Chef Will Tuggle of Stout Street Social Talks Kitchen Brigades and $900 Guest Checks

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Stout Street Social
Chef Will Tuggle of Stout Street Social.
Will Tuggle
Stout Street Social

1400 Stout Street
720-­214-­9100

As a kid growing up in Virginia Beach, Will Tuggle liked good food but didn't have much exposure to cooking. Since his mom and grandmother were Polish, homemade pierogi and cabbage soup were among his childhood comfort-food standards. He was generally shooed from the kitchen, though -- if not by his mother, then by the aroma of the cabbage cooking. (He loved to eat it but hated the smell.) As for his father, "My dad was a god-awful cook," Tuggle remembers. "His only dish was spaghetti." But on a trip with his father to Aspen when he was ten, he ate an escargot dish that ignited a passion for fine cuisine.

See also: Pastry Chef Natalia Spampinato Puts the Sweet Into Bittersweet


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Pastry Chef Natalia Spampinato Puts the Sweet Into Bittersweet

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Bittersweet's pastry chef Natalia Spampinato.
Natalia Spampinato
Bittersweet

303-942-0320
500 East Alameda Avenue

"I was pretty burned out on school by the time I got to college," recalls Natalia Spampinato, Bittersweet's pastry chef, "and I really missed cooking when I was living in the dorms." A Denver native, Spampinato had graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at George Washington High School, where long hours of studying and multiple Advanced Placement exams were the norm. She'd worked so hard there that when she enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, she found she had time for a job at a coffee shop near campus, baking pizza, cookies, scones and cupcakes. That was how she reconnected with her childhood, filled with memories of home-cooked meals and baking bread with her dad. "It was his grandmother's recipe," she says. "A simple milk-based sandwich bread we tied in knots and brushed with butter."

See also: Tyson Holzheimer of Butcher's Bistro Talks Taxidermy and Beef Cuts


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Tyson Holzheimer of Butcher's Bistro Talks Taxidermy and Beef Cuts

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Chef Tyson Holzheimer breaks down primal cuts for his dishes at Butcher's Bistro.

Tyson Holzheimer
Butcher's Bistro

303-­296-­2750
2233 Larimer Street

Tyson Holzheimer grew up in Montana, in a family where do-it-yourself was a necessity rather than a passing trend. "I first skinned an animal when I was ten," he recalls. Using a knife to separate muscle from skin and bone was just part of his upbringing; by age twelve, he had his hunting license and was shooting elk, deer and antelope with his dad.

"I don't remember my mom ever buying beef," he says. Everything from burgers and sausage to the filling for homemade pot stickers -- the family would join in to make batches of 300 at a time -- came from the game that he and his dad would shoot. At fourteen, he got a job working for a taxidermist, where his knife skills came in handy for the careful skinning required. He learned about anatomy and the musculature of various animals from that job, as customers would bring in all manner of specimens to be mounted. "Someone brought in a coyote they found dead on the road," Holzheimer remembers. "Or rattlesnakes, beaver and mountain lion." That was in addition to more typical game trophies such as elk, moose and bighorn sheep.

See also: Leña Opens a New World of Cooking for Chef Toby Prout

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Leña Opens a New World of Cooking for Chef Toby Prout

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Chef Toby Prout at Leña, where wood fire adds flavor to many of his Latin American dishes.
Chef Toby Prout and Jimmy Callahan, co-owners of Leña on Broadway, started planning the pan-Latin American menu for their new restaurant months before they even found the location, much less started construction. The two traveled to California and sampled their way through some of the state's top Mexican, Central American and South American restaurants, many of them in the Bay Area. But in some ways, the collaboration began long before that -- eighteen years before, to be exact. "We met in Boulder in 1996," recalls Prout. "We were working at a Bennigan's. Jimmy was waiting tables and I was cooking." After that, the two both moved around the country, eventually returning to Colorado, where they reunited in order to open a place together.

See also: Duc Huynh of Vinh Xuong Bakery Is the Son in the Mooncake Business

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Duc Huynh of Vinh Xuong Bakery Is the Son in the Mooncake Business

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Mark Antonation
Duc Huynh behind the counter at Vinh Xuong bakery.
I've never experienced a weekend," says Duc Huynh, who runs the second Vinh Xuong Bakery. His parents opened the original bakery on Federal Boulevard more than 24 years ago and still work there from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week, baking baguettes and other Vietnamese sweet and savory goods. It's the only life they've ever known: Huynh's grandparents on his mother's side owned a bakery in Vietnam, and his parents met when his father started working there at the age of twelve. After they came to the United States, the couple opened their first bakery together in Denver, at West Sixth Avenue and Federal, across the street from Columbine Steak House (the space is now a muffler shop); three years later, in the early '90s, they moved their shop to its current location in the Far East Center.

See also: Chef Matt Mine Is a Real Catch for Atticus

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The Trends That Drove Denver Restaurant Openings in 2014

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Crawford Hotel
This was a year of big changes. I went from writing a weekly blog post about Federal Boulevard to covering the Denver food scene every day as a full-time job -- and there has been plenty to cover. I was lucky enough to land the gig in the middle of one of the most dynamic summers in Denver dining history, moving right from the debut of the renovated Union Station to an August that saw more than forty bars and eateries open. Things haven't slowed down much, either: Big-name openings continued all fall. Some places even served their first guests Thanksgiving week, traditionally a dead time for new openings.

See also: Chef Matt Mine Is a Real Catch for Atticus



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Chef Matt Mine Is a Real Catch for Atticus

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Matt Mine
Atticus

1115 East Evans Avenue
720-459-8273

Twelve years is a long time to hold down the same job; in the restaurant industry, it's nearly a lifetime. When chefs manage to stick around for more than a decade, it's usually a sign that they've found a home where they can grow and build on their success. That's what Matt Mine thought, at least. He's been cooking for more than twenty years, and a dozen of those years were spent with one company. He started at Oceanaire in Seattle and stuck with the small chain, moving to Indiana and eventually to Denver, where he was executive chef and managing partner at the downtown Oceanaire Seafood Room for six years.

See also: Erich Rosenberg of Novo Coffee Is a Roast Beast


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Erich Rosenberg of Novo Coffee Is a Roast Beast

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Erich Rosenberg of Novo Coffee.
Erich Rosenberg talks fast and moves between subjects even faster. You might blame it on the coffee; after all, he's the head roaster for Novo Coffee, so continuous coffee-tasting is a big part of his job. But after you listen for a few minutes, it's clear that his energy is fueled by passion for his work rather than caffeine overload. And that excitement spills over as he talks about the company founded by CEO Jake Brodsky, his brother Joseph and their father, Herb, in 2002. Rosenberg and Herb Brodsky literally spin in place (Herb's patented move) as they discuss Novo's commitment to people -- both customers and employees -- and its roasting facility in the River North neighborhood.

See also: The Pie's the Limit for Pastry Chef John Hinman of the Post Brewing Co.


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The Pie's the Limit for Pastry Chef John Hinman of the Post Brewing Co.

Categories: Chef and Tell

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The Post Brewing Co,
John Hinman with his pies at the Post Brewing Co.
The Post Brewing Company
John Hinman
105 West Emma Street, Lafayette
303-593-2066
postbrewing.com

Walking up to the entrance of the Post Brewing Company, you first notice a waft of wood smoke. Once you're inside the door, the aroma of chicken frying adds spicy notes and the unmistakable presence of chicken fat. At the right time of day, the sweet, malty smell of brewing beer takes precedence. But beneath all of that, the delicate but unmistakable scent of fresh-baked pies adds buttery, homey elements to the mix. That's the stamp of pastry chef John Hinman, who has been head baker here since the Post opened almost a year ago in Lafayette.

See also: Jeff Cleary of the Grateful Bread Company Gets a Rise out of Baking


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Jeff Cleary of the Grateful Bread Company Gets a Rise out of Baking

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Jeff Cleary and his new deck oven at Grateful Bread.
Jeff Cleary
Grateful Bread Company

425 Violet Street, Golden
gratefulbread.com

Bread before dinner at a restaurant is something we take for granted, a minor distraction that's usually there to fill the gap between cocktails and entrees. But every once in a while, the bread becomes the star, making us stop to appreciate the jagged crust, the tender crumb and the delicate tang of a loaf made with patience and enough skill to let the flavors and textures develop fully. And if you've eaten recently at one of Denver's top restaurants, chances are good that you may have asked the staff the source of its wonderful bread -- whether it's a slice from a country boule that offers just the right heft under an open-faced croque-madame at Acorn or the delicately aromatic lavender sourdough at Rioja. And chances are equally good that the answer was Grateful Bread Company.

See also: Four Golden Guys Make Bonfire Burritos Their Own


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