Round two with Pete Marczyk, chef-owner of Marczyk Fine Foods
If you only had 24 hours in Denver/Boulder, where would you eat? From a purely hedonistic standpoint, Lachlan [MacKinnon-Patterson], Bobby [Stuckey] and the Frasca crew in Boulder are totally world-class, and that whole experience is truly special. So, one -- okay, maybe two -- meals at Frasca, and the other food I'd want would be from our longtime cook, Francisco. I'd hire him to cook at my home for a bunch of friends. He'd kill it.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? Books about food and the history behind it. I'm really hard to buy gifts for -- if I want it or need it, I go buy it -- but I really love getting books, especially historic books, about food. I want to get my hands on a copy of Le Gout du Pain; it's like the textbook on bread.
What are your favorite wines and/or beers? I like food and drink that are vernacular. Take Schiava from Alto Adige, or Bordeaux Clairet -- you really have to go out of your way to find them, but they just rock, especially with food. We sell a bunch of wines from local importers Phil and Kathy Sevier, whose wines I love. I'm also loving all the success of local stuff, from Infinite Monkey Theorem to Great Divide. We have some great options in Colorado, although I admit that I really miss the Gold Spike lager from Tabernash.
Favorite dishes at the market: The potato salad -- it's my mom's recipe -- along with our fresh mozzarella, house-made roast beef, any of our pies, the duck confit and Disco Jim's pimento cheese on our house-baked baguette. Oh, and our butchers make some of the best sausage anywhere.
Biggest menu bomb: Ratatouille. I think it needs a new name.
Favorite childhood food memory: I seriously have so many. Both my mom and dad are great cooks. My dad was always growing crazy vegetables and making things like white gazpacho from white tomatoes, and we had chickens and rabbits, a great garden and farms all around us. I think I'm just old enough to remember when agriculture was still local, and local food -- read: better -- was less regulated and simply more available. I remember having real bread in Mexico City when I was about ten, and I remember how it tasted with the slightly sour butter...ethereal and life-changing. I remember Silver Queen corn from Underwood's farm down the road from where I grew up; they picked the corn every morning, and my mom or dad would pick up a half-dozen ears almost every day when it was in season. My nana's ham and pickle salad was just stupid-good, and my mom's blackberry pies are totally outrageous. Those tastes stick with you through time.
Favorite junk food: Nolo contendere: Lay's potato chips are Kryptonite to me. I lose all my special powers in their presence.
One book that every chef should read: The Way to Cook, by Julia Child, sort of sums it up, and Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is way up there, too, and every chef should own Larousse Gastronomique: It's so totally Franco-centric and wonderful, and you see very quickly where the French attitude comes from. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a must-read for anyone who cares about sourcing and food politics.