Part two with JP Krause, exec chef of Aloft
Part one of my interview with JP Krause, exec chef of Aloft Broomfield, ran yesterday. This is part two of our interview.
Favorite restaurant in America: Denver's own Bennett's BBQ, but not because of the food. It's all about the memories that have a special place in my heart. I haven't even been there since I was probably twelve, but I remember going every week with my family to see my grandma and grandpa. We would meet there, and all of the kids would always be bored, but it wasn't until Grandpa Bernie passed away that I really understood how the place, and even the smell, could really bring back memories. I think that's why I haven't been back there, because I'd want to run in, take some candy off the hostess stand, turn the corner and expect to see my grandpa enjoying ribs...just like I did when I was a kid.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: I'd love to see more integrity and honesty represented on restaurant menus, especially when it comes to farms. I worked for someone in the past who put the names of real farms on the menus, despite the fact that the farms didn't even really supply our restaurant. After I saw that, I was determined to honestly represent where our food actually comes from.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Fewer copycat coffee shops. There are so many of the same exact coffee shops around here that sell the exact same products. In other major cities, there are so many independently owned coffee shops with so much variety. I just don't see a lot of that variety here. Then again, I drink tea. I was recently in Seattle, and it was so fun to get a different chai from different independent shops every day. Getting a drink from a small business owner who's proud of his individual style isn't something we get enough of here. There's nothing better than getting great customer service, supporting a local small business, and relaxing in a place that isn't as hustle-bustle as the big brand everyone knows.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? Hands down, the Le Creuset pot my wife got for me. They're excellent when you're slow cooking, because they hold heat really well and distribute it equally well across the bottom. Making pulled pork has never been so easy.
What are your favorite wines and/or beers? I'm keen on pumpkin beer right know, and I'm really enjoying the Peach Porch Lounger from New Belgium, or Great Divide's raspberry beer. When it comes to wines, I like a sweet, crisp riesling or champagne.
Favorite childhood food memory: Pumpkin pie with a big dollop of Cool Whip. It just reminds me of family and sitting together at Thanksgiving with my grandparents, not to mention that just the smells and spices of cinnamon and nutmeg with pumpkin should permeate the world. From pumpkin spiced latte to pumpkin cheesecake, there's a big reason why we all love pumpkin, especially pumpkin pie.
Most memorable meal you've ever had: I was in a two-month training program at Summit restaurant at the Broadmoor as a line cook before we actually opened, which gave me a chance to learn the essentials, try out recipes, and even work closely with Jacques Pépin for a little bit. After all the training and time we spent to set everything up, the staff had a chance to eat in the dining room for the soft opening. It was such a great experience seeing it as a customer, and it was the first time I really sat back and noticed all the details and how much I could impact the guest's experience firsthand.