Round two with Jeremy Thomas, exec chef of Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar
If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? Grant Achatz has the coolest equipment ever, and I'd love to learn some tricks from him. I also enjoy watching him on YouTube. Check out "Chef Grant Makes a Mess on the Table."
Describe the biggest challenges facing today's chefs: The competition. Thanks to all the cooking shows that are now on every channel, everyone wants to be a chef. The culinary schools are pumping graduates out, and it's making salaries lower and the competition stiffer.
Most humbling moment as a chef: Losing any culinary event or competition. I hate to lose; I'm super-competitive.
Biggest moment of euphoria in the kitchen: The first time I ate caviar, and every time since then. It's salty, sweet, has texture, and you feel the eggs bursting in your mouth. It's a magical food.
Greatest accomplishment as a chef: In 2008, the Brown Palace participated in the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, which was so much fun. We were cooking in our hotel room on click burners at 2 a.m. with the food-and-beverage director and the general manager...until security busted us. It was hilarious. I highly recommend that chefs go to Aspen for that event. And before I was a chef, I did a stage at Restaurant Daniel, which I'm still really proud of, plus it was one of the coolest kitchens I've ever seen.
What's one thing that people would be surprised to know about you? I love to skateboard. I know it seems a bit childish at my age, but I still love to get out there and ride.
Last meal before you die: Snow crab legs with drawn butter; a baked potato with cheese, bacon, and green onions; and a salad with Thousand Island dressing.
What's always lurking in your refrigerator? Sriracha. My wife is Korean, so it's something we always have around the house.
When you have a day off away from the kitchen, how do you spend your time? In the summer I like to fly-fish, work in the garden and hunt for porcini mushrooms when they're in season, and in the winter I like to snowboard.
What's in the pipeline? We're working on a spring menu and a Valentine's Day menu, Denver Restaurant Week, and making Le Grand better and better every day. And hopefully, we'll get to go to Aspen for the Classic. And then, who knows? Maybe a cookbook, or a cooking show. The sky's the limit. But none of this would be possible without our stellar kitchen staff. The cooks and my sous chef are the key ingredient to our success, day in and day out.