Part one: Denver and Boulder's most quotable chefs
Check back tomorrow to see another round of our favorite Chef and Tell quotes.
Thanksgiving is a day that gives us food for thought and time to reflect on the things for which we're thankful - our health, our friends, our kids, our jobs and dogs, wine, and the family master baster whose glossy golden turkey supplied leftovers for the next week. And this year, as we were going around the table expressing our gratitude, I was reminded of how much I love the vibrant restaurant scene in this city and the chefs who make eating out in Denver such a pleasure. And every week, I have the honor of interviewing one of those chefs, all of whom give me - and our readers - plenty to chew on. I spent last week going through every single one of those Chef and Tell interviews, pulling out some of my favorite chef quotes from the past year. Herewith, part one of the witty, the pithy, the serious, the salacious and the blunt:
- Drew Hardin, exec chef of Lola, on cooks who don't have passion
- The Kitchen's Hugo Matheson on escapism, a contrary vegan and fair wages
- Kevin Morrison, exec chef-owner of Pinche Taqueria, on learning enough to move on
What's never in your kitchen? Egos. When we're at work and in the kitchen, it's never about us; you have to work as a team. To earn respect, you have to give it. I would take a less knowledgeable cook with a great attitude and work ethic over a talented prodigy with a pissy attitude any day of the week. Egos get in the way of the ultimate goal of making good food and making the restaurant better.
Full interview: Darrel Truett, exec chef of Barolo Grill, on bacon everything, truffles and "Insalata 21, 31, 41, 51"
Rules of conduct in your kitchen: We have an entire list of rules written on the wall in the kitchen. The first two are "Eye of the Tiger" and "Shit on your own time." The first one refers to having a goal and accomplishing it -- kind of like going into battle. And the second one means be ready to kick ass and always take pride in what you're doing. I have a few more, including respect the fucking cheese, don't fuck with my spoons, fear the Mohawk and always watch the demon burner.
Full interview: Mitch Mayers, exec chef of Black Pearl, on Mohawks and Agio
What's always in your kitchen? Women, because they're strong and make the kitchen more dynamic, and it always seems like they're way more organized than me.
Full interview: Matt Lewis, exec chef of Bones, on pop-ups, burgers and women
Williams & Graham
Rules of conduct in your kitchen: Use your brain: It's there for a reason. I'm happy to help anyone learn if I've got something to teach, and I'm happy to jump in if we're behind or in the weeds, but I don't like babysitting. I try to find people who are self-reliant and who do things right; it doesn't take any longer to do something correctly. If I've done my job the right way, it shouldn't be a challenge. I also require efficiency. Running all over the kitchen because things aren't where they should be is unnerving. And move your ass! I hate Sunday drivers -- on the road, in the kitchen or on the floor. I really appreciate a good sense of urgency. And now that I sound like a complete prick, I want people to have fun. It's a new way of thinking for me, and a bit unusual at times, but it's important, especially when you spend a lot of hours in a small space with the same people every day.
Full interview: David Bumgardner, exec chef of Williams & Graham, on moving your ass
What are your ingredient obsessions? Everything. Every ingredient has a story and history, and I care as much about ground beef -- hamburgers -- as I do about foie gras, truffles and caviar. I'm obsessed with each ingredient being the best it can possibly be, because it's far easier to make food with quality ingredients -- and try not to screw them up -- than to try and compensate for inferior ingredients. That adds an unnecessary pressure.
Full interview: Thomas Salamunovich, exec chef of Larkspur (and Larkburger) on farm-to-table fatigue