The term "celebrity chef" is as ubiquitous as pork belly, but I bet that if I asked ten people for a definition, I'd get ten different answers. To some, it means a nationally known chef with a mug you'd recognize from appearances on TV. Denver has a few of these, such as Keegan Gerhard of D Bar Desserts, famous for hosting Food Network Challenge; Hosea Rosenberg, past Top Chef winner; and Elway's Tyler Wiard from this season of Top Chef. (Poor Jorel; he was voted off too soon for folks to link a name with a 'stache.)
To others, celebrity chefs must be running numerous restaurants, not just in multiple zip codes (like Frank Bonanno) but in multiple states to deserve this title. See also: - Keegan Gerhard is a star -- and D Bar Desserts really shines - Chef and Tell with Frank Bonanno - Elway's Tyler Wiard gets booted from Top Chef -- or does he?
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Interestingly, Gerhard qualifies under this definition, too, having taken the D Bar concept out to San Diego. For chefs in this category, the more cookbooks and lines of packaged sauces and spice rubs, the better.
Denver has plenty of chefs who may not qualify as bona fide celebrities given their low name recognition among average Joes at sea level, yet to food lovers both in and out of state they count as culinary royalty. That list includes Jennifer Jasinski, Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, Bryan Dayton and Alex Seidel. (Like actors holding a Golden Globe, I know I'm leaving people out, but time is short and the music is playing.)
Then there's Daniel Cofrades of Early Bird Restaurant in Westminster who isn't a celebrity at all...but has cooked for them. In Paris, Cofrades cooked for the Pope, and in Chicago, while sous chef at NoMI, he cooked for such mega-stars as Oprah, Tom Hanks and Sting.
Now he's using his star-nourishing skills to crank out breakfast and lunch fare with his wife, Kristen. And does his cooking deserve celebrity status of its own? Find out tomorrow when my review of Early Bird is posted.