Category Archives: Colorado

Local Author’s Book on African-American White House Chefs

Adrian Miller’s book launches at History Colorado museum.

Just in time for Presidents’ Day, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our Presidents from the Washingtons to the Obamas by award-winning Denver chef, author and soul food scholar Adrian Miller is now out.

It officially launches in the Mile High City on Saturday, February 18. The celebration starts with a pricy VIP party early, but from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the event is free and open to the public. In the course of the afternoon and evening, it includes former presidential chefs, presidential reenactors, presidential food and drink (from real White House recipes) and music (with the occasional campaign song thrown in) — some, of course, just for the VIP part. History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, Denver.

Three Local Chefs Named Beard Semi-Finalists

Redzikowski, Seidel & Skokan on 2017 list.

The James Beard Foundation released its list of semi-finalists for its 2017 James Beard Award. Three Colorado chefs — all from the Front Range — are in the running for Best Chef, Southwest recognition:

  • Steve Redzikowski. Acorn, Denver. He also is with Oak on Fourteenth in Boulder.
  • Alex Seidel. Mercantile, Denver. Also, Denver’s Fruition, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary.
  • Eric Skokan. Black Cat. Also, Bramble & Hare, just next door in Boulder.

Also, Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine was nominated as an Outstanding Restaurant. Not the first time, I believe.

New Denver FIVE List Unveiled

Leigh Sullivan’s selection of “five more.”

A decade ago, Denver restaurant consultant Leigh Sullivan established Denver FIVE (which now appears to be FIVE Colorado) to showcase the culinary talent in the Mile High City. Now in its 10th season, the list has been expanded to include a beverage team. Also, the culinary team includes an alumnus from a past season.

Denver FIVE (or Colorado FIVE). No names were provided, but I do know that the woman in the middle is Samm Sherman. Perhaps you recognize some of the others.

2017 FIVE Culinary Team

New Chef at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

Veteran chef joins luxurious Colorado high-country ranch and spa resort.

Back in September, the team at Devil’s Thumb Ranch was in shock when chef Evan Treadwell died suddenly in a boating accident. There’s a new executive chef now –Joshua Bettis, an 18-year veteran with other award-winning hotels, resorts and restaurants on his resume. At DTR near Tabernash, he is in now charge of all food and beverage operations, including the Ranch House Restaurant, Heck’s Tavern and Hallowed Grounds coffee shop, catering and banquet operations and sister restaurants, Volario’s Family Ristorante and Caffé Giocondo, both in nearby Winter Park. You might say that he has a full plate.

Joshua Bettis.

Bettis, a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, previously served as executive chef for The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Ky., and held executive sous-chef positions at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Ariz.; the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami and Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson . He was the opening executive chef for the French Bistro in Tucson, part of the Metro Restaurants Group and in Ireland, was chef de partie at Killarney Park Hoteland as executive sous-chef at Ballygarry House Hotel, both in County Kerry.

Restaurant Weeks in the Rockies

One in Denver, three in  northern New Mexico.

All of us who love to eat treasure restaurant weeks. The format is similar: a limited menu of several prix fixe courses (usually three) at very affordable prices. These promotional weeks have become low-season staples in some of the most interesting food cities in the land.

Denver

Denver’s 13th annual Restaurant Week from February 24 through March 5. That’s 10 days of great dining options. Visit Denver is now organizing the promotion The DRW format has evolved over the years. This year, instead of one price point, restaurants have the option of three: $25, $35 and $45 per person. That also gives diners the option of how much to splurge — or not. The bottom line is that some 150 restaurants are participating. The website enables diners to find restaurants by cuisine or neighborhood with just the click of a mouse.

New Mexico

Northern New Mexico’s three main dining destinations have their individual restaurant weeks: Santa Fe Restaurant Week, February 19 – 26; Taos Restaurant Week;  February 26 – March 5, and Albuquerque Restaurant Week,  March 5 – 12. Restaurants offer prix fixe dinners for $15, $25, $35 or $45 per person. Many offer value-priced lunches as well.

The Kitchen Cited as Farm-to-Table Pioneer

Food & Wine picks The Kitchen for Colorado.

thekitchen-sign-jpgFood & Wine magazine selected its choices for the best farm-to-table restaurant in every state, where hey surveyed food writers and bloggers. Even though they didn’t contact me, I’m happy to note that Boulder-born The Kitchen was the Colorado choice.  I concur, because The Kitchen really pioneered the concept in this neck of the culinary woods.

Here’s what Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore wrote (but the fact-checking or proofreading was flawed. It’s Kimbal Musk, not Kimbal Husk):

Colorado: The Kitchen

“Over the past five years in Boulder and Denver, I’ve noticed a big shift towards a vibrant restaurant scene with a palpable verve around sustainability,” said . “Restaurants like Black Cat, Potager, and Fruition have really stepped up to the plate to deliver inspired seasonal cuisine.” Paving the farm-to-table way in Colorado is The Kitchen, which has establishments in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins and applies its strong eco-friendly philosophy—that includes everything from the locally sourced ingredients to wind power to composting—in each location. Founders Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Husk have also created a nonprofit that’s built over 200 Learning Gardens in schools in Colorado, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Memphis for 120,000 students to discover the benefits of growing and eating fresh healthy food.

Long Running Blue Parrot Closing

Louisville landmark going dark after nearly a century.

BlueParrot-signWhen I moved to Boulder in 1988, “someone” told me about two terrific Italian restaurants in Louisville: Colacci’s and the Blue Parrot.  It took me a while to get to them, but compared to the southern Italian restaurants of the Northeast, they were not at all terrific. In fact, to my palate, they were remarkably mediocre.  Low-taste recipes and throw-back ambience, better for nostalgia than for actually eating there. The Colacci family was behind both.

Colacci’s closed some years ago, and now The Blue Parrot is planning on closing at the end of the month. Their spaghetti sauce is or was bottled, but I was never motivated to look for it. Too bad it couldn’t hang on for a couple of years to celebrate its 100th birthday.  I say “RIP,” but since I couldn’t bring myself to try it a second time,  I might be partially responsible for its demise.

Should you wish to pay it a farewell visit, it is at 640 Main Street, Louisville;  303 666-0677.