Cafe Society

Cory Treadway, exec chef of Wynkoop Brewery, on smartphones, fried squirrel and heaven

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He contributed a half-dozen years to Elway's before departing because he was "burnt out on steakhouses," he says, and "wanted to do my own thing, in terms of menu creativity and having my own staff." And that's exactly what Chris Cina, the corporate chef of Breckenridge-Wynkoop, offered him. "I was definitely looking for an exec-chef position and a great company that gave me some freedom and benefits, and Chris wanted me to bring my background and experience to the menu, so it all just worked out," says Treadway, who in the following interview praises the pig, names his five favorite Denver/Boulder restaurants and issues a plea to stop the waste.

How do you describe your food? Simple and rustic with creative twists. I like to make food that makes sense to the palate, so that when you take your first bite, you actually know what you're eating because you can taste it. I rely on my French fundamentals when it comes to execution in the kitchen, and I think that comes through in my food.

Ten words to describe you: Spontaneous, rebellious, independent, creative, lucky, patient, kind, strong, understanding and reliable.

What are your ingredient obsessions? I hate to sound redundant, because it seems like every chef says this, but screw it: It's bacon. Bacon fat and pork are both obsessions. I'm also a huge fan of prime beef, fresh frog's legs, diver scallops, foie gras, sushi-grade mackerel, oysters and uni. I guess you could say I'm obsessed with proteins, although I really like fresh-clipped herbs, too.

What are your kitchen-gadget obsessions? I'm really not a gadget guy, although I love working with good, solid, sharp German knives. Spoons can be utilized for a lot of things, too, like flipping a steak or turning a piece of salmon, plus you can taste with them. My prep staff is pretty excited about the new rolling garlic chopper I just gave them, as well.

Favorite local ingredient and where you get it: I love the habanero-cured bacon from the boys at Tender Belly. It starts out with a nice smooth pork-belly flavor, and the habanero cure slowly sneaks up on you and leaves you with a nice burn. It's one of those things that gives you smoky, salty, sweet and hot, all in one bite.

One ingredient that you won't touch: I'd have to say black truffle oil. It's very aromatic, and I know some people really like it, but it doesn't have a whole lot of flavor -- not to mention it's extremely overpriced for what amounts to little substance. I also think ghost chiles are pretty ridiculous; they'll burn you in more ways than one. And when cooking with them, I've found that they really don't impart much flavor, just a ton of really unpleasant heat.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson