If food is, indeed, the next rock-and-roll, as Ferran Adria once said, then Michael Pollan is certainly one of its superstars; the author and professor has made major inroads in how we all think about what goes into our body, using his body of work -- which includes Botany of Desire, Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food and Food Rules -- to advocate sustainable living and conscious eating. He was in town last night speaking at the Paramount, the first time he's been to Denver since Omnivore's Dilemma was published.
And afterward, he needed sustenance.
So where did Pollan book a table? Fuel Cafe.
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Fuel Cafe chef/owner Bob Blair subscribes to a sustainability mission of his own, bringing in organic ingredients and building a menu based on what he can find. And he's passionate about it: We've never been to Fuel without getting into a lengthy discussion over the virtues of local versus organic, the nitty-gritty details of what it means when beef is labeled grass-fed or why it's important to understand where your food comes from.
That made Blair's restaurant a shoe-in to host Pollan, and last night, he cooked for Pollan's private party with the help of Nate Hamel, Fuel's sous chef, along with Daniel Asher -- chef and raw foods guru from Root Down and Linger -- and Robin Baron, head of the kitchen at Udi's.
The event was extremely under-the-radar: Fuel ran its regular Denver Restaurant Week night and then closed early to host the small group, who dined on a few simple courses to wind down. The $1,000 per person dinner-- which included just ten people -- was a fundraiser for Ekar, a local urban Jewish communal farm and garden.