Mark Monette, executive chef/co-owner of the Flagstaff House, stands in his kitchen, beaming like a kid who just got his first video game. "These are all guys I know -- guys who I respect, guys who have helped me along the way and guys who have stood beside me," says Monette. "These," he continues, "are the guys that have made such great strides on Boulder's culinary front."
Despite the fact that it's Monette's moment to shine -- after all, he's celebrating the fortieth birthday of the Flagstaff House -- he gives all the credit to the Boulder chefs cooking in his kitchen, as part of last night's anniversary celebration: Lachlan McKinnon-Patterson (Frasca Food and Wine; Caffe and Pizzeria Locale); Tony Hessel (The Med and Brasserie Ten Ten); Jim Cohen (The Empire Lounge and Pizzeria da Lupo); Bradford Heap (Salt Bistro and Colterra Food and Wine); Radek Cerny (L'Atelier); Corey Buck (John's Restaurant); Dave Query (Big Red F Restaurant Group); John Platt (Q's and Riffs Urban Fare); Nao-San and Maki-San (Sush Zanmai); and guest chef -- and Monette's mentor -- Alain Nonnet, who owns La Cognette in France. They're all there, sharing space, and cooking up a storm, with Monette, whose father, Don, opened the Flagstaff House in 1971.
"We're celebrating forty years of Flagstaff House cuisine, and it means so much to me to have my friends and colleagues here with me," Monette told the large crowd, who gathered at the restaurant to mark the occasion. "This is a very special night, and the guys who are sharing it with me are the best chefs in Boulder."
The bash, which included cocktails, Colorado wines and beers, dancing and lots of reminiscing, spotlighted dishes from all of the chefs, the photos of which are on the following pages.
Tony Hessel's toasts with Rogue River Creamery blue mousseline, pecans and fig chutney. Hessel also made baguetines with smoked duck, poppyseed and onion compote and confit d'orange. Nao-san and Maki-san, of Sushi Zanmai, held court with their sushi display. Sushi from Sushi Zanmai. Lachlan McKinnon-Patterson, exec chef of Frasca, prepared sweet onions crespelle topped with funduta and dusted with Parmesan. Chef Alain Nonnet's contribution was Wellfleet oysters with cucumber, watercress and ginger. Jim Cohen, exec chef of the Empire Lounge and Pizzeria da Lupo, prepared Alaskan spot prawns. Cobia with local onion soubise, roasted beet risotta cake and apple cider brown butter from chef Bradford Heap. Radek Cerny, who's renowned for his panache with potatoes, forewent the tubors, preparing, instead, lobster ravioli with red truffle oil and Thai basil. Rosemary gougere, lamb ragout, green olive tapenade and LaTur cheese from John's restaurant. Big Red F's Dave Query helps out on the line. Here's to another forty years.