Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Event at Vail

Boulder chefs dominate Colorado stop of annual event.

The eight-stop James Beard Foundation’s 2017 Celebrity Chef Tour’s Colorado alights on Friday, April 7, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. in Vail. The foundation describes this event as featuring “Colorado’s most up & coming chefs, outstanding purveyors and wine makers for a night of food & wine.” I know it will be a superlative event. but I would take issue with the description of participating culinarians as “up and coming.” Every one of them is a local star.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at Thomas Salumunovich’s Larkspur Events & Dining venue. The James Beard Foundation  and the Taste of Vail join to host this event that starts with a cocktail reception with passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a seven-course dinner with wine pairings.

Chefs

  • Thomas Salamunovich (host), Billy Fitzgerald and Christian McCallion. Larkspur Restaurant.
  • Chef Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey. Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder.
  • Brian Busker, Matsuhisa, Vail.
  • Cara Luff and Hunter Chamness. Boxcar Restaurant, Avon.
  • Eric Skokan. Black Cat Restaurant, Bramble & Hare and Black Cat Farm.
  • Daniel Asher. River and Woods, Boulder.

Entry is steep, but oh, what an event it promises to be. There is/was a limited early-bird price of $175 per person.  Entry for is $135 for U.S. Bank FlexPerks Rewards Cardholders and $195 for the general public. Click here for tickets. Larkspur is ast 458 Vail Valley Drive, Vail.

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.

 

Shrimp Louie for Valentine’s Day

Celebratory dinner at home.

I’m one who thinks of Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark holiday,” so we usually eat at home. We set a nice table with flowery dishes with hearts as part of the rim pattern, cloth napkins, a split of good champagne and something really good to eat — and roses.

Sprouts was selling gorgeous and sustainable jumbo shrimp, so I adapted a Crab Louie recipe from Food & Wine and came up with this spin on an old-school classic:

Shrimp Louie

Ingredients

Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad

3/4 pound asparagus
1 head Romaine hearts, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges
1/2 pound jump shrimp, steamed and peeled

  1. In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the ketchup, relish, lemon juice, garlic, Tabasco, paprika, chili powder and salt and pepper. Let stand at room while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Steam asparagus until just tender, 3 minutes or so. Drain and cool.
  3. Arrange the romaine, tomatoes, eggs and asparagus on a platter. Top with shrimp and serve, with the dressing on the side.
And for dessert, bakery-bought sweets.

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.

Bone Appétit with BIY Dog Biscuits

Bake-Your-Own dog treats recipe.

We’ve just gotten over Valentine’s Day, when up comes National Love Your Pet Day on February 20. I don’t know what marketing mind made this up, but Carrington Farms, purveyor of coconut oil and other healthy products developed a recipe for dog treats using coconut oil.

Here’s the company’s recipe for baking dog treats for your pooch or even to try yourself. After all, there’s nothing in it that’s not fit for human consumption:

Peanut Butter Bones

Ingredients

1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon of Carrington Farm’s Virgin Coconut Oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In a separate bowl, combine flours and oatmeal. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Place dough on flour-dusted surface. Roll or press dough out to about ¼ inch thick. Use a small bone-shaped cookie cutter to cut out cookies — or any other shape; the dog won’t care. The size is up to you, depending on the size of your dog. Roll out leftover scraps and cut out as many as possible.

Line a cook sheet with parchment paper. Place cut-out cookies on the baking sheet. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Store at room temp in an airtight container for about a week, or longer if you store in the refrigerator.

Bone appétit.

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

Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.