The Denver FIVE culinary stars will cook at the James Beard House on September 19

Last September, I spent a whopping 24 hours in New York City, mostly in the kitchen of the James Beard House, where the FIVE, a coterie of local chefs and cocktail kings, strutted their talents to a sold-old cognoscenti of foodniks -- one of whom claimed that it was the most fun she'd ever had at a Beard House dinner.

It's likely to be the same this year, when Leigh Sullivan's passel of kitchen magicians journey to the Big Apple, yet again, to showcase their culinary mastery.

"Denver's own Fab FIVE, Colorado's chef-driven culinary group that aims to help promote Colorado's culinary scene on a national level, is heading to the James Beard House -- the culinary Olympics," says Brian Melton, who works with Sullivan at Leigh Sullivan Enterprises, a company that offers marketing, brand management, job placements and public-relations consulting to the hospitality industry.

"These chefs have trained long and hard throughout their careers to become some of the best in the industry," notes Melton, adding that the "elite team of tastemakers has made an indelible mark on the Colorado dining scene with their dramatic, inventive fare and sold-out culinary events."

The September Beard House gathering marks five years that Sullivan's hand-picked chefs and mixologists, which change every year, have cooked in New York, and this year's talent show -- Tyler Wiard of Elway's Cherry Creek; Top Chef season-five winner and owner of Blackbelly Catering, Hosea Rosenberg; Samir Mohammad, executive chef of Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria; Jenna Johansen, Around the World in 80 Plates contestant; Bistro Boys Catering pastry chef Jessica Scott; and sommelier Jonathan Greschler, who's the face behind the bar at Fuel Cafe -- have composed a menu that swaggers a crop of Colorado ingredients and products. "It's an eclectic menu that highlights the evolving culinary traditions of the Mile High City," says Melton.

Tickets to the September 19 dinner are $130 for Beard House members and $170 for the general public. The menu is on the following page (and it looks fantastic), but if you can't make it to New York, the FIVE will appear at Fuel Cafe on Sunday, August 5 to cook for the group's fifth anniversary party, which will pimp a lobster boil, beer, wine and cocktails, a dunk tank, DJ Hollywood K, and more. Tickets to that dinner, which is $40 per person, can be purchased at www.fueldinner.eventbrite.com.

Flip to the next page to see the Beard House dinner menu.

FIVE James Beard Menu Wednesday, September, 19, 2012

Hors d'Oeuvres

* Colorado bison carpaccio with James Ranch aged Belford cheese and tomato confit * Peach Street Distillers bourbon-infused Genoa salami with Palisade peaches and puffed White Mountain Farms quinoa * Colorado lamb sweetbread terrine with Two Bear Farms microgreens and Leopold Bros. cherry gastrique * Cured Colorado duck breast with duck egg salad and Olathe Corn cakes * Herbed arancini with lemon beurre blanc and Great Divide beer-balsamic reduction * Château d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2011


* Colorado cauliflower vichyssoise with Ela Family Farm apples and smoked Colorado trout Wine pairing: Château Ferrande Graves 2010 * Gnocchi with pork belly confit, Fruition Farms Shepherd's Halo cheese, City Mouse Garden garlic and chive pesto Wine pairing: Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne chardonnay 2009 * Colorado crayfish tamale with Olathe Corn coulis, calabacitas and crayfish head Cheese Wine pairing: Henry Fessy Moulin-à-Vent 2009 * Emma Farms wagyu New York strip with Colorado ratatouille, San Luis Valley romanesco cauliflower and onion jus. Wine pairing: Tenimenti Angelini Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino 2006 * Mocha bombe with Italian meringue Wine pairing: Heitz Cellars Ink Grade Vineyard port NV

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