Richard Glover, chef of Fooducopia, on what still gives him nightmares
This is part two of my interview with Richard Glover, exec chef of Fooducopia; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.
Your three favorite Denver restaurants other than your own:
Pho 79 on Havana and Mississippi. I love the broth, the herbs are always fresh, and, as per custom, they don't bring a bill to your table, which is considered rude. I've also always had a really nice time at Vesta Dipping Grill. The atmosphere is great, the food is delicious and the staff is well-trained. If I want really fresh oysters and great cocktails, then I'll go to Jax Fish House.
Most underrated restaurant in Denver:
To tell you the truth, my own. Fooducopia has some of the best breakfast and lunch items around, but we're off the beaten path in the Wash Park neighborhood and sometimes hard to find. I love it when my regulars bring in first-timers -- just watching the enjoyment on their faces is great. We always hear high praise from our regulars, but most people still haven't heard of us.
Most memorable meal you've ever had:
In 2010, I had the chance to go to Maui, and while I was there, I found a locals-only hole-in-the-wall fish market and restaurant that even had its own boat. They'd go out fishing every day, and you never knew what they were going to catch. We showed up on a Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., and they had just caught a 300-pound tuna. I watched in awe at they gracefully broke it down; it was beautiful. Poke was the dish of the day, and I've still never eaten anything like that in my life. It was the freshest and best seafood I've ever eaten. At that moment, I was one with the ocean.
Which living chef do you most admire?
It would have to be Ferran Adrià, the chef of elBulli. He worked so hard for such a long time, and when he finally opened his restaurant, it became the best-rated restaurant in the world. To only have 8,000 reservations available total and over two million requests for those reservations -- and to book out the whole year in just a few hours? That's the highest accomplishment. And then you close so you can do whatever you want. Impressive.
Who is Denver's next rising-star chef?
Honestly, I've been so busy with everything that's going on my own life that I haven't had any time to keep up with who's rising in the ranks or the next rising star. That said, Alex Seidel, who's not an up-and-coming star -- he's already a star -- is doing some amazing things, and I'm looking forward to what he's got planned for Union Station.
What do you enjoy most about your craft?
Making people happy. Food is magical; it creates happiness and brings back joyful childhood memories, plus it's the cornerstone of society and of bringing people together. Creating a good meal is what I enjoy most about my craft -- the smiles of happy patrons enjoying the moment.
What are the most challenging aspects of being a chef?
Trying to be everything to everyone. I'm always being pulled in so many different directions, and I spend so much time trying to make everyone else happy, that it's hard for me to get my own time in. I wish I had an extra seven or eight hours a day, because I have so much more that I want to do.