Round two with Darrel Truett, exec chef of Barolo Grill
Weirdest customer request: We always serve our housemade breadsticks with a dipping sauce, but we change them up, so sometimes it's roasted garlic and parsley, other times it's roasted tomato, and we also do a butternut sage. On this particular night, the dipping sauce was a kalamata olive. A woman requested a soup bowl full of the dipping sauce as her first course. I don't have a problem with people requesting weird things as long as they're happy with what's presented to them. Just remember, though, that you ordered it.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: Andouillette sausage, which is basically a sausage made from pig colon. On one of our free nights during one of our trips to Italy, we went to this cool-looking restaurant in Beaune, France, and we noticed that they had andouillette on the menu. We ordered two for the table so we all could try it. One bite was all I needed. Not for me.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? Last Christmas, my wife and daughter surprised me with the Modernist Cuisine book series. It gives you everything you could want, from history to techniques to plating. Every trick of the trade or secret is found within those pages.
What's always in your refrigerator? Cold cuts or cured meats for sandwiches -- usually prosciutto and some arugula on a focaccia roll at work, or if I'm at home, roast turkey, Muenster cheese and white bread.
Best recipe tip for a home cook: Don't cook bacon when you're naked. Just kidding. How about, just let it cook. When you add chicken, fish or beef to a hot pan -- and it sticks -- don't touch it. The flesh will release when it's ready, and that's when you turn the fish or meat.
Favorite food city in America: San Diego, especially La Jolla. Every year, we try and take a family vacation, and we've gone to San Diego for the past few years. We enjoy the seafood and outdoor dining experience at George's at the Cove, now known as California Modern. The view is spectacular, and chef Trey Foshee's menu always has awesome seasonal California produce, plus his dishes are artfully presented.
If you could change one thing about the Denver dining scene, what would it be? A high-quality, late-night good-eats joint -- something similar to Blue Ribbon Restaurant in New York City, a place where chefs can hang out after work to wind down.
Favorite celebrity chef: Charlie Trotter. During culinary school, before I went to class, I'd always watch Charlie Trotter's Cooking Sessions on PBS. I have every book he's written, and I appreciate his philosophy behind his food, and his community efforts are equally commendable. He was also the guest speaker at my graduation from Johnson & Wales University, and I got to meet him.