Round two with David Bumgardner, exec chef of Williams & Graham
This is part two of my interview with David Bumgardner, exec chef of Williams & Graham. Part one of my chat with Bumgardner ran yesterday.
Favorite restaurant in America: I don't get around much, but when I lived in Cleveland, I always had great experiences at Lola Bistro. Every time I hear chef Michael Symon cackling on TV, I think of those days.
Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: I love Solera. Goose Sorensen always seems to be having so much fun with his dishes, and it's always been a warm and friendly place to hang out. Lao Wang Noodle House and Star Kitchen are right up there, too; I absolutely gorge myself on dumplings and dim sum. I'm always afraid those places will disappear into the ether.
Last restaurant you visited: Z Cuisine. I got thrown into an invite to a little pork and wine party with the Z crew, Grant Family farms and some friends. It was a fantastic family feast, and at the end of the night, I found myself cleaning the kitchen. It was perfect. I felt right at home.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: I'd love to see some real delis, a year-round market and an awesome bakery -- not a confectionary, but a real bakery that makes wonderful, spot-on, perfect bread.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: This is another one of those tricky questions. You know the ones I mean. But what bothers me most is trying to be everything to everyone. Having a specialty makes a restaurant unique, and therefore more attractive in my eyes. Diluting your work to try to please every single person's proclivity makes no sense to me. Nor does it ever work.
Which chef in Denver/Boulder do you most respect? I don't know that I could choose just one. So many of the guys in town, and their staffs, have been really gracious to me with their spaces, their time, their knowledge and letting me into their worlds. There are dozens of guys I respect, all of whom have made it feel like a brotherhood more than a competition.
If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? I'd love to cook with Ferran Adrià, just to see how incredibly outclassed I'd be by his staff. Maybe I could do dishes; I'm good at dishing.