Round two with Roam chef Tony Clement: the fortune cookie, Justin Brunson and slaughtering animals
This is part two of my interview with Tony Clement, exec chef of Roam. Part two of our chat ran yesterday.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Markets that actually sell local ingredients. I've got nothing but props for the Boulder Farmers' Market, Denver Urban Homesteaders Market and the farmers who attend, but it's appalling to me when I see boxes of California and Mexican produce behind the stands at certain markets that I won't mention. The organizers of these markets, as well as the vendors, are obviously trying to take advantage of us and should be ashamed.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Crappy Mexican restaurants. We have a strong Mexican population in Denver and some great places to get great, authentic food, so how do all these crappy, margarita-slinging jokes on Mexican culture do so well?
Biggest compliment you've ever received: My biggest compliment may have come as a total coincidence from an inanimate object. When I was in culinary school in Philadelphia, I opened a fortune cookie that read, "You have the ability to become a master chef." I'm not a superstitious person, but it's still in my wallet to this day, and it's certainly motivated me.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? When I was growing up, I liked to cook recipes out of my mom's Joy of Cooking. A few years ago, she had it rebound and gave it to me.
What do you cook at home that you never cook at the restaurant? For many years, the way I cooked at home and work was very different. At Roam, however, I'm focusing on simple food that utilizes organic and local ingredients, which is exactly how I cook at home. The only real difference is that we cook in our fireplace most of the time at home. We live in a little, rustic, old-school A-frame cabin with a small electric heat stove, so I have quite the cast-iron collection for cooking things in the fireplace.
What are your favorite wines and/or beers? I'm much more of a beer fan than a wine fan, and I'm loving the American beer "revolution." There are way too many good beers being made today to choose a favorite.
Favorite food from your childhood: I'm from an Italian-American family, and just like any East Coast Italian-American, I would argue to the grave that my mom and grandma make the best meatballs and sauce in the world.