The world of food according to Chuck James, chef of 1515 Restaurant
1515 Market Street
This is part two of my interview with Chuck James, executive chef of Restaurant 1515. to read part one of that interview, click here.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver from a culinary standpoint: I'd love to see more local ingredients sold at the farmers' markets.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver from a culinary standpoint: Fewer unprofessional people working in the industry. There are so many people in this business who are in it for the short term, which slows down those of us who have actually chosen this business as our career. I see it mostly with servers. When you get a great one, it's awesome, but bad servers can just ruin a restaurant. If this isn't what you love, or you don't give a shit, then find another career. We're in this business to work toward perfection
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? The first chef's knife my mother gave to me. It always seems to be the sharpest.
Favorite dish to cook at home: I'm at work all the time, so I never have time to cook at home. I eat whatever my girl, Kimberly, has for me, which is usually a sandwich with cold cuts -- ham, turkey, roast beef -- which I dig. Or quesadillas.
Favorite dish on your menu: The Chilean sea bass. The sea bass is sustainable and really fresh, and all of the accompanying ingredients -- peaches, corn, raspberries and arugula -- are local.
If you could put any dish on your menu, even though it might not sell, what would it be? I'd probably put grilled koala bear on the menu.
One book that every chef should read: Letters to a Young Chef, by Daniel Boulud. Anyone who loves food should read this book. It's a great look inside a chef's profession and train of thought.
What show would you pitch to the Food Network and what would it be about? I'd pitch So You Call Yourself a Foodie? Foodie snobs who always have something to say should be thrown into a kitchen to see just how much they really know about food and how long they'd last. Most of them would sink like a rock.
Current Denver culinary genius: Frank Bonanno. He's as much of a businessman as he is a chef, and he's really successful. All of his restaurants are run very, very intelligently. His food isn't new or groundbreaking, but it's wholesome and flavorful. And the fact that he cures his own meats and makes his own cheeses is really awesome.
You're making a hamburger. What's on it? A fresh housemade bun with ground Kobe beef, foie gras, mayo, lobster mushrooms, house-cured bacon, butter lettuce and Brie cheese.
Guiltiest food pleasure? I like the gorditas from Taco Bell. I realize that's horrible, but it's by my house, and at 2 a.m., where else am I supposed to eat?