Trends without end, the final round: nanobreweries, restaurant economics and the demise of mixology

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Samir Mohammad, executive chef, Lala's Pizzeria + Wine Bar
On artisans, cheese, pickling and mixology: I predict that chefs will go back to their artisan roots -- making cheese, curing meats, making their own pastas and baking their own breads, butchering whole animals, focusing on artisan farmers and staying as local as possible. I think we'll also see more rooftop gardens, restaurants growing their own herbs, and a lot more pickling and preserving. I think cheese, in particular, is going to become a real focal point in a lot of restaurants; it's so very underrated and deserves more attention, especially with all of the amazing artisan cheesemakers in our own back yard. When it comes to herbs, I think we'll see a lot more uncommon varieties -- things like lemon verbena, lemon balm, chervil, sorrel, chamomile, lovage, hyssop and angelica. I also see more chefs teaming up with mixologists to create amazing restaurants that really personify ultimate dining. For me, personally, I know I'll be focusing on keeping my food simple and looking back to the classics and putting a modern twist on them

On gluten-free diets: I think the gluten-free fad is going to fade -- yes, I know there are people with real celiac problems and I take it seriously, but it's still a fad, and not everyone who claims to have this disease is being honest.

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Jorel Pierce, executive chef, Euclid Hall
On bigger cities and big-city chefs: I feel like we're going to see some repeat mistakes -- some critical mistakes -- namely, chefs from other cities moving to Denver and trying to initiate a new concept and then having to refocus their concepts over and over again to try to fit the necessity and find their niche. I feel like we have more and more of these big-shot chefs rolling into town in an attempt to prove themselves, while not really understanding what Denver wants -- which is good, honest food. To the new chefs who are coming to Denver: Bring the money and the better-than-we-are reputation -- the more the merrier - but understand that just because you're from a bigger city or have a big name doesn't mean that you understand what Denver wants or needs. Those of us who have been cooking here for a long time get it. We'll serve up the horse you rode in on -- get some.


Stefanie Jones, founder, Stefanie Jones | Public Relations, Inc.

On the surge of sandwiches: Masterpiece Deli has proven that Denver diners love a good sandwich and that the upscale sandwich concept can be successful. I think we're going to see a number of quality sandwich shops opening in 2013 serving high-end, house-cured and rotisserie meats, local cheeses, house-made jams, relishes and aiolis, and fresh baked breads. It's a concept that works well at any time of day.

On the whole beast: The nose-to-tail movement is going to be a much more significant trend in Denver in 2013 with restaurants like Kachina Southwestern Grill, Second Home Kitchen + Bar and soon, Beast & Bottle, all touting whole animal and in-house butchery programs. We'll see more unfamiliar cuts and preparations on Denver menus and an increase in farmer/shepherd dinners.

On going international: There's a lack of legit, non-trendy ethnic food in Denver, so I'm hoping that we see a resurgence of solid, authentic Indian, Thai and Korean restaurants that open and thrive in 2013.


Location Info

The Bar Car

819 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Music

City, O' City

206 E. 13th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

WaterCourse Foods

837 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria

410 E. 7th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

1317 14th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Marczyk Fine Foods

770 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

A Cote Bar a Absinthe

2239 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Z Cuisine

2239 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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7 comments
UhhhmericanPsycho
UhhhmericanPsycho

Hot Mixology is an abomination of a bar. Their bartenders are horrible. Maybe I'll open up a burger king but call it Per Se. Hot indeed.

GFisNOTaFAD
GFisNOTaFAD

Samir-I think the fact that you think gluten free is a fad is exactly why I spent several nights of my life vomiting and all the other gross details that come with Celiac disease for 6+ hours following meals in your restaurant (former restaurant, not Lola's).  My friend talked me into trying your restaurant again, and the second time I had the same exact experience exactly 3 hours after eating your food.  After 7+ years of being gluten-free, I can say that those 2 experiences were the most painful I have had in my life aside from getting my tonsils removed at the age of 28.  It felt like the most horrific cases of food poisioning I could imagine.  I have learned my lesson.  I have to admit the food you cook is delicious and I think you are a great chef in that respect.  However, I think your lack of understanding of this disease and the people who have it is evident by your lack of care in your kitchen when either preparing these meals or understanding ingredients.  Whether a person has true celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or just know they feel better off when they remove gluten from their diet should not matter to you.  But I can tell you wholeheartdly, the fact that you take us seriously matters to us.  Guess what..we usually don't go out to dinner in a pack of GF eaters.  We eat with our families and friends, many who don't have Celiac.  And if 1 person can't eat at your restaurant then none of these people eat at your restaurant.  You don't just lose 1 customer...you can lose many.  Gluten Free is NOT a fad.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@GFisNOTaFAD 

Samir is correct.  While there are people who truly must have gluten free diets, there are still many people who have gone gluten free because they feel that it's the thing to do these days.  I see it every day.

UnBoulevardier
UnBoulevardier

@foodcrazy @GFisNOTaFAD I would be appalled  to see a 'chef' call out a guest's 'supposed' peanut allergy as a fad as opposed to something that causes asphyxiation and death in a dining room.  I've been in a restaurant, as a guest, where someone had to have an Epi-shot in the dining room because of an allergy reaction. I don't care if you're FOH or BOH it's our job in the restaurant industry to take care of those that come into our establishments and make sure they have a wonderful and safe time. If a cook publicly professes to not care about a guest's allergies or questions if their health is a choice rather than something they have to live with every day it's quite simple to take our business elsewhere.  In the industry we deal with people's dietary requests and desires every day.  That's in our job description.  Only a massive fucking prick would ask for a guest's medical records before complying with their dietary requests.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@UnBoulevardier @foodcrazy @GFisNOTaFAD 

Oop!  Good catch.  It's celiac disease.  Thanks for pointing that out.  Now get back to the corner.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@UnBoulevardier @foodcrazy @GFisNOTaFAD 

Samir didn't say that folks with gluten free diets would not be accommodated.  I haven't been to a food joint where folks with gluten free diets were not accommodated.  It's just that many folks claim to be celeriac (but who really aren't) because it's fashionable.  You obviously don't get it.  It's time for you to sit your crybaby butts in the corner and finish whining it out.

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