Tag Archives: Denver chefs

Denver FIVE Class of 2014 is All Female

New frontier for Colorado culinary promotion launched in 2008

DenverFive-logoA quintet of women who rock the local dining scene have been selected as the Denver FIVE, a trademarked name for the annual promotional strike force recruited to raise the profile for Colorado cuisine on the national scene. This brainchild of Leigh Sullivan, herself a promotional force of Denver dining, was launched in 2008. Previous FIVEs have been male-exclusive or at least heavily male-dominated.


The 2014 FIVE

The traditional schedule is on again for the class of 2014: FIVE@Five dinners, an appearance at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and the yearly pilgrimage to the James Beard House in September. A full schedule of events, tickets and locations will be available at online.


Sixth ‘Denver Five’ Chefs Group Announced

Leading local chefs set to promote Denver’s culinary scene

DenverFive-logoThe Denver FIVE Class of 2013 features yet another crop of talented local chefs who are eager to promote Colorado’s culinary scene to a national foodie audience via FIVE @ Five dinners, an appearance at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and the yearly pilgrimage to New York’s James Beard House in September. Since this is the sixth Denver FIVE group, is it now the Denver THIRTY? DenverFive2013

The 2013 FIVE are Matt Selby, executive chef/partner, The Corner House; Kevin Morrison, chef owner/perator, Pinche Tacos; Ian Kleinman, FIVE’s Mad Genius and chef/creator of The Inventing Room; Jorel Pierce, chef de cuisine, Euclid Hall, and Sean Yontz, executive chef/partner, El Diablo and Sketch. Also, returning as expert beverage professional who will pair the wines and cocktails at each FIVE event is sommelier Jonathan Greschle, Old Major, a “seafood, wine and swine” restaurant,” scheduled to open next month in Lower Highland.

The Denver FIVE is the brainchild of Leigh Sullivan, daughter of a Denver restaurateur and ex-wife of another and restaurant marketing consultant in her own right, who has been instrumental in helping the Denver dining scene get the national recognition she believes it deserves.

Harvest Week Parties Coming to Denver’s GrowHaus

Independent restaurants to strut their imaginative stuff

Thirty-six independent restaurants that are part of the EatDenver promotional group are hosting a series of pop-up  dinner parties at the GrowHaus, an indoor oasis in the food desert of northeast Denver, on October 14-19.  Parties will sprout-up each day – a brunch and five dinners – featuring different chefs and interactive themes.  Click on the link for each theme for participating restaurants and menus, and to purchase.

Hand-crafted cocktails, local brews and wines accompany each four- to six-course feast  Guests must bring their own place settings (plate, cutlery and wine glasses) and also are asked to be creative as there will be a prize for the best place setting each night. Each party has a theme created to encourage guest participation.

The food-and-drink part begins with passed appetizers and cocktails crafted by some of the city’s best mixologists.  Then guests will then be seated at large community tables and the festivities will begin.  Everyone is encouraged to join the fun with outfits to match the party’s theme.  Meals are served family-style meal and presented by the chefs, paired with beer and wine and accompanied by live music.  And yes, there are contests and games, which people either love or loathe.  Proceeds from the events go to support the efforts of EatDenver and The GrowHaus, a nonprofit indoor farm, marketplace and educational center in Denver’s Swansea-Elyria neighborhood. TheGrowHaus is at 4751 York Street, Denver, 720-515-4751.

Second Denver FIVE (or FOUR) Introduced

Denver FIVE: it’s not just about Denver or only chefs anymore 

The second group of the Denver FIVE, a quintet of top local chefs (and one mixologist), was inducted last night.  Brandon Biederman (Steuben’s Food Service), Paul C. Reilly (Encore), Bryan Dayton (Oak at Fourteenth, Boulder, where is actually the the beverage  wizard, not the chef) and Enrique Socarras (Cuba Cuba) are four of the second FIVE, and I’m waiting to find out who the fifth is — if in fact, there was a fifth. Maybe it’s the Denver FOUR this year, the Denver THREE next year, the Denver TWO the following year and the Denver ONE in 2014. Or maybe not.

And I’m hoping to get an image from the induction to post as well. While the inductees and others in the restaurant biz were celebrating and feasting, I was sweating through a tough exercise class to try to undo some of the damage caused by previous indulgences.

 In any case, the second group joins the first FIVE  (Troy Guard, Matt Selby, Tyler Wiard, Jamey Fader and Brian Laird), who will become mentors of some sort. The Denver FIVE is the brainchild Leigh Sullivan, restaurant publicist and wife of Troy Guard.  They have cooked together for fun, to support good causes, at the Food & Wine Festival at Aspen and to spread the gospel of Colorado cuisine at New York’s James Beard House, where they cooked at least twice.

Note: After I wrote this, Leigh sent me a message indicating that she is close to adding a fifth the the FIVE. Other than the induction evening, no Denver FIVE events are immediately scheduled, so she has time. It’s not as if there’;s a shortage of culinary talent in Denver!

Denver Chef of the Year and Related Honors

Jasinski, Rowell, Winston, Layman and one of the Bortz bakers took top honors in 2010

The general announcement of Denver Magazine’s 2010 Chef of the year will appear in the October issue, but the names were named, the awards handed out and the applause clapped yesterday evening at a ceremony at Denver’s landmark Union Station on a mezzanine high above the waiting room.

The nomination and selection process is long and involves culinarians, sommeliers, farmers and other purveyors to the top restaurants in the Mile High City. The nominees are narrowed down to three finalists in each category, and the Denver Magazine’s senior food editor Stacey Brugeman does deep research into each before the magazine selects the winners. It is not a popularity contest or a people’s choice process. It’s pros nominating and voting for pros for their professional skills, consistency, innovation and contributions to Denver.

The festivities started with a cocktail reception featuring items prepared by last year’s winners. So there were (below) rabbit pâté from 2009 Chef of the Year Alex Seidel of Fruition and diver scallops by 2009 Specialty Chef Justin Brunson of Masterpiece Delicatessen.  I ate but didn’t get a decent photograph of the heirloom tomato canapé by 2009 Rising Star Chef James Rugile of Venue. I neither got a chance to try or photograph the gin-based South Park Cocktail by Sean Kenyon of Steuben’s and Vesta Dipping Grill. Yasmin Lozada-Hissom of Duo and Olivéa, 2009 Baker of the Year, sent each 2010 guest home with a three-pack of macaroons.

The 2010 finalists with winners in boldface in the list below the picture. 

Chef of the Year Finalists

Jeff Osaka, Twelve Restaurant
Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja, Bistro Vendome and Euclid Hall
Tyler Wiard, Elway’s

Rising Star Finalists

Brad Rowell, Colt & Gray
Chris MacGillivray, Olivéa
Sergio Romero, Argyll

Specialty Chef: Street Cart Finalists

Chad Clevenger, The Porker
David Bravdica, Brava! Pizzeria della Strada
Mike Winston, Gastro Cart

Mixologist Finalists

Kevin Burke, Colt & Gray
Randy Layman, Vesta Dipping Grill
Sean Kenyon, Steuben’s Food Service

Baker Finalists: Savories, Not Pastries

Gregory Bortz, The Denver Bread Company
Jeff Cleary, Grateful Bread Company
Michael Bortz, City Bakery
Note: Greg and Michael are not related.

Congratulations to all. Next year, folks, you’ll be doing the cooking while the 2011 finalists wait for the names of the award-winners to be announced.