Round two with Amos Watts, exec chef of Jax Fish House-Denver
This is part two of my interview with Amos Watts, exec chef of Jax Fish House-Denver. Part one of my interview with Watts ran yesterday.
Favorite restaurant in America: Next in Chicago. It's a really new and exciting concept where the restaurant changes every three months. I think taking on something like that would be a crazy challenge.
Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: Pizzeria Basta in Boulder is awesome. What they can accomplish with a wood-fired oven is amazing -- and not something I can replicate at home.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: I'd love to see something like San Francisco's Ferry Building open in Denver -- it would be awesome to have an indoor market where you can have a year-round farmers' market atmosphere.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: I'd like to see fewer menus that have things like farmed salmon, frozen tilapia, out-of-season frozen halibut and processed ingredients. There's no value in those kinds of things, and that's not the kind of food I want to cook or feed people.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? A set of Le Creuset pots from my mother-in-law. I use them every time I cook at home.
What are your favorite wines and/or beers? As far as wine goes, I really like the Rhone varietals that are grown in Dry Creek Valley, and what I really love about Colorado is how much beer knowledge people have. At Jax, we have an awesome beer list, and I've learned a ton about beer in the six months I've been back. Odell's IPA might be my favorite right now.
One book that every chef should read: On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee, has taught me more about cooking and technique than any other book I have. It delves into different experiments to find out things like whether searing meat really seals in the juices -- for the record, it doesn't -- or the best way to whip egg white.
You're making a pizza. What's on it? I want to say something cool like ibérico ham, but the reality is that nine times out of ten, it's sausage, peppers, mushrooms and onions.