Round two with Jonathan Power, exec chef of the Populist

Lori Midson

Jonathan Power
The Populist
3163 Larimer Street

This is part two of my interview with Jonathan Power, executive chef of the Populist. Part one of our chat ran yesterday.

Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: I don't make it up there often enough, but I love Pizzeria Basta in Boulder. The service has always been spot-on, and they bring some beautiful flavors out of that oven.

Favorite cheap eat in Denver: Hands down, the banh mi from Baker's Palace. It's cheap and delicious and just far enough from my house that I haven't burned myself out on them...yet.

See also:
- Jonathan Power, exec chef of the Populist, on fungus, the sea bass bomb and "no salt"
- Denver's ten best new restaurants of 2012
- Exclusive first look: The Populist opens on Wednesday

If you could change one thing about the Denver dining scene, what would it be? Fewer cynics and more champions of our city. I think the restaurant scene here is growing in tremendous ways. We have a passionate pool of cooks and chefs in this town doing some pretty incredible things, and I firmly believe that as we build a solid community of food lovers and restaurant supporters, we'll continue to become an outstanding food city.

What do you enjoy most about your craft? There's limitless variety in the kitchen. We may cook the same dishes countless times while they're on the menu, but each night, each table and each plate is an opportunity to do it better than before. I love that while I may know loosely what every day holds for me, this craft forces me to constantly be on my toes.

What recent innovation has most influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way? The Internet is this incredible double-edged sword. Having a globally accessible public forum is so good for increasing exposure to wonderful restaurants and inventive chefs, but at the same time, the fact that anyone can use it to say essentially whatever they would like can affect restaurants in ways that just didn't exist before.

What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? A very good friend and business partner gave me a copy of Modernist Cuisine. It was a great gift, because it's something I never would have bought for myself because of the price tag, but I find it immensely fascinating and useful. It's an excellent resource, and it's been a real education for me on the science of what we do in the kitchen.

Fantasy splurge: A Pacojet. There are workarounds for most of the other gadgets I'd like to have, but the Pacojet makes a product pretty damn difficult to replicate.

Favorite cooking show: I don't own a TV, so I don't have a lot of access to cooking shows, but on YouTube, I love pulling up the old Marco Cooks For... series that was on the BBC. Marco Pierre White is such a personality, and his food was so specific and intentional. It's a great way to spend half an hour, plus the outtakes are amazing.

Location Info

The Populist

3163 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Pacojets are awesome! "Foodcrazy" sounds like a jackass

ScubaSteve topcommenter

I don't know why the hell someone would even need something like a "pacojet".  I've survived more than half a century without such a useless-sounding expensive toy, and I know for triple damn sure that I'll survive the rest of my living days without one.


I'm probably not the only one wondering "WTF is a pacojet?"

"Pacojet is a revolutionary device that transforms ordinary cooking into culinary magic.
Pacotizing enables chefs to ‘micro-puree’ deep-frozen foods into an ultra-light mousse, cream or sauce without thawing – capturing the natural flavours and nutrients in individual, ready-to-serve portions."

Thanks, Google.

Mantonat topcommenter

@foodcrazy So the desire to have fun in the kitchen and try new things should be discouraged at all costs. Did you happen to notice that the question was "fantasy splurge," not "vital kitchen tool." There was a time that people didn't even have meat grinders. They're clearly not necessary. Do you also ridicule those who make sausage or hamburgers?

ScubaSteve topcommenter

@Mantonat @foodcrazy 

Mark  --    You have dissed every comment I have ever posted.   So screw ya.  I'll continue to post comments and I have chosen to ignore all of your posts.  You're a bully.   


@foodcrazy If you didn't make such asinine comments you would not get responses like the one above. Why not stop whining that everyone is bullying you and make triple damn sure that your comments have a tiny bit of validity.

Mantonat topcommenter

@foodcrazy My intent is not to bully, my attempt is to disagree so that hopefully you (or anyone else) sees the wonderful possibilities of all different kinds of cooking. If you're dead set against the use of pacojets, then so be it, but I'm just curious why someone would have such a strong reaction against a kitchen tool, just because it's unfamiliar or based in new technology. 

I will attempt to form my disagreement in a less negative manner,  so that we can have interesting dialog, rather than feeling picked on.

This after all is the nature of a public forum - you read something you think is stupid, so you post a strong opinion. I (or anyone else) disagree with you. You can respond, ignore, or get mad as you choose.

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