Rioja Chef Tim Kuklinski Talks Truffles and Family Traditions

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Rioja
Tim Kuklinski -- chef de cuisine at Rioja.
Icelandic chef Viktor Örn Andrésson is making the rounds at Rioja, talking about his seafood and lamb creations for a Taste of Iceland dinner hosted by the restaurant. For Rioja's chef de cuisine, Tim Kuklinski, the event is almost like Christmas; he gets to see new ingredients and try out techniques not standard in his kitchen's repertoire (although he grimaces at the mention of the phrase "molecular gastronomy"). He's emanating equal parts giddiness and watchfulness, since he is also responsible for making sure the rest of the food going out to guests is up to his standards and those of his boss, restaurateur Jennifer Jasinski, who co-owns the much-lauded restaurant with Beth Gruitch.

See also: Scott Witsoe of Wit's End Brewing Talks Asian Ingredients and the Leap From Home Brewing


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Scott Witsoe of Wit's End Brewing Talks Asian Ingredients and the Leap From Home Brewing

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Wit's End's Scott Witsoe mans the tanks.
This is the beeriest week of the year in Denver, and perhaps any city in the United States, with more than 700 breweries -- along with a horde of faithful fans -- descending on downtown for the 32nd annual Great American Beer Festival, beginning on October 2. The GABF is a great opportunity for this state's beer makers to put their best products in the national spotlight; more than 130 breweries from Colorado alone will be pouring ales and lagers. Tiny Wit's End Brewing -- which brews on a one-barrel system -- will be one of them, hoping for attention and maybe even medals for the five beers it will be serving.

See also: First Look: Fiction Beer Opens On Colfax With Craft Brews and a Bar Made of Books

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Breckenridge-Wynkoop CEO Lee Driscoll Talks About Wazee Supper Club's 40th Anniversary

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Photos courtesy of Wazee Supper Club
The old Wazee Supper Club street sign still hangs inside the dining room.
The Wazee Supper Club has been holding down the corner of 15th and Wazee streets for forty years, in a part of town that's seen more change than there are pizza toppings on the Wazee menu. Gone are the viaducts that sent traffic over, instead of through, the part of downtown that's now called LoDo but was once known by less catchy names -- Skid Row being one of the less flattering, if more accurate. The pizza joint, with its checkerboard floor and its dumbwaiter connecting the kitchen below with the balcony seating above, was already fourteen years old when the Lower Downtown Historic District was created in 1988, halting a steady stream of demolitions begun in previous decades and opening the doors for a revitalization that would make it one of Denver's most exciting and defining neighborhoods.

See also: Breckenridge Brewery's Massive Beer Campus Takes Shape in Littleton


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Cook Street's Chef John Parks Talks Teaching and Cooking in Denver's Growing Dining Scene

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Katrina Matthews, Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Executive Chef Instructor John Parks at Cook Street.
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, the downtown program that offers curricula for home cooks as well as budding professionals, recently offered a class in pickling and canning. I'd been to the school a couple of times years ago for corporate team-building events, but this time it was just my wife and me with a roomful of strangers. In about three hours, we learned about safe and sanitary methods of producing shelf-stable preserves and made pickled onions and cucumbers and two jams -- strawberry and tomato. We canned the strawberry jam and pickled onions for long-term storage, while the other preserves went home in plastic tubs destined for the refrigerator.

See Also: Cook Street's Eat Your Veggies Class Will Inspire You to Do Just That

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Chef Kevin Grossi of Lola Talks Salmon Collars and Flashdancing in the Kitchen

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lola
Chef Kevin Grossi of Lola Mexican Fish House.
Kevin Grossi of Lola Mexican Fish House may have grown up in New Jersey and Michigan, but he fell in love with Mexican cuisine early, spurred on by the beauty and passion of a fellow student. "My first experience with cooking Mexican cuisine was back in my culinary-school days," he remembers. "Our teachers weren't too focused on cuisines outside of Europe or Japan. My partner in class, coincidentally, was a very attractive girl from Guadalajara. She taught the class throughout that semester to help the chefs. The way she spoke about growing up and the meaning of the food she was raised on intrigued me."

See also: Author and Barbecue Judge Adrian Miller Shares His Rib Tips

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Author and Barbecue Judge Adrian Miller Shares His Rib Tips

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Sharing ribs and sides with Adrian Miller at 3 Sons BBQ.
Adrian Miller is a man of many talents and passions -- judging barbecue not least among them. That's not to make light of his other achievements, however. A Denver kid who attended Smoky Hill High School, Miller soon moved on to bigger things, graduating from Stanford University and Georgetown University Law School. High notes of his career include serving as special assistant to President Bill Clinton and as director of Clinton's Initiative for One America; working for Governor Bill Ritter, first as deputy legislative director and later as a senior policy analyst; and his current post as executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches. And then there's the latest item on his résumé: He's the winner of a 2014 James Beard Award for Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.

See also: 3 Sons Brings Barbecue Back to Whittier



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Chef and Tell: Chef Brady Marcotte of Table Top

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Chef Brady Marcotte preps for dinner service at Table Top.
"If it's not right, it's wrong." Those are the words of wisdom that chef Brady Marcotte of Table Top, which opened this summer in Park Hill, learned from Steven Redzikowski, chef and co-owner of Boulder's Oak at Fourteenth and Acorn in Denver. Marcotte, who worked for Redzikowski for two years and helped open Acorn in the Source last year, says he strives for the same level of excellence in the kitchen at Table Top.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top

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Proud of Colorado: Chef Jason Morse Has a Bounty on His Hands

Categories: Chef and Tell

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5280 Culinary
Chef Jason Morse teaches Douglas County school kids about nutrition.
Colorado Proud, the Colorado Department of Agriculture's food-promotion wing, is highlighting the harvest season this month with a 27-day, eleven-city "Choose Colorado" tour of the state, showcasing its best products. The tour will culminate with a private lunch for state dignitaries on August 27 featuring ingredients gathered by the Colorado Proud team and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar. Chef Jason Morse, along with fellow chef Kurt Boucher, will be cooking for invited guests. Morse is still working on the menu, but a cheesecake featuring Haystack Mountain goat cheese is high on his list, and he's excited about some of the other products he'll be working with: potatoes from Alamosa, tomatoes and rhubarb from Boulder, roasted green chiles from El Paso County, beets from Durango, and onions and scallions from Fort Collins, to name just a few.

See also: There's Something in the Water at New York Deli News

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There's Something in the Water at New York Deli News

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Compliments of the New York Deli News
There's something special about New York City water that gives bagels, breads and cured meats a texture and flavor that New Yorkers know and love, agree Al and Tory Belsky, owners of New York Deli News. And as big as the city is, there may be even more New Yorkers living outside the five boroughs -- which means that while you can boil bagels in Denver or cure corned beef in Florida, the millions of New Yorkers spread across the United States will know the difference. That's why the Belskys opened their deli in Denver 25 years ago: to bring a true taste of New York to this city.

See also: Raw Ambition: Yasu Kizaki of Sushi Den Talks About History and the Future

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Raw Ambition: Yasu Kizaki of Sushi Den Talks About History and the Future

Categories: Chef and Tell

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A glistening white disk of raw scallop rests against a slice of lemon, with only a small grid of sear marks interrupting its slick surface. Green, saw-edged shiso leaves, so perfect they invite a touch to prove they aren't plastic, add contrast to the plate and the barest hint of cinnamon and basil to the air. The dish is sashimi served in the aburi style -- an ancient form of sushi from Tokyo's earliest Edo period -- made new and fresh by the seafood masters at Sushi Den.

See also: Software to sandwiches: Rick Koerner stacks the deck at Stack Subs

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