Earlier this week, we announced the bumper crop of super-talented local culinarians who were tapped to become the next ring of FIVE -- namely Paul Reilly (Encore), Brandon Biederman (Steuben's), Enrique Socarras (Cuba Cuba) and Bryan Dayton (Oak at Fourteenth). That, of course, is only four, but a fifth member of the squad -- a crew that kills it cooking at local events, their respective feedlots, at the James Beard House and the Aspen Food & Wine Classic -- has just been inducted to round out the brotherhood.
Mark DeNittis, the chief salumi king of Il Mondo Vecchio, is the final member of FIVE, according to Leigh Sullivan-Guard, who founded FIVE four years ago. "Mark 'the butcher' DeNittis is the final member, and I couldn't be happier that he's a part of our team," says Sullivan-Guard. "He's intelligent as hell, a classically trained chef, an amazing butcher and there's a certain elegance to him that's unusual, especially for a guy in that profession."
Butchery, notes Sullivan-Guard, is pure craftsmanship -- not a fad, or a trend, but a bona fide art form -- and butchers (farmers, too) are the new rock stars of today's culinary climate. "What Mark brings to the table is a tremendous knowledge of butchery, and FIVE is all about learning new things and evolving, and Mark is an amazing teacher with a lot to share about his craft," says Sullivan-Guard.
DeNittis, for his part, is just as complimentary about the group he's joining: "It's a pleasure to be included with some major badasses, and I'm honored, humbled and really stoked to be a part of a team that's doing everything it can to continue to put Denver on the national culinary map," says DeNittis.
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The cool thing, he notes, about bringing butchery to the table, is this: "It's the type of skill that's been lost in the general populace of the culinary world, but it's back and finally become the opening act, kind of like the metal scene of the eighties, when Motorhead opened for Alice Cooper."
Stay tuned to Cafe Society for upcoming FIVE events, including a dinner that will focus on butchery.