Chef Ian Kleinman, founder of the Inventing Room Dessert Shop and a catering company bearing the same name, hasn't had much work since the coronavirus restaurant shutdown and subsequent stay-at-home order. His catering business is on hold until large groups can gather again, and he decided to keep the dessert shop at 4433 West 29th Avenue, known for its liquid-nitrogen ice cream, closed for health and safety reasons rather than attempt a takeout-only model.
So many of Kleinman's sweet creations are as fun to watch being made as they are to eat that simply walking away from the shop with dessert to go wouldn't begin to capture what the Inventing Room is all about. "We're just hunkering down here and making sure everyone stays healthy so we can all come back when this is over," he says.
But the chef's mind hasn't slowed down a bit. He's been using this downtime to concoct new ways to share a little joy with his neighbors as well as to dream up new ways to entertain customers once he can reopen the dessert parlor and catering company. This weekend, Kleinman and his wife, Stacey, have planned a contest with neighbors so they can join in a group activity while maintaining social distancing.
Earlier this week he dropped off clear plastic cylinders with notes inside to eighteen of his neighbors' houses. Here's the note with instructions on how his neighbors can participate in Kleinman's egg drop challenge:
We are the Kleinman's from the middle of the block - where the purple catering vehicle is usually parked. We have been thinking of a fun way to bring us all together as a neighborhood during these stay-at-home days. Remember in elementary school when you designed a protective container that was thrown off the roof with an egg inside?
So, now we have a fun challenge for you — Use this tube, a RAW egg and any items found in your house to create your own container to protect your raw egg. You may use the tube as the protective container or the container must fit into the tube. Please label the tube with your address, email or phone number. Please leave your tube on our front doorsteps before 11 a.m. on Sunday morning if you want to participate.
We will drop the tubes by drone on our front lawn Sunday at noon. The container should be able to withstand a drop of 30 feet or more. The winner will receive a special home baked item, dropped off at your doorstep.
We invite you to watch the challenge from a safe distance or we will post video on our FB — Catering at The Inventing Room or IG — @inventingroomcatering. You are also welcome to film us and post on social media, we just ask that you tag us so all can enjoy.
If you need anything or have questions, feel free to reach out — firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian & Stacey Kleinman
P.S. Your tube has been handled safely and dropped off with the use of gloves. We will be using gloves while handling the tubes during the drone drop.
Kleinman hopes that most of his neighbors will be able to watch the egg-drop contest from their porches or from a safe distance on the street, and he says that he might use social media to capture the event live.
The Inventing Room uses drones and the plastic containers for dessert drops at catered events; the cylinders have attachable parachutes so that payloads of up to three and a half pounds can descend on parties without plummeting onto guests. But this Sunday they're being repurposed for a little free entertainment.
Kleinman adds that when he's able to reopen his dessert shop, he has a few new surprises for guests, including a black-light room for serving glow-in-the-dark desserts. We're hoping he's also working on cloning technology, because every neighborhood could use an Ian Kleinman on the block.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.