Round two with Mike Sullivan, exec chef of Devil's Food Bakery and Cookery
This is part two of my interview with Mike Sullivan, executive chef of Devil's Food Bakery and Cookery. Part one of my chat with Sullivan ran in this space yesterday.
Favorite restaurant in America: May's Restaurant in Frederick, Maryland. They serve all-you-can-eat blue crabs and pitchers of beer. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Best food city in America: The ethnic food that exists in Chicago is just amazing. Granted, I haven't traveled to all the places on earth that I'd like to, but the food in Chicago has really impressed me, and everything I've eaten there makes me want to go back again.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Smaller, family-owned, intimate restaurants. Devil's Food has 36 indoor seats, and about twenty more on our quaint, garden-style patio. There's something inherently nice about cooking food for a smaller crowd, which allows me to pay more attention to the quality of food that leaves our kitchen. We're able to oversee every aspect of every dish, from prepping to cooking to plating -- and that's something that you don't get at a whole lot of restaurants. We like to build long-term relationships with our customer, not one-night stands.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: People who refer to themselves as "foodies." If you're a true "foodie," you don't need to tell the rest of the world. As chefs, we love to hear feedback -- positive or negative -- about our restaurant, but we don't want to hear about what so-and-so does at some other random place, followed by the question: "Why don't you offer this dish like they do?"
Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: Il Pastio in Boulder makes the best homemade pasta I've ever had. It's a complete hidden gem in a town with a lot of hype, but they've proven that you don't need to have a million-dollar kitchen to make incredible food, or a sixty-page wine list.
Current Denver culinary genius: I have to give it to Alex Seidel and his staff at Fruition. Those guys are sick in the kitchen and super-laid-back, the food is delicious food, and the atmosphere is great -- essentially, it's everything you could hope for in a restaurant.