Category Archives: Restaurant & multiple restaurants

Cochon 555 Returns to Denver

Reprise of chef competition featuring heritage breed pork.

The ninth annual Cochon 555 is back on Sunday, March 19, this year at The Curtis Hotel.  Pork lovers flock to this event, Denver’s tribute to “the other white meat” and what leading local chefs do with it. In addition to chefs, winemakers, distillers, farmers, brewers and bartenders bring their best products and creations.

At last year’s event, chef/restaurateur Troy Guard won the Prince of Porc title. Next, the five following chefs compete for the same title for 2017:
Bill Miner, il Porcellino Salumi, Denver
Will Nolan, Eight K, Viceroy Snowmass
Darrel Truett, Barolo Grill, Denver
Hosea Rosenberg, Blackbelly Market, Boulder
Burton Koelliker, Osteria Marco, Denver

Each chef is given one whole heritage breed pig of 200 pounds and one week to prepare the whole animal. Each chef must present a “Judge’s Plate” of six dishes that a panel of 20 “notable” judges score on utilization, global influences, cooking techniques and overall flavor.  The winner is crowned the “BBQ Prince/Princess” of Denver — even though not all dishes are barbecue items.

For the price of admission, attendees sample 30 chef/competitor- created dishes,  plus beef tartare with the wines of Antica Napa Valley; farmhouse cheeses; baked goods from a La Brea pop-up bakery; bites from a salami snack bar from Creminelli and Divina; ramen noodle soups paired with wines from Twomey and Silver Oak Cellars wines; organic pâté from Les Trois Petit Cochons; Sabatino truffle butter and more; and an innovative take on classic pastry presented by Perfect Puree of Napa Valley.
For beverages, Buffalo Trace and DRY Sparkling, Smoked Old Fashioneds with Breckenridge Bourbon, a Tiki Bar featuring Angostura Rum; a Courvoisier Cognac ‘neat’ tasting with hand-crafted caramels and a Heritage Rum Cart.

Tickets for general admission start at $125; VIP tickets (early admission + exclusive sommelier and cocktail competition tastings) are $200. A portion of all proceeds goes to Cochon555’s sister charity, Piggy Bank. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.cochon555.com/2017-tour/Denver and scroll down.

 

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.

New Eatery in Vail Village

SFO-based PlumpJack Group debuts Pendulum in resort town.

Pendulum, a new upscale restaurant opened in the heart of Vail Village on January 18.  Described as “one of the first new restaurant builds to open in Vail Village in eight years,” Pendulum serves what is called “innovative American cuisine accented with Latin influences.” The San Francisco-based PlumpJack Group opened Pendulum after the re-opening of local favorite White Bison.

Pendulum takes the space occupied for nearly half a century by the Ore House, a classic old steak and seafood place. Pendulum’s aesthetic is “modern lodge,” whose interior features rustic light wood walls, dark stone accents, hand-crafted iron, soft lighting and a striking custom-made chandelier. In addition to the dining room, Pendulum has an inviting bar and a standing-only patio.

Executive chef Jake Burkhardt, who also oversees the culinary program at White Bison, which PlumpJack recently reopened, developed a menu is focusing on the rotisserie and wood-fired oven. His dishes also draw technique and flavor inspiration from Argentina, Mexico and Spain.  The dessert program is overseen by pastry chef Natalie Barsov, who also is responsible for the desserts at White Bison. The beverage program at Pendulum emphasizes fine wines, seasonal ingredients, well-balanced drinks and a carefully curated spirits collection including high-end scotches and cognacs.

Pendulum is located in the Gorsuch Building (yes, the same family as Neil) at 232 Bridge Street, Vail Village. Zomato.com has not yet discovered Pendulum.

Masterpiece Deli Named Leading Sandwich Shop

Thrillist.com’s best in the country includes Denver staple.

Thrillist.com assembled a selection of “The 33 best Sandwich Shops in the Country,” and right there is Masterpiece Deli, of which the site’s senior editor Andy Kryza wrote:

Denver, Colorado

Justin Brunson, the chef behind Masterpiece Deli, also owns one of Denver’s most important restaurants (the acclaimed Old Major), and his culinary talents are equally showcased at this humble deli. One of the major feats of this Mile High shop is its versatility. The menu features a mouthwatering 12-hour-braised beef brisket smothered in a rich Taleggio fondue and served on a baguette. And damn it if Masterpiece’s bland-as-hell-sounding roasted vegetable sandwich isn’t one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, too. The flavors of the fresh zucchini, wild mushrooms, and piquillo peppers mesh gloriously with the hummus, a zesty tomato tapenade, and aged provolone on a baguette. Though the Cubano — loaded with Black Forest ham and brined mojo pork and glued together with melted Swiss — might be enough to tempt even the president of PETA over to the dark side.

The original is in LoHi, where it was a pioneering good-food presence. There’s a second Masterpiece Deli in Uptown and a related eatery,  Masterpiece Kitchen, in Lowry.

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.