Jordan Wallace, chef of Pizzeria Locale, on the "atrocious" calzone

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Lori Midson

Jordan Wallace
Pizzeria Locale
550 Broadway
720-508-8828
pizzerialocale.com

This is part one of my interview with Jordan Wallace, chef of Pizzeria Locale; part two of our chat will run tomorrow.

There are two breeds of chef: those who know from day one that cooking is in the cards, and those who have to shuffle the deck a few times before realizing that they could be an ace in the kitchen. Jordan Wallace, executive chef and head pizzaiolo at Pizzeria Locale, falls into the latter category.

See also: Pizzeria Locale will open its second Denver location in Highland later this year

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Alex Figura, chef of Lower48 Kitchen, on the chicken he turned into chewing gum

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Lori Midson

Alex Figura
Lower48 Kitchen
2020 Lawrence Street
303-942-0262
lower48kitchen.com

This is part two of my interview with Alex Figura, exec chef of Lower48 Kitchen; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.

Most memorable meal you've ever had:
This place in Barcelona, Spain, that was tucked away in an alley that my friend and I nicknamed "The Pig Palace." We had both been working in Europe for a good chunk of time, and this joint just hit the spot with its fried morcilla de burgos (blood sausage), chorizo and pork belly and a couple glasses of cava. It was the kind of place that's always packed, and all they serve is pork products with serving utensils that are nothing more than a bundle of toothpicks. The trash cans are the floors, and sausages and bellies hang from the ceiling. It's truly a classic.

See also: Alex Figura, chef of Lower48 Kitchen, on commodity chicken and cutting the tape


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Alex Figura, chef of Lower48 Kitchen, on commodity chicken and cutting the tape

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Lori Midson

Alex Figura
Lower48 Kitchen
2020 Lawrence Street
303-942-0262
lower48kitchen.com

This is part one of my interview with Alex Figura, exec chef of Lower48 Kitchen; part two of my conversation with Figura will run tomorrow.

"My parents always joke that it's unlikely that I'll ever miss a meal," says Alex Figura, the executive chef at Lower48 Kitchen. "My mom and dad made dinner every night for my sisters and me, and I'd always help in the kitchen, first by force -- I always had to peel the shrimp and fry the chicken -- and then I started to actually like cooking. I knew from an early age that I wanted to work with food, but I wasn't sure in what capacity."

See also: Review: Lower48 Kitchen raises the bar in Denver

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DJ Nagle, chef of Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine: "Respect the dishwashers"

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Lori

DJ Nagle
Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine
1700 Humboldt Street
303-813-1700
humboldtrestaurant.com

This is part two of my interview with DJ Nagle, executive chef of Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine; the first installment of our chat ran yesterday.

Most noteworthy meal you've ever eaten:
When I was a young cook working at Indigo restaurant in San Francisco, my chef had a friend who managed Tra Vigne in Napa Valley, and he invited us to dine there. We were treated like VIPs and enjoyed at least twelve courses, including confit pork shank, quail pasta, fresh mozzarella (this was before the burrata craze) and chocolate budino. It was just an extraordinary meal and over-the-top awesome. I hope that more meals like that are in my future.

See also: DJ Nagle, chef of Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine, on benching the fifteen-pound burrito


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DJ Nagle, chef of Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine, on benching the fifteen-pound burrito

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Lori Midson

DJ Nagle
Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine
1700 Humboldt Street
303-813-1700
humboldtrestaurant.com

This is part one of my interview with DJ Nagle, executive chef of Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine; the second installment of our chat will run tomorrow.

Even though it wasn't a requirement, DJ Nagle always sported a tie when he sat down to Sunday dinner with his family in New York - -- or, as he likes to say, "New Yawk." Born and raised on Long Island, Nagle, the 45-year-old chef at Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine, actually wanted to wear a tie. After all, if his parents were willing to haul out their best china, the least Nagle could do was play the part of the respectful kid. "There was a formality to Sunday dinner at my house, and I'd always wear a collared shirt and usually a tie; we all got dressed up for a big plated meal with china," says Nagle, who also grew up watching Julia Child, Graham Kerr and Great Chefs of the West.

See also: Exclusive first look: Humboldt Farm. Fish. Wine.

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Jeff Jones, chef of P17: "Without your cooks, or your dishwasher, you're nothing"

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Lori Midson

Jeff Jones
P17
1600 East 17th Avenue
303-399-0988
p17denver.com

This is part two of my interview with Jeff Jones, chef de cuisine of P17; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.

Your three favorite Denver restaurants other than your own:
I love Snooze on Larimer, and when I'm craving a nice breakfast or brunch on a day off, that's my go-to. I especially love their "bella-bella benny." Euclid Hall is always a good decision, too; their food is fantastic, with enough variety to please everybody, plus they have a great selection of beers and my favorite gin. Il Posto treats me like family. I've had numerous great meals there, and I can always count on a good glass of wine, nice cheeses and friendship.

See also: Jeff Jones, chef of P17: "We become a better restaurant when you give us constructive criticism"


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Jeff Jones, chef of P17: "We become a better restaurant when you give us constructive criticism"

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Lori Midson

Jeff Jones
P17
1600 East 17th Avenue
303-399-0988
p17denver.com

This is part one of my interview with Jeff Jones, chef de cuisine of P17; part two of our conversation will run tomorrow.

When you're a kid, there's nothing worse than constantly being on the move. Unless, that is, you happen to wind up in Paris, in a flat above a patisserie, where the sweet scent of fresh-baked bread, croissants and pastries drifts through your window. Then again, for Jeff Jones, the chef de cuisine at P17, even the aroma of fresh croissants couldn't overcome his first encounter with salmon. "My mother would take me to the market in Paris every day to grab our food, and I honestly didn't think much of it until one day, when my mom failed to distract me from the whole salmon that just happened to be at eye level with me," recalls Jones. "I was horrified, and salmon plagued my dreams for years."

See also: Exclusive first look: Mary Nguyen opens P17, a neighborhood bistro

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Samuel McCandless, chef de cuisine at the Squeaky Bean, on the hand sink and your reflection

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Lori Midson

Samuel McCandless
The Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop Street
303-623-2665
squeakybean.net

This is part two of my interview with Sam McCandless, chef de cuisine at the Squeaky Bean; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.

Most memorable meal you've ever had:
Eating at L20 with my mom. I was jaded as a young cook who was trying to be the best, and my mom snapped me out of it. She made sure I knew just how fortunate I was to cook on that level.

See also: Samuel McCandless, chef de cuisine at the Squeaky Bean: "Start with the best and end with something even better"


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Samuel McCandless, chef de cuisine at the Squeaky Bean: "Start with the best and end with something even better"

Samuelsb.jpg
Lori Midson

Samuel McCandless
The Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop Street
303-623-2665
squeakybean.net

This is part one of my interview with Sam McCandless, chef de cuisine at the Squeaky Bean; part two of our conversation will run tomorrow.

When he was a kid, the mere thought of cooking panicked Samuel McCandless. "I was kinda scared to cook when I was young, and I have no idea why, other than that I was intimidated and didn't want to be bad at it," says McCandless, who went on to cook in some of the best restaurants in the country, under some of the best chefs in the country, and is now the chef de cuisine at The Squeaky Bean. The fear dissipated as soon his clogs shuffled into a professional kitchen, which happened to be in a retirement home in Billings, Montana, close to Red Lodge, where he grew up.

See also: Squeaky Bean chef Theo Adley launches a new lunch menu - and the best burger in town

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Daniel Bradley, chef of 5280 Burger Bar: "If you're not willing to give up your life to the craft, don't do it"

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Lori Midson

Daniel Bradley
5280 Burger Bar
500 16th Street Mall
303-825-1020
5280burgerbar.com

This is part two of my interview with Daniel Bradley, exec chef of 5280 Burger Bar; part one of our chat ran yesterday.

Your three favorite Denver/Boulder restaurants other than your own:
I had dinner at Interstate the other night, and I have to say it was amazing, especially the calamari, which was the best calamari I've ever had. I'm also a sucker for the tea sandwiches and pork pâté at Williams & Graham, and I love Pho 555. I mean, who doesn't love pho at 2 a.m.?

See also: Daniel Bradley, chef of 5280 Burger Bar: "I don't want baby food and spit on my plate"


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