Five years ago, Leigh Sullivan was hellbent on showcasing Denver's dining landscape -- and the chefs who define it -- to a national audience. Her determination paid off in spades when she handpicked a ring of five local chefs who would eventually become the first incarnation of FIVE, a quintet of toques who would go on to swagger their culinary talent in Denver, Aspen and New York, at the James Beard House.
And on Monday, April 16, the new season of FIVE kicks off with a cocktail reception at Balistreri Vineyards, with Rosenberg as Top Chef. "We leave it up to the chef to decide where they want to cook, and Hosea had done an event at Balistreri, and he loves the vineyards, plus it's a great place for a cocktail gathering," says Brian Melton, who works alongside Sullivan at Leigh Sullivan Enterprises.
The reception, which will introduce the four other chefs from FIVE -- Tyler Wiard (executive chef of Elway's Cherry Creek); Samir Mohammad, executive chef of the Village Cork; Jenna Johansen, co-owner of Dish in Edwards; and Crave Dessert Bar & Lounge pastry chef Jessica Scott -- in addition to sommelier Jonathan Greschler, who creates cocktail magic behind the bar at Fuel Cafe and around-town bartender James Lee, will feature passed appetizers, hors d'oeuvres and bite-size desserts, along with cocktails and wines from Balistreri.
"Instead of just having events at restaurants, we're trying to do things out of the box this year, and we're really phyched about having this gathering in a relaxed setting, and it's a great opportunity to get out and enjoy a venue that a lot of people haven't been to," says Melton.
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And, he adds, "We're excited to see what Hosea puts together. We give the chefs a ton of freedom to play and have fun, and you can bet that this is going to be a great dinner."
Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org; a portion of the proceeds will benefit ProStart, a local nonprofit that furthers the careers of culinary students.