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After-work hangout: Old Milwaukee Tavern. It's Corky Douglass's place, and he works the room beautifully, just like he did when he owned Tante Louise. I love the strong drinks, and they make a perfect vodka and soda.

Favorite Denver restaurant other than your own, and why: Fruition. It's simply a small beautiful restaurant where the food and service are a cut above. This is the kind of restaurant that most chefs would love to have. I know I'm a little jealous.

Favorite celebrity chef: Mario Batali. He's serious about being a chef, but he doesn't take himself too seriously. I ran into him during the Aspen Food & Wine Classic one year, and he was just such a great guy. He's down-to-earth, humble and fun-loving, and I love his spirited, fun approach to food.

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Celebrity chef who should shut up: Tom Colicchio. He has such an elitist attitude. My wife and I went to Craftsteak in New York, and it was shit. We barely ate anything, and when we got the bill, I was just angry. The guy just has no humility.

Hardest lesson you've learned: Assuming that everything's good, all the time. You have to trust the people that you work with, but at the end of the day, the person you have to trust the most is yourself. And you've got to take responsibility for your mistakes. I've learned that I'm only as good as my last plate of food and that I've got to take criticism without getting angry. Humility is so important. I tried to be perfect in the kitchen, but you know what? I'm not, so I make mistakes, learn from them and don't take anything for granted next time.

What's next for you? We're in the initial stages of coming up with new concepts for Elway's. We're playing around with a burger or a fish concept, even Southwestern food. We're definitely looking to expand our brand locally and nationally, and whether we do a burger joint or a bistro or another steakhouse, I definitely want to be involved.

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