Pete Marczyk, chef-owner of Marczyk Fine Foods, sounds off on why food regulation makes him want to throw his baguette
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Less fear and regulation around food. Cigarettes and booze are legal, for God's sake! How bad can raw milk, salami, a rare burger or fresh mozzarella really be? Please don't even get me going on this. Smoke and drink all you want, but for Christ's sake, do not even think of keeping fully cured meat at room temperature in Denver. Our regulations are totally out of whack and designed for crappy-in-the-first-place factory food. Let's allow people to make their own decisions about what they want to eat, damn it. We know for certain that cigarettes kill hundreds of thousands of people a year -- and yet they're legal. Think of the hue and cry if the government tried to outlaw them. Well, that's exactly what's happening with food.
What are your biggest pet peeves? People who don't know their burger temperatures. Rare equals red; medium equals pink; well-done equals brown. And that leads to the notion that for food to be safe, it has to be "cooked through." Look at the USDA guidelines on cooking temps. They're basically admitting that we have a tainted food supply; it's disgusting. As a society, we're moving toward a culture of literally sterile food. I'm sorry that we live in an age when a pregnant woman is worried about eating a hamburger that's cooked medium. The whole regulatory system is designed for ConAgra and JBS Swift. They have their place, but the system is there to support them to the exclusion of small-scale producers, and it's totally jacking with our food culture in this country.
Most humbling moment as a chef: Almost anytime I eat in one of the restaurants whose "kitchen I'd like to cook in."
Greatest accomplishment as a chef: I'm still working on it, but I'm really proud of our team, and it always amazes me to hear them talk so passionately with our customers about our food and products.
What's your dream restaurant? Simple food, dinner only, three or four dishes, open four nights a week, in Telluride.