Part two: Denver and Boulder's most quotable chefs
Biggest compliment you've ever received: When I see a plate come back from the dining room into the dish station that looks like it's been licked clean by a dog. I call these plates "doggy-style" plates, and I love to see them.
What are your biggest pet peeves? People who come into a restaurant five minutes before it closes, but mainly people who order a gorgeous piece of steak, salmon or tuna well done. That just kills me. They obviously have no idea what they're doing and don't care about what they're eating.
Full interview: Chef Aaron Bennett of Bácaro Venetian Taverna on his epic meal with Emeril Lagasse
Former exec chef of Adrift (now with Beast + Bottle)
What are your biggest pet peeves? Cooks poking holes in the plastic wrap on containers instead of just taking it off -- you know, guys that stick their fingers through the plastic wrap rather than removing it. That drives me nuts. It's super-lazy. Hanging dirty knives on the knife rack kills me, too. Actually, that destroys me. People that burn shit or fuck food up and then try to sell it -- that pisses me off, too. You made that wrong, but you're going to sell it anyway? No, dude, you should fucking know better than that. Don't do things wrong. That's pussy-ass bullshit. I don't do that. I start over and tell the server to tell the table that I messed up. If it's wrong, fucking fix it.
Full interview: Adrift chef Wade Kirwan offers a colorfully worded explanation of his pet peeves
Black Cat and Bramble & Hare
What are your biggest pet peeves? On a personal level, people who breathe with their mouths wide open, shake your hand awkwardly and don't look you in the eye. Professionally? All of the above, as well as self-absorbed servers, cooks who don't grab everything they need on their first run to the walk-in, and bartenders who don't know how to make a Brown Derby.
Full interview: Josh Monopoli, chef de cuisine of Black Cat & Bramble & Hare, on trustafarians, farm-to-table and food hangups
Celebrity chef who needs a muzzle: Guy Fieri...because he talks. I have four words for you: winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Full interview: Bentley Folse, exec chef of Finley's Pub, gives good cluck
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: A better understanding of the true value of food and the energy and effort that people put into food -- food that, too often, shouldn't be nearly as cheap as it is. It's not about greed; it's about providing a fair standard of living for people -- farmers, for example -- in the industry. At some point, you have to stop cheapening food and realize its value in our lives. I want farms and ranchers and their workers to earn a fair wage. They can only do that if we value food for more than just price. If farmers and producers stay in business, then we all benefit. I'd also like to see increased accessibility to local and artisanal food through more farmers' markets, along with greater support of local producers by restaurants, supermarkets and even fast-food chains. As chefs and cooks, we can't be blind. We must create a more socially just and economically viable commerce for those working in the first link of the food chain.
Full interview: The Kitchen's Hugo Matheson on escapism, a contrary vegan and fair wages