Raves and rants: Local chefs weigh in with their culinary predictions for 2011

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Lori Midson
TAG executive chef/owner Troy Guard predicts that cheese will be the top food of 2011
What does 2011 hold for the culinary world? We asked several local chefs to consult their crystal orbs, talk to the (whole) beast, bend their ears to the farmland and unearth a few trends that will shape the way we eat next year. Here are the predictions of some of our best kitchen magicians:

"Because of the uptick on the stock market and stabilization of fuel prices, as well as a freeze on most federal taxation, the anti-luxury trend will loosen up, so I think we'll see more foie gras, caviar, luxury meats and seafood making a semi-comeback," predicts Michael Long, the executive chef of Aria, which opened last week in Cherry Creek . In addition, he says, "the farm-to-table will only get bigger as farmers adapt to food service purchasing needs and get real with pricing." For his part, Long is longing for a year full of cardoons, bottarga, razor clams, huitlacoche, duck eggs that have the fetus intact, and more traditionally raised veal.

"I think 2011 is going to see the blossoming of Front Range food artisans and their cuisine," foresees Eric Skokan, owner and executive chef of Black Cat Bistro, a pasture-to-plate restaurant in Boulder that procures many of its ingredients from Skokan's own farm in Niwot. "I think we'll also see more restaurants that root their menus in local artisan food crafts. My restaurant, Root Down, Osteria Marco and the newly opened Pinyon in Boulder are a few examples." The corollary, notes Skonan, "of this emerging trend is the diminishing use of Costco -- literally -- as a source of inspiration for restaurant chefs."

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