up a common misconception of what rosés are: “Far from being a diluted red, rosés are produced from the same grapes as more full-bodied reds, but the juice is only allowed to ferment with the grape skins for a few days, giving rosés their delicate pink color.  Rosé wine consumption in the U.S. is growing by double digits. More and more producers are releasing their versions of incredibly food-friendly Rosés. The Drink Pink Vino International Rosé Wine Festival offers wine enthusiasts the chance to sample over sixty new releases right before the summer Rosé drinking season.”

Rosé brands committed to pour at the event include Ponzi Vineyards, Chêne Bleu, Presuqu’ile, Buglioni, Schramsberg, Scharffenberger and Henri Gaillard Rosé Côtes, Barton & Guestier, Saved, Rosatella , Mouton Cadet, Simi, Wild Horse and Creekside Cellars.

Celebrity hosts will include Top Chef Season 5 Winner Hosea Rosenberg of Blackbelly Market and Restaurant and Madeleine de Jean (aka, “Madame Champagne”). Participating restaurants include Blackbelly, Oceanaire Seafood Room and Big Mac & Little Lu’s Seafood Room.

Click here to purchase general admission or VIP tickets.

The Torch Passes at Barolo Grill

Iconic Italian restaurant changes hands but stays in the family.

BaroloGrill-logoSome restaurants seem immutable, but of course, they aren’t. It seemed as if Blair Taylor would always own the Barolo Grill, and as if Brian Laird would always be the chef in this revered Piemontese restaurant in the Congress Park/Cherry Creek area. First Laird departed to become the opening (and short-lived) chef at Sarto’s, and now Ryan Fletter, Barolo’s longtime general manager, has purchased the celebrated Denver restaurant from founder Blair Taylor.

Fletter is promising to continue the same lofty levels of food, wine and service that have kept the restaurant at the pinnacle of the Denver dining scene for years.  Ryan Fletter recently took control of the restaurant, and Taylor plans to concentrate on his Denver-based wine-importing business. Taylor initially started bringing in certain desired vintages through Enotec Imports, a friend’s importing company and bought it in late 1997.

Ryan Fletter, Barolo Grill's new owner.
Ryan Fletter, Barolo Grill’s new owner.

Fletter began working as a waiter at Barolo just 18 months after the restaurant opened in December 1992. He became bar manager and then general manager, took a hiatus to work at in San Francisco restaurant from 2001 to 2003, and returned 12 years ago to take over day-to-day operations as  general manager and wine director. In the process, Barolo Grill began earning the a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence.

Darrel Fluet now captains Barolo Grill’s kitchen, and I have no idea where Brian Laird might be cooking now.

Barolo Grill on Urbanspoon

Wonderful Wine Pairing at 1515 Restaurant

Four courses and eight wines make for indulgent evening,

001I had long heard about 1515 Restaurant on the fringes of Denver’s LoDo district, known for great dining options, but I had never eat there — until last night. Owner Gene Tang, executive chef Joseph Arena and master sommelier Emily Papach tag-teamed to present a four-course feast, each one paired with one wine from Cambria Estate Winery and one from Freemark Abbey, both in California’s Napa Valley, several being single vineyard wines.

A table set with starched linens, multiple wineglasses and a an artillery of flatware is always a promise of fine food and wine to come.
A table set with starched linens, multiple wineglasses and a an artillery of flatware is always a promise of fine food and wine to come.
Emily Papach table-hopped after each course to ask us all which wine we thought paired better with the dish we just ate. Our little pod of four seemed to agree that some wines tasted better by themselves and some worked better with the food.
Emily Papach table-hopped after each course to ask us all which wine we thought paired better with the dish we just ate. Our little pod of four seemed to agree that some wines tasted better by themselves and some worked better with the food.
The first course was an artistic presentation or a wonderful crisp-crusted egg prepared sous-vide so that the white and yolk cooked evenly, a frog leg (
The first course was an artistic presentation or a wonderful crisp-crusted egg prepared sous-vide so that the white and yolk cooked evenly, a frog leg (“tastes like chicken”). edamame, bits of spring green onion, sherry and butter sauce (called vin jaune) and red olives. Yes, red olives! Both wines were 2012 Viogniers, the Napa Valley label from Freemark Abbey and Tepusquet Vineyard from Cambria.
Roasted golden tilefish. which tastes something like snapper, buerre blanc, asparagus tips arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern and capers.
Roasted golden tilefish. which tastes something like snapper, buerre blanc, asparagus tips arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern and capers. The wines were both 2013 chardonnays Freemark’s Napa Valley and Cambria’s Katherine’s Vineyard.
My little camera cannot ever capture beef dishes as beautiful as they are on the plate. This course of 7X Wagyu beef topped with crisp tidbits of bone marrow, plus rainbow chard and a wonderful ragout of wild mushroom Bordelaise. The beef was flavorful but not especially tender, but what left a bad taste was learning that 7X Cattle Company is a holding of one of the Koch brothers. Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and Cambria Benchbreak Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 went a long way in helping me overlook that knowledge.
My little camera cannot ever capture beef dishes as beautiful as they are on the plate. This course of 7X Wagyu beef topped with crisp tidbits of bone marrow, plus rainbow chard and a wonderful ragout of wild mushroom Bordelaise. The beef was flavorful but not especially tender, but what left a bad taste was learning that 7X Cattle Company is a holding of one of the Koch brothers. Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and Cambria Benchbreak Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 went a long way in helping me overlook that knowledge.
The exquisite composted dessert was a fitting finale to this wonderful meal. A deep chocolate terrine topped with a perfect vanilla tuile with salted caramel ice cream called for fabulous wines. Cambria's Tepusquet Vineyard Syrah 2012 was fine, but the Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Caber Sauvignon was over the top. Aged in new French oak plus a year of bottle-aging, it retails at $107 per bottle and was by far the most expensive wine poured at this wonderful dinner.
The exquisite composted dessert was a fitting finale to this wonderful meal. A deep chocolate terrine topped with a perfect vanilla tuile with salted caramel ice cream called for fabulous wines. Cambria’s Tepusquet Vineyard Syrah 2012 was fine, but the Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Caber Sauvignon was over the top. Aged in new French oak plus a year of bottle-aging, it retails at $107 per bottle and was by far the most expensive wine poured at this wonderful dinner.

1515 Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Boulder — An Underrated Food City?

Thrillist-logo Thrillist.com the latest to “discover” Boulder’s vibrant food scene.

I’m always pleased when national media shine the spotlight on Colorado’s food scene — even more so when Boulder is singled out. But I was startled when Thrillist.com selected Boulder as for its roundup of “The 7 Most Underrated American Food Cities in 2015.”

Underrated? Boulder’s highly regarded, even nationally known restaurants are written about all the time, and Boulder  boasts one of the best farmers’ markets in the land and has been the wellspring for natural and organic food companies starting with Celestial Seasonings to whichever food or beverage startup will launch next weekend.

Thrillist.com tasked Cindy Sutter, the Boulder Daily Camera food editor, with writing about the Boulder food scene. She focused on the restaurant aspect, understandably including “the usual suspects.” Here’s what she wrote:

“When people think of America’s culinary capitals they usually look to the coasts: New York, San  Francisco,      and New Orleans all regularly top the lists of the best American food cities. But hiding in the ‘flyover states’ and in ‘harbors-that-not-many-people-live-in’ is a cache of culinary talent that’s just as worthy of sinking your teeth into.

“We’ve already touched on seven of these underdog cities, but our country’s cupboards are hiding so much more deliciousness and so many cities’ scenes have exploded in the past year, so we thought it worthwhile to give props to seven more gastronomically obsessed towns. And to show just what makes each great, we tapped a local writer to share what makes that food scene unique. Here are seven cities you’ll immediately want to visit.”

About Boulder: “Boulder residents would likely be surprised to find their town on an underrated food city list. And it’s not only because Bon Appétit magazine picked Boulder as America’s Foodiest Town in 2010. Take a walk down Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, and you’ll see what the magazine folks saw.

“Start at Frasca Food and Wine, where co-owners Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson and Bobby Stuckey have two James Beard Awards. Stuckey is one of 118 Master Sommeliers worldwide, as are six other Boulder residents. Not bad for a town with a population of 100,000 and change. Head west (toward the mountains) and make another stop at OAK at fourteenth, where local meats, vegetables, and even luscious Colorado peaches take a turn in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven.

“Veer a block or so off Pearl to find the Black Cat, whose chef-owner, Eric Skokan, raises the restaurant’s vegetables (including heirloom dent corn for GMO-free polenta), as well as ducks, pigs, and beef cattle on his farm on county-owned land preserved for agricultural uses. This year, Skokan released a cookbook, ‘Farm Fork Food’, that he edited on his smartphone from the seat of his tractor. Or try The Kitchen, which has nourished relationships with local organic farmers since it opened in 2004; its nonprofit Kitchen Community builds school gardens, placing more than a 100 in Chicago, where it also recently opened a restaurant to positive reviews. You also might want to try Salt, where the food is local, seasonal, and GMO-free.

“Food, health, and sustainable agriculture have a long, intertwining history in Boulder. The bustling Boulder County Farmers’ Market, also near Pearl Street, got its start in 1987. The town that popularized herbal tea and tofu also had a strong hand in craft beer, with Boulder County boasting 40 breweries and counting. After you’ve taken in the scene, do what Boulderites do: eat and run (or hike or bike). There are trails just a few steps away from those amazing restaurants.

“And if that’s not enough for you, go east a couple of miles and find ‘Top Chef’ winner Hosea Rosenberg’s Blackbelly, which received well-deserved national attention when it opened last year.” – Cindy Sutter, Daily Camera food editor.

Rounding out the “most underrated list” are Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Kansas City, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Portland, Maine and Providence, R.I.