Tag Archives: Denver Botanic Gardens

Taste Buds Bloom at Botanic Gardens

P1020620Locals and lucky visitors know the Denver Botanic Gardens for their year-round horticultural displays outdoors and in the soaring conservatory, gardening classes, concerts, plant sales and Blossoms of Light every December. But the monthly cooking classes for adults (except in summer) and weekly classes for children (Fridays during the summer) are less well known.

Even less known than these culinary classes are the Gather dinners, pop-up feasts offered roughly quarterly with guests chefs from leading local restaurants presenting creative dinners for a maximum of 75 guests. Previous chefs were Alex Seidel of Fruition, Elise Wiggins of Panzano and Hosea Rosenberg, Blackbelly Catering and “Top Chef” Season 5 winner.

Yesterday evening was my first opportunity to experience a Gather dinner — and what an experience it was. Two long tables were set up in the narrow Orangerie with a garden view and indoor fruit trees in one direction and a view of the opulent conservatory plants in the other.

Chef Daniel Asher desscribing both his culinary philosophy and the next dish to Gather diners.
Chef Daniel Asher describing both his culinary philosophy and the next dish to Gather diners. Photo courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens.

Last evening’s guest chef was Daniel Asher from Root Down and Linger, two restaurants that have been on my Denver Dining bucket list since they opened. Asher created what he called a plant-centric four-course menu, more nuanced and elaborate that he could do in a restaurant dinner menu.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The evening began with gorgeous ruby red cocktails mixed by Mike Henderson, who according to his two-sided business card is both Root Down’s “cocktail service tech” (which is yet another extension of “mixologist” and “bartender” before that) and also Linger’s “spiritual advisor” (which seems just plain whimsical).

Mike Henserson, mixing two drinks at a time.
Mike Henderson, mixing two drinks at a time.


Then it was time to dine. Chef Asher is a gifted culinarian and committed advocate of fresh and local products. He not only conceived of a brilliant menu full of veggie wonderfulness, but presented each dish artistically — and named each one cleverly. My friend friend and fellow foodie, Toni Dash, who has serious gluten issues, was able to clean the plate at each course, and even though the macadamia-sesame crust on the dessert was reportedly gluten-free, she avoided it — in case. Continue reading Taste Buds Bloom at Botanic Gardens

Asher to Cook at Botanic Gardens’ Next “Gather”

Root Down and Linger chef at the quarterly event

DenverBotanicGardens-logoWord is that Daniel Asher, whose cuisine I have yet to try at either of his Denver restaurants, Root Down and Linger, will be cooking for the Denver Botanic Gardens’ next Gather event on April 30. The fact that I’ve never eaten at either of restaurants where Asher captains the kitchen has nothing to do with desire but a lot to do with the challenge in getting reservations at a desired time. This pop-up dinner is presented by the Denver Botanic Gardens, in partnership with Catering by Design.

Asher, like the Gather chefs before him (Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, Fruition’s Alex Seidel and Panzano’s Elise Wiggins), is developing a special menu for the event. Each Gather event is limited to 75 attendees, served at a long family-style table in Denver Botanic Garden’s Orangery, features four courses of seasonally inspired cuisine. I’m thrilled to have been invited next week, and I promise to report back. Gather is always BYOB, and I’ll have to drink judiciously since my husband, who is usually a good sport about driving home after a dinner out, declined the opportunity to attend. Call 720-865-3585 to check on last-minute ticket availablity for the event.