Denver residents are a hearty bunch, ready to seek out ice cream and other frozen desserts even during the chilly winter months, according to Inventing Room Dessert Shop chef/owner Ian Kleinman. Even so, his Wonka-inspired shop at 4433 West 29th Avenue closed for the season last November, but the chef says "staffing more than weather" was the deciding factor.
The Inventing Room will be back in time for sultry summer weather, though: Kleinman is reopening the shop on Saturday, June 1, after spending a few months figuring out the best way to run it with a leaner staff. And along with maintaining a busy catering schedule over the winter, he's been experimenting with some wacky new ideas to please kids and adults alike come June. The most intriguing is edible wallpaper, inspired by the fruit-flavored wall covering in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Rather than licking the walls, customers will be able to purchase sheets of rice paper imbued with creative flavors and printed with the same design that appeared in the movie. Kleinman says he'll have a whole rack of grab-and-go desserts for customers who may not want to wait for a liquid-nitrogen creation. The dessert bar will be open from 2 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
The catering side of Kleinman's business is just as creative as his dessert bar, delving into savory as well as sweet eats. Not content to just drop food on plates, the chef is working on several inventions to make the experience even more fun for customers, and recently launched Gobblefunk Tech, a side business specializing in building food delivery and presentation systems for his catering company as well as any others looking to liven up parties. His first invention was the "floating table," a food-presentation counter with a dozen levitating plates powered by the principles of superconductivity.
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"My career started with cooking and evolved into food manipulation, and now the next stage is presentation," Kleinman explains.
Other inventions in the works are drone waiters and a drone-drop dessert delivery system, a Segway bar, a liquid-nitrogen robot, and a virtual-reality experience that will immerse guests in an edible world. The chef is also working with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to develop a "tongue reader" that will analyze diners' tastebuds (which are as unique as fingerprints) so that a bite of food can be customized to each guest.
Just like Gene Wilder's character, Ian Kleinman's desserts and other creations are fueled by "pure imagination." See you in line at the Inventing Room come June 1 to find out what new tricks the magician has up his sleeve.