Spuntino's Nicholas Ames takes a homesteading approach to food and life

Transitions can be hard, especially when big shoes are left to fill. Such was the case this summer when John Broening announced his departure for Le Grand Bistro and Oyster Bar, leaving the kitchen at Spuntino, the restaurant he owns with his wife, Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, in the hands of Nicholas Ames. See also:Spuntino will undergo a remodel and expand its menu

But Ames wasn't new to Spuntino; he's been in the kitchen since Broening and Lozada-Hissom got involved with the place last year, and shares Broening's dedication to fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Indeed, it's this passion that brought Ames from San Francisco to Denver, instead of to places like Chicago or New York, which he was also considering. Colorado "has the agriculture to support the philosophy I have," Ames explains, adding that he has a "homesteading approach to life" and is working on a root cellar at home.

Not surprisingly, it was Ames' treatment of a vegetable, namely a soup made from butternut squash, that first got him the job at Spuntino. And how is Spuntino doing after the transition? Find out when my review is posted on westword.com tomorrow.

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