Snarf's owner-chef Jimmy Seidel: "We're bringing more Snarf's to the people"

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Lori Midson

Jimmy "Snarf" Seidel
Snarf's
eatatsnarfs.com
Snarfburger
snarfburger.com

This is part two of my interview with Jimmy Seidel, chef-owner of Snarf's and Snarfburger; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.

Most memorable meal you've ever had:
I've had some very memorable meals in my life, including the one where I asked my wife to marry me, but it's another meal that I'll call the most memorable (sorry, Bunny!). It was at Mark's Place, in North Miami Beach, a restaurant that just did everything right. It's unfortunate that Mark Militello's restaurants closed, because the times I ate there still really stick out in my mind.

See also: Jimmy Seidel, chef-owner of Snarf's: "I'm having a love affair with fried chicken"


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Jimmy Seidel, chef-owner of Snarf's: "I'm having a love affair with fried chicken"

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Lori Midson

Jimmy "Snarf" Seidel
Snarf's
eatatsnarfs.com
Snarfburger
snarfburger.com

This is part one of my interview with Jimmy Seidel, chef-owner of Snarf's and Snarfburger; part two of our conversation will run tomorrow.

If you've ever wondered why Jimmy Seidel, owner of Snarf's and Snarfburger, named his joints what he did, all you have to do is consult a dictionary: The definition of "snarf," depending upon which dictionary app you have, is to eat or drink quickly, voraciously or greedily. But the dictionaries of the world could just replace that terminology with two words: Jimmy Seidel. "[Snarf] was my college nickname, because I grubbed my food, my cocktails, my life. I snarfed down everything I could," recalls Seidel, who just turned fifty and plans to enter his "silver decade" by snarfing every day for the next year. "It's going to be one year-long party of snarfing," he quips.

See also: Snarf's Sub Shop opens its new DU location with a bar, breakfast and Infinite Monkey Theorem wines

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Shoni Jones, exec chef of Root Down at DIA, on the plate her line cook garnished with tears

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Lori Midson

Shoni Jones
Root Down
C Concourse, Denver International Airport
303-342-6959
rootdowndenver.com

This is part two of my interview with Shoni Jones, exec chef of Root Down at DIA; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?
Making snacks for people to enjoy, connecting with local farmers and small-business owners, and creating a culinary community around me.

See also: Shoni Jones, exec chef of Root Down at DIA: "Stop supporting major food chains!"


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Shoni Jones, exec chef of Root Down at DIA: "Stop supporting major food chains!"

shoni1rootdown.jpg
Lori Midson

Shoni Jones
Root Down
C Concourse, Denver International Airport
303-342-6959
rootdowndenver.com

This is part one of my interview with Shoni Jones, exec chef of Root Down at DIA; part two of our conversation will run tomorrow.

"Oops, I was way off," says Shoni Jones, the executive chef of Root Down at Denver International Airport, clearly surprised by the numbers in the text message she just got from her mom, who lives on a sprawling farm in Utah. In estimating the square footage of the garden on that farm, where her parents grow corn and tomatoes, chiles and herbs, root vegetables and berries, Jones had guessed it was around 2,000 square feet. "Whoa! It's a whopping 13,000 square feet," she exclaims after reading her mom's text. "Who knew?"

See also: First look: Root Down at DIA opens Monday (and the soaring space is incredible)

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Who is Denver's best chef? Find out today, when we unveil the Best of Denver 2014

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Lori Midson
Westword's Best of Denver issue is starting to hit red kiosks all over the city, and will soon be up on westword.com. The indispensable issue, our thirtieth anniversary edition, is our yearly sonnet to the people, places and things that we love most about this city, thick with page after page after page of editors' and readers' picks celebrating the cream of the crop, the top of the heap, the best of the best. The Food and Drink section of our Best of issue, which pimps everything from Best Korean Restaurant and Best Break-Up Restaurant to Best New Restaurant and Best Chef, is, as you can imagine, a beast unto itself, especially given the fact that our culinary landscape is bigger -- and better -- than ever before. I imagine that next year, we'll echo that same sentiment, because 2014 is already crushing us with exhilarating new restaurants, including Work & Class, which, at 9 p.m. last night, was still adding names to its wait list. The kitchen at Work & Class is governed by Dana Rodriguez, formerly of Bistro Vendome, and the killer food that Rodriquez is turning out will undoubtedly make her a contender for the best chef award in next year's issue.

In the meantime, though, choosing which chef most deserved that coveted award in this year's issue was no easy feat. Far from it. And like Gretchen Kurtz, our restaurant critic, who admits that she subjected herself to "many, many calories" this past year, so, too, did I, all in the quest to find the best of the best. You'll have to wait until this afternoon to learn which kitchen magician was awarded the best chef honor, but I can tell you that it's one of the following ten chefs, all of whom inspired me all year long with their cooking magic.

See also: Best Chef Denver 2013 - Lon Symensma

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Robert Alfaro, chef of Atticus: "You have to wash the grime off and come back swinging the bat"

robatt2.jpg
Lori Midson

Robert Alfaro
Atticus
1125 East Evans Avenue
720-459-8273
tabletotavern.com/atticus

This is part two of my interview with Robert Alfaro, chef of Atticus; part one of our interview ran yesterday.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?
Making people happy with good, wholesome food. Happiness comes from seeing a smile or someone telling me that their food was great. That's always a fulfilling thing to hear, and likely one of the reasons I've been in this craft for so long. That said, you have to accept the criticism and negative comments as well. If a customer is unhappy, your ability to keep them smiling is another art.

See also: Robert Alfaro, chef of Atticus, on ridding the culinary world of complicated menu jargon


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Robert Alfaro, chef of Atticus, on ridding the culinary world of complicated menu jargon

robertatticus1.jpg
Lori Midson

Robert Alfaro
Atticus
1125 East Evans Avenue
720-459-8273
tabletotavern.com/atticus

This is part one of my interview with Robert Alfaro, chef of Atticus; part two of our interview will run tomorrow.

Most of us have childhood food memories: Lucky Charms, chocolate-chip cookies, flipping our first egg, cracking the shell of our first lobster. But for Robert Alfaro, the executive chef at Atticus, the memory of bloody deer carcasses in his kitchen is what stands out. "My mother was a bow-and-arrow hunter, and so was my grandmother, and they'd go out in the morning to hunt deer and then come home in the afternoon and break it down right in the middle of the kitchen," recalls Alfaro. And deer wasn't all he was eating for dinner. "My grandfather hunted frogs, turtles and squirrels, so it was commonplace to have turtle soup, squirrel soup, squirrel stew and roasted squirrel," he remembers.

See also: First look: Atticus, a quintessential neighborhood restaurant, opens today

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Eric Cimino, chef of Luca, on the number one rule in Frank Bonanno's kitchens

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Lori Midson

Eric Cimino
Luca D'Italia
711 Grant Street
303-832-6600
lucadenver.com

This is part two of my interview with Eric Cimino, chef of Luca D'Italia; part one of our chat ran yesterday.

What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given?
I love getting new cookbooks, especially the odd, quirky ones, and I'm always searching for older, collectible, illustrated books on herbs and vegetables. Right now, my favorite cookbook is Manresa: An Edible Reflection.

See also: Eric Cimino, chef of Luca: "The fancy-burger trend should call it quits"

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Eric Cimino, chef of Luca: "The fancy-burger trend should call it quits"

Ericcluca1.jpg
Lori Midson

Eric Cimino
Luca D'Italia
711 Grant Street
303-832-6600
lucadenver.com

This is part one of my interview with Eric Cimino, chef of Luca D'Italia; part two of our chat will tun tomorrow.

Like a lot of kids, Eric Cimino had a grand plan for when he arrived at adulthood. He wanted to be a psychologist, figuring he'd excel because he was the guy everyone hit up for guidance. He even graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in psychology, but like a lot of college survivors, he soon discovered that his original master plan wasn't the one he wanted to pursue. "I realized that I couldn't listen to people's problems all day long; I just couldn't see that future working out in the end, plus I cared too much to disconnect myself," confesses Cimino, today the executive chef at Luca D'Italia.

See also: Chef and Tell with Frank Bonanno of Luca, Mizuna, Osteria Marco and Bones

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Richard Glover, chef of Fooducopia, on what still gives him nightmares

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Lori Midson

Richard Glover
Fooducopia
1939 East Kentucky Avenue
303-722-7838
fooducopia.com

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.

See also: Richard Glover, chef of Fooducopia, on his new farm and launching dinner


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