One food you detest: I don't like green peppers; I think the tannin in them tends to overpower things. Green peppers have their place in Cajun cooking, and that's about it, as far as I'm concerned. I generally avoid working with them.
One food you can't live without: Oh, man, I love pizza, especially the simplicity of it when it's done right: good San Marzano tomato sauce, quality cheese and good cured meat -- you can never go wrong. My favorite place in Denver to get a great, authentic Neapolitan pizza is Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria, over in the Ballpark neighborhood. They really know how to do pizza right.
Food trend you'd like to see in 2013: A continuation of the farm-to-table trend. It's such a solid, commonsense concept and benefits both small farmers and the local economy. And as a result, the food is just better.
Food trend you'd like to see disappear in 2013: Burger joints. There are way too many of these right now. In the last five to ten years, everyone has figured out how to make a good burger. In my opinion, it doesn't take a chef to make a good burger.
What recent innovation has most influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way? Smartphones. Now that everyone has access to whatever information they want, right at their fingertips, our guests are more educated about what they're consuming on a minute-to-minute basis. It also gives us the opportunity to go paperless on a lot of advertising via social media.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? A butcher block that my mom gave me when I graduated from culinary school back in 1996. I still have it in my kitchen, and I use it every day. Abner, my cat, loves to sleep on it as well.
What's your fantasy splurge? A meal at the French Laundry.
What was the last cookbook you bought, and what recipes are you cooking from it? 1080 Recipes, by Simone and Inés Ortega. The last thing I made was shirred eggs soufflé-style with grated cheese and ham.
Favorite dish on your menu: Right now, I love the new baby-kale salad with crispy quinoa. I think people are really surprised to see a kale salad on the Wynkoop Brewery's menu, especially since we're known for pub food, not things like quinoa. It's just a really great, balanced dish, and it fits in with the fact that we're lightening things up around here. People are starting to take notice.