Chefs John Broening, Elise Wiggins, Hosea Rosenberg and more dish on the dining scene
The signature signs of a city that's on the culinary fast track reside in its willingness to take aggressive risks, push infinite boundaries and continually adapt to a fickle dining public whose expectations are always on the upswing. Denver is that city -- a major metropolis that refuses to slow down, unleashing triumphant restaurants, watering holes and breweries commanded by innovative masterminds, the likes of which have resulted in a James Beard Award-winning chef, nationally crowned cocktail champions and Einsteins of beer.
Hosea Rosenberg, founder of Blackbelly Catering.
See also: Welcome to Westword's 19th annual DISH
As a prelude to the September 22 DISH, Westword's annual celebration of the Denver dining scene, we picked the brains of nearly fifty Denver chefs, all of whom weighed in on Denver's current culinary landscape and the trends that have made their mark this past year. But that's not all we wanted to know: We also wondered which ingredient best personified their personalities and what ritual was an integral part of their daily routine.
Herewith the dish from Hosea Rosenberg, Elise Wiggins, John Broening, Michael Long, Jon Emanuel and Brandon Foster; watch for more installments through the week.
See also: Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg on his farm, catering company and restaurant
What don't people know about you that you wish they did? I have a degree in engineering physics, but I cooked, prepped and washed dishes to put myself through college.
What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? Having a glass of wine or beer after work under the tree in my backyard.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Flying, because it's definitely the best one.
What's the most positive trend in food, wine, cocktails or beer that you've noticed in Denver over the past year? So many chefs -- and bartenders, too - are growing their own food, doing everything from small, onsite gardens to full-on farms. It's definitely an amazing thing to see unfold.
Who's the one person to watch right now in the Denver dining scene? The Squeaky Bean's Max MacKissock was doing some of the most inventive food in the state when he was there. He's way ahead of the curve, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next.
Which ingredient is most representative of your personality? The pig. It sounds cliché, but I just love pork in every form. It's so versatile and works great with just about any ingredient...kind of like me. I like everyone and get along with most people I meet -- plus, now that I raise pigs, I have to represent the goods.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of Denver's culinary climate, what would you say? It's hot and getting hotter every day. There's no doubt that it's a super-exciting time to be a part the Denver-Boulder culinary scene.
What don't people know about you that you wish they did? I love to ride my Triumph Thruxton motorcycle.
What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? Coffee in the morning...first thing.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Bionic fingers, so I could work faster.
What's the most positive trend in food, wine, cocktails or beer that you've noticed in Denver over the past year? Going back to the classics.
Who's the one person to watch right now in the Denver dining scene? Jennifer Jasinski. She's always been at the top of her game, but now that she has a James Beard award, she'll change how people look at Denver.
Which ingredient is most representative of your personality? I'm from Louisiana, and Louisiana hot sauce is just like me: spicy and tart and goes with just about anything.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of Denver's culinary climate, what would you say? It's continuously exploding. Just when I think we might reach new-restaurant saturation, another half dozen open. Even with all the competition, there haven't been many closures, which tells you that Denver has a lot of quality restaurants.