Part two: Chef and Tell with molecular gastronomist Ian Kleinman

Ian at Steele 2.jpg
Lori Midson
This is part two of Lori Midson's Chef and Tell interview with Ian Kleinman; to read part one, click here.

Proudest moment as a chef: When my dad and I cooked Father's Day brunch together at the James Beard House. We had a 22-hour prep day and cooked for seventy people, and by the end of it, I nearly fell over from exhaustion, but it was so worth it to cook with just my dad. I've got to say, too, that it was a pretty proud series of moments when I and several other Denver chefs were asked to represent Colorado at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in 2004. It was just so cool walking down the street and saying hello to Masaharu Morimoto and getting to hang out with Jean-Georges. The whole thing was just so surreal.

Best food city in America: Chicago. For some reason, chefs in Chicago seem to take more risks than anywhere else. The chefs and restaurants there -- Charlie Trotter's, Tru, Blackbird, Alinea, Moto, L20 -- they all roll the dice and take risks. What's the point of cooking if we don't take risks?

Favorite restaurant in America: L20 in Chicago. In the past, chefs have used a lot of molecular techniques simply for bells and whistles, but Laurent Gras, the chef of L20, uses the technology to get the best flavors he possibly can out of his food.

Favorite music to cook by: Right now, Death Cab for Cutie or Brett Dennen, but I'll listen to just about anything.

Best recent food find: The antelope and wild boar dogs at Biker Jim's and the nut and caramel waffle at Waffle Brothers. I get a sugar rush every time I eat one of those, and then I've got to run around to shake it off.

Most embarrassing moment in the kitchen: I was carrying a five-gallon bucket of demi-glace on my shoulder, not realizing that I wasn't going to clear the door as I walked under it. It spilled all over my head and the hallway. I was at the Rialto Cafe with a crazy opening team of talent -- Duy Pham, Eric Roeder and Tim Opiel -- and I'd never felt so hopeless. I totally wasted a couple hundred dollars of product.

What you'd like to see more of in Denver from a culinary standpoint: A food vendor market with a bunch of different stalls -- a place to go and experience a bunch of different kinds of cuisines under one roof.

What you'd like to see less of in Denver from a culinary standpoint: Cliquey chefs. I'd like to see us be able to get together and talk about everything from A to Z -- no secrets, no judgments, no bullshit, no screwing each other over. Everyone needs to stop bucking up the bullshit and just be honest. We're all in this business together; we should be able to lean on each other.

Favorite cookbooks: elBulli. The pictures give me ideas about presentations, and while the recipes are usually too complex, they give me a base from which to start when I'm experimenting.

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