Round two with Jeremy Thomas, exec chef of Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar
This is part two of my interview with Jeremy Thomas, chef of Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.
What's never in your kitchen? Green peppers. When I worked at Sacre Bleu, the chef, Don, once asked me: "Do you know what green peppers are good for? The dumpster." I fully agree with that sentiment: They're bitter and don't lend themselves to other flavors very well.
- Jeremy Thomas, chef of Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar, on simplicity, spoons and Sheehan
- Ooh la la! A sneak peek at the foodography from Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar
- At Le Grand Bistro, belly up to the bar for classic French fare
What's always in your kitchen? Sarcasm. I'm always sarcastic, and most of the cooks are, too, but they know when it's time to get serious. It keeps it fun.
Favorite dish on your menu: Our Coquilles St. Jacques, with sea scallops, cauliflower purée, soaked golden raisins, fried capers, mini-croutons, house-cured bacon and brown butter, is pretty awesome. The flavors are harmonious, and the textures contrast with each other, which really makes it pop.
Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: I love the concept and the style of food of Punch Bowl, plus it's my sister restaurant, so, yeah, I'm biased; I'm an alumnus of the Brown Palace, so I like all of the restaurants there, plus it's just such a beautiful hotel; the owners at Willow Creek, a restaurant in Evergreen, are good friends, the views are awesome, and I grew up in the Evergreen area; chef Scott Parker at Table 6 totally rules, and we both learned from the same chef and the staff is like family; Alex Seidel's food at Fruition is so amazingly good, even when he's not there; Lon at ChoLon has way more skill than I -- and while I hate to say that, he's my boy; I love Frasca for the hospitality -- the front of the house is the best I've ever experienced; and Marty, the chef de cuisine at Linger, is a good friend and a killer chef.
Favorite cheap eat in Denver: It's not really cheap, but the value is great at the Crawling Crab on Federal. You wear a bib and rubber gloves, and they steam the shellfish in bags covered with sauce in varying degrees of heat and spice and then you pile up empty shells right on the table. The food is usually hot enough to make your nose run, but you can't really wipe it off, because your hands and gloves are covered in hot sauce -- and so is your drink. In other words, the place is super-fun.
If you could change one thing about the Denver dining scene, what would it be? Give Denver chefs more national recognition. I feel like Denver is an up-and-coming food city, but we still don't get the proper credit, despite the fact that we have some great restaurants that deserve to be in the national spotlight. I'd like to see some Michelin stars in our city.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? David Wiehler, who honed his craft at Le Bec-Fin and worked at many world-class restaurants like Le Bernardin and An American Place, gave me my foundation in the kitchen and many rules to live by. I'll owe that guy forever.