The James Beard Foundation in New York City occasionally honors Colorado chefs by featuring them at the James Beard House in New York City. And while we love it that the culinary scene in metro Denver gets recognition beyond our borders, a dinner happening more than 1,500 miles away isn't going to fill our bellies here. Thankfully, the foundation's Celebrity Chef Tour puts top national talent on the road, and sometimes it even comes to Colorado. The next one, set for Boulder on Saturday, September 10, brings together an all-star team of Boulder and Denver talent with only one out-of-state guest chef.
Jeff Black is the organizer of the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour, and he just happens to call Boulder home. He has been working with chef/farmer Eric Skokan of Black Cat Farm, Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare for nearly a year to put together an evening celebrating the bounty of local farms. Skokan convinced Boulder city officials to close off 13th Street between the Pearl Street Mall and Lowry Lane in front of his restaurants for the night so that he could host the event as a culinary block party. The chefs will use the kitchens in the two eateries, plus outdoor cooking equipment, to serve dinner to ticket holders.
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"The talent in the kitchen per square foot is going to be spectacular," Skokan points out. The assembled team includes Daniel Asher (River & Woods), Jessica Emich (Shine), Will and Coral Frischkorn (Cured and Cured West), Bradford Heap (Wild Standard, Salt and Colterra), Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja and several others), Mark Monette (Flagstaff House), Dave Query (Big Red F Restaurant Group), Alex Seidel (Fruition and Mercantile Dining & Provision), and James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal of Mindy's HotChocolate in Chicago. Joining them will be Bryan Dayton of Oak at Fourteenth, Acorn and Brider as mixologist and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman.
Although the feast will take place in Boulder, Skokan reached out to colleagues along the Front Range. "I didn't want this to be just Boulder chefs patting themselves on the back," he explains. "Everyone's in it for each other's success, so I wanted that to be part of it."
Much of the menu is still under wraps, but Skokan promises that it will feature "the best of what Colorado produce has to offer," as well as an outdoor, copper-domed oven for roasting suckling pigs. The $175 ticket price for both James Beard Foundation members and the general public wasn't much of a deterrent, as those have already sold out. But all hope is not lost for those hoping to get into the September 10 event: There are still $115 tickets available to anyone who happens to have a U.S Bank credit card with FlexPerks rewards.