Round two with Fabio Flagiello, exec chef of PastaVino
Part one of my interview with Fabio Flagiello, exec-chef owner of PastaVino, ran yesterday; this is part two of our chat.
Favorite restaurant in America: Le Bernardin, in New York. For me, eating at Le Bernardin is like being in Europe, where the cooking process is done with the time and accuracy that it deserves.
Favorite cheap eat in Denver/Boulder: Zoe Ma Ma, a Chinese restaurant in Boulder that features signature dishes and delicious Chinese home cooking. And unlike most Americanized Chinese restaurants, the dishes here are made with high-quality ingredients, including homemade organic noodles, cage-free eggs and all-natural meats. It's also really affordable, and the history behind the restaurant is great, too. The actual "mama" is still doing the cooking, even though she's in her seventies. The thing is, she doesn't miss a beat -- or a day of work. I love that place.
If you only had 24 hours in Denver/Boulder, where would you eat? I'd visit Duo for its seasonal contemporary American cuisine. It's one of Denver's best farm-to-table restaurants, and it's just a great place to eat overall. And I'd eat at the Kitchen, my next-door neighbor in Boulder. In my opinion, the Kitchen is still the best representation of what Boulder is all about. It's a restaurant that embodies the community in every way: It was built by a community of craftsmen, serving food and drink from a community of like-minded farmers, ranchers and purveyors for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community, including the staff. And I love how committed everyone is to environmentally friendly practices like composting, wind power and eco-friendly packaging.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: I'd like to see more research of the products and the history of cuisines, and I wish people were less concerned about the trends and more concerned about the excellence of the food...where even the minor details have a reason based on history and traditions.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Fewer mid-level restaurants -- places that aren't necessarily inexpensive yet serve mediocre food. It's much better to be an inexpensive restaurant with just basic food, or a restaurant where I'll end up paying a little bit more money, but for a really great meal.
Most memorable meal you've ever had: Maison Troisgros, in Roanne, France, in the French Alps. My meal there was absolutely unforgettable. The Troisgroses are a family of French restaurateurs, and they've played an incredibly significant role in the history of French cuisine. Pierre's son, Michel Troisgros, has played a major role since 1983, and he's now the owner of the restaurant, which has been awarded three Michelin stars since 1968 and was also named the "best French restaurant in the world" by Gault Millau. Along with amazing French cuisine, it also has the loveliest Burgundy wines. I highly, highly recommend it.
If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? The best kitchen I've ever cooked in was a non-commercial kitchen in Beverly Hills. It was Miss Kraft's kitchen, and it just happened to be the most well-equipped kitchen I've ever seen. Over $20,000 was spent just for copper pots and pans, and it even had a Tandoori oven and a full Chinese wok. I'd love to cook in that kitchen again.