Over the past year, Lori Midson asked chefs, cooks and pastry experts across the metro area to spill their secrets in her weekly Chef and Tell feature. Yesterday we shared some of our favorite responses from those fifty interviews; here's a second helping. See also: Stirring responses from some of the chefs we interviewed in 2013
Marty Steinke of Linger on finding good cooks: "The talent pool in Denver is so overrated. We have some really amazing cooks, but we have some really, really crappy cooks, too. The average cook in Denver is pretty weak sauce; everyone is so eager to move up the ranks and become the chef. I wish the cooks in Denver spent more time in the trenches making mistakes. Not enough cooks put the time and effort in to develop basic knowledge and skills. I can appreciate these new culinary schools, but they give cooks a giant sense of false confidence. It takes years to be good in this industry."
Steve Ells of Chipotle on sustainable farming: "I think the future is bright, although there are many challenges that we're facing right now and will continue to face as we move forward. What's heartening is seeing some of the best minds in this country focusing on food issues, especially in the context of sustainability. The fact that young people are questioning agricultural and environmental practices makes me hopeful about the future."
Kelly Whitaker of Basta and the forthcoming Cart-Driver on his biggest pet peeve: "The movement to do everything in-house. When did we stop being the cook and start being the butcher, farmer, charcuterie maker and fishmonger? While we're breaking down whole animals, who's seasoning and cooking the food? Not that it can't be done -- and not that it can't produce incredible results -- but you need a separate payroll dedicated to doing it, or something or someone more important is going to suffer."
Tommy Lee of Uncle on the food trend he'd like to bury: "Yelp. For the most part, it's an uncontrolled platform for people who want to complain. If you have a complaint, tell the restaurant about it while you're there. That said, I think most people use Yelp for restaurant contact information rather than determining where to actually eat. When I go out to eat, I base my decisions on where my friends suggest I go or what I read on the food blogs that I respect."
Jonathan Power of the Populist on his favorite cheap eat in Denver: "Hands down, the banh mi from Baker's Palace. It's cheap and delicious and just far enough from my house that I haven't burned myself out on them...yet."
Colin Mallet of Sassafras on the one ingredient he won't touch: "I hate white pepper. It has no place in any cooking, and it tastes really gross. In fact, it tastes like the stench of a gas-station restroom."
Carrie Shores of Table 6 on motivation: "I get a lot of inspiration from watching people achieving their dreams, regardless of how hard that may be. Someone who overcomes hardships is usually the one we should be keeping an eye on. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?"
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Read more of our favorite quotes from the 2013 Chef and Tell interviews on Cafe Society.