Cafe Society

More predictions, rants and raves from local chefs on the culinary trends of 2011

Yesterday, several local chefs -- Michael Long (Aria and Opus); Eric Skokan (Black Cat); Brandon Biederman (Steuben's); Brad Rowell (Colt & Gray); and Troy Guard (TAG and TAG Raw Bar) -- dished on the culinary trends that would shape 2011, sounding off on what they'd like to see more (and less) of in the coming year. And today, we're bringing you the forecasts from numerous other kitchen wizards, including Matt Selby, Jennifer Jasinski, Jamey Fader, Max MacKissock, Jeff Osaka, Spencer Lomax and Chad Clevenger, all of whom did their part to make Denver one of the best dining destinations of 2010. [jump]

"As we continue to climb out of this recession, we could see a return to high-end dining, and high-end ingredients, but within reason and with discipline" says Matt Selby, chef of Vesta Dipping Grill and Steuben's. In addition, predicts Selby, 2011 will mark the comeback of dessert. "Pastry chefs will return to fun and elaborate presentations, though, again, within reason, and non-pastry chefs will begin to experiment and think more in terms of non-savory recipes." Selby also foresees the "beginning of recognition for the cooks and sous chefs who build up, sustain, and bust ass for big name chefs," and, says the chef, pork -- blasphemy! -- "will no longer be the sacred beast of chefs." Instead, claims Selby, "fresh, seasonal and sustainable fish and seafood will become the new pork."

"I'm no good at predictions," insists Jennifer Jasinski, who oversees the burners at Rioja, Bistro Vendome and Euclid Hall. "I sometimes fight trends, since I hate being trendy." Still, Jasinski believes the experimentation with sous-vide will continue, and she's even signed up to take a class at the Culinary Institute of America on advance sous-vide techniques. "It intrigues me, although I definitely think that some chefs overuse this technique, when the old fashioned ways taste better," she admits.

As for ingredients, Jasinksi says that she's "always looking for that next cool thing -- or that farm that no one has heard of." She predicts that preserved lemon -- "It's a great flavor builder and enhancer" -- and ice vinegar as a finishing vinegar will be hot in 2011, and she's betting that there will be a resurgence in Italian cuisine. "I hope it yields something, and Eataly, that huge Mario Batali-Bastianich store in New York Intrigues me, and people are generally comfortable with Italian," notes Jasinksi. "I do think that Euclid Hall formed a niche that was wanted in Denver, and that it'll excel in 2011. People want great food in a casual atmosphere but not cookie-cutter corporate shit-like chains."