Cafe Society

Matt Stein, chef of Bruxie: "You're only as good as the last meal you put out"

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Your favorite smell in the kitchen: At Bruxie, our crème-brûlée waffle is super-popular, because it's one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten; it's a really well-balanced dessert item and a trademark of ours, actually. The smell of the sugar being torched on top of our own pastry cream is not just my favorite smell; it makes me hungry every time I smell it. I had one this morning with coffee.

Food trend you'd like to see disappear in 2014: My ongoing discussion obsession with my partners about who makes the best burger was charming four years ago. But who knew that it could go on as long as it has, and that so many quality burger joints would continue to open, and that each new spot would require repeat visits? Basically, each new place that opens up adds four pounds to my weight. If no more burger places open this year, I'd be grateful.

Food trend you'd like to see emerge in 2014: Expertly made sandwiches that use yeast-risen waffles as the platform and are filled with high quality, cleverly combined and delicious ingredients.

If you could make one request of Denver diners, what would it be? Dine out more often. We have a lot of great restaurants.

What do you expect from a restaurant critic? Being a critic of anything can be tough, because you're judging other people's heartfelt work, and you have the potential to affect their -- and their crew's -- livelihood. And now the paid, professional critic has to compete with all the online people who have a potentially wider audience and oftentimes don't know anything about what they're writing about. On the advice side, be fair, know what you're talking about, and ensure that you're not just taking a "snapshot" of the work someone is doing.

What do you enjoy most about your craft? It's the perfect blend of art, craft, labor, love, educating and learning.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a chef? The simplest answer is: You're only as good as the last meal you put out. It's a bitch to tell you the truth.

What's your biggest pet peeve? Poor craftsmen complaining about their tools.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson