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Round two with Lucas Forgy, exec chef of Freshcraft: Avery beer rep is a ninja!

Round two with Lucas Forgy, exec chef of Freshcraft: Avery beer rep is a ninja!
Lori Midson

Lucas Forgy

Freshcraft

1530 Blake Street

303-758-9608

www.freshcraft.com

Part one of my interview with Lucas Forgy, exec chef of Freshcraft, ran yesterday; this is part two of our chat.

What do you enjoy most about your craft? Being able to engage with people in real time and make things happen.

Biggest compliment you're ever received: I don't take compliments well, but when the people I work with day in and day out tell me that what I've cooked is some of the best whatever they've ever had -- to blow someone's mind who's completely used to the way you cook -- that feels good to me.

What's your biggest pet peeve? Knowing someone has the knowledge and ability to perform a task but insists on leaving it for someone else to do.

What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? A tablespoon. You can eat with it and use it for just about every measurement.

What's always lurking in your refrigerator? Great beer, some sort of homemade stock, pho ingredients, chia seeds, corn tortillas, sriracha and green Tabasco.

What's the difference between jam and jelly? You can't jam a...wait, it's fruit, puréed, right?

Best recipe tip for a home cook: Take your time. Build a foundation before you dump everything in a pot and throw the temperature on high. You can do that if you want, but it'll taste better if you take the proper steps and cook the ingredients the way they're meant to be cooked.

One book that every chef should read: Peace, Love and Barbecue, by Mike Mills, is a really fun read. It's kind of like reading Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook, because aside from great recipes, there are also lots of pictures, behind-the-scenes stories and shit-talking. I also really like Walden Pond. Sometimes the path is dead, and it's time to move on.

Rules of conduct in your kitchen: Show up clean, do your job, be nice, have fun, drink a beer, and don't get hit by a car. A lot of my cooks ride bikes, and they're always getting hit by a car. Weird.

What's always in your kitchen? Good people. My team is awesome, and we all work our asses off. It's great bouncing ideas off each other, and we always have fun creating food together, whether it's a twist on a classic or some off-the-wall special.

What's never in your kitchen? Large egos -- there's no room for that in this kitchen. Aside from that, there's nothing pre-cooked or pre-packaged, and there's no drama.

Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: Colt & Gray is fantastic. The food is awesome, the service is great, and the memory of my first time there is something I'll never forget. We were at an Avery beer-pairing dinner, and there was a table next to us -- two women celebrating a special event, and there was a present involved that included a bag with tissue paper. One of the ladies was taking out the tissue paper, and there was a candle on the table and the tissue caught on fire, and without even thinking about it, the Avery rep turned around and swatted out the flames, and then he turned right back around and starting talking about beer again. The dude saved the restaurant from burning down; he was like a ninja.

Favorite cheap eat in Denver: I don't know the name of it -- or if it even has a name -- but the taco cart on 17th and Blake may have harnessed the sun's energy to keep their breakfast burritos -- I always get the chorizo, eggs, cheese and bean burrito -- warm forever. I recently picked one up before I had to run to Tundra, the restaurant supply store up in Boulder, and it was so hot that I couldn't even take a bite of it until I pulled into the parking lot. How do they do that?

What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Patience from the owner-staff standpoint. How many restaurants in the past year have opened and subsequently closed? How many people have gotten an exec-chef job, thought they were going to rule the world, and then failed or closed because they didn't give it enough time? Patience is essential in this business, and there isn't enough of it.

What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Over-confidence, and the idea that you think you're special. This is a tough business, and not taking the time to focus on an idea, listen to advice or be willing to change if it's necessary can cost people their career and sometimes a whole restaurant. No one deserves anything; you have to earn what you get.

Favorite restaurant in America: Right now it's Zentan in Washington, D.C. Eating there resulted in one of those food-and-beer-pairing moments that made me think, "Holy shit, this can't get any better!" There was amazing bluefin tuna sashimi paired with 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, and it was nothing short of perfect. Their Singapore slaw was awesome, too, with something like sixteen ingredients stacked beautifully until the server very skillfully mixed it up and served it

Weirdest customer request: The guy who said that our turkey Baja sounded great...and then asked for a cheese pizza, even though we don't serve pizza. We managed to do it anyway.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: I don't know...fish eyes, snapping turtle and Rocky Mountain oysters are all okay. People tell me I'm weird because one of my favorite sandwiches is peanut butter, jelly, nacho cheese Doritos and sriracha sauce. What can I say? It pleases every part of my mouth.

Favorite celebrity chef: Alton Brown always makes great food, and all of the recipes in his book work; I haven't had one failure yet. That's unusual.

If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? Rick Bayless. He seems so chill, and he's chock-full of knowledge. I like his whole attitude.

Celebrity chef who needs a muzzle: Rachael Ray is way too enthusiastic, and she makes up words. It just comes down to the fact that she annoys me.

Most humbling moment as a chef: Sending a piece of medium-rare salmon to a table twice undercooked when my chef told me to temp it...twice. I was young.

What's never in your kitchen? Large egos -- there's no room for that in this kitchen. Aside from that, there's nothing pre-cooked or pre-packaged, and there's no drama.

If you hadn't become a chef, what would you be doing right now? I'd be paying off an equally expensive student loan for a degree in music production or building houses.

What's your dream restaurant? A small hole-in-the-wall bar with a great, focused menu and awesome beers.

What's next for you? Freshcraft 2000...like Heavy Metal 2000. I'd like to expand as a company, and at the same time, I'd like to continue to make this Freshcraft better. I just want to keep on truckin'.

Last meal before you die: Foie nachos, but instead of tortilla chips, I'd want crispy turkey-skin chips garnished with patted-dry Kusshi oysters, along with an assortment of crusty breads and spreads.

What's the difference between jam and jelly? You can't jam a...wait, it's fruit, puréed, right?

What question should I ask the next chef I interview? What time do you usually go to sleep?

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miles
Freshcraft

1530 Blake St.
Denver, CO 80202

303-758-9608

www.freshcraft.com


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