Treat yourself with a little fine dining in your own home, all made by Whistling Boar chef/co-founder David Pitula. Since last spring, Pitula has been creating elaborate gourmet feasts — all made with hyper-local ingredients — that customers can have delivered along with simple reheat instructions.
"We were always going to be a local, farm-to-table company that worked with local ranchers and farms," says the chef's wife and Whistling Boar co-founder, Debbie Seaford-Pitula. The pair launched Whistling Boar as a catering company in Boulder in February, but the original plan didn't go quiet as they expected. "COVID happened, so we pivoted and started talking about the Boar Boxes, which people started ordering though April and May, and that's when we realized we really had something here."
The couple moved to Colorado in 2016, shortly after the birth of their youngest child. Eventually, they both took roles at Sugar Pine Catering, Debbie as the manager of catering operations and David as the executive chef. But once 2020 came around, they were ready to do something new, and the idea for Whistling Boar was born. Now David can do what he wants in the kitchen, which includes working with sustainable products and practices.
"In a way, you're getting a private chef's service and a fully composed meal," says Debbie, breaking down the weekly package to around $30 a person, per meal, with possible leftovers. "And we make sure, whatever the dietary needs, our customers are getting a meal they could get in a restaurant, but at home."
Overall, this program is not meant to be economical; it's intended to showcase the small farms and ranches near Boulder through high-end, professionally made food. These types of ingredients cost more, adds Debbie, and the taste difference between factory-farmed meat compared to a grass-fed steak, for example, is noticeable. Think of it as a way to treat yourself or someone else to a celebratory meal — something we all still crave even though we can't dine in our favorite restaurants.
"When we created the menu, we were dedicated to compostable packaging and the quality of the food item," says Debbie. "As we become more embedded in the community, we will ask ourselves how to create something that is more accessible and still have the integrity of the menu."
There are three main Boar Boxes available. The most elaborate is the weekly package, which runs $425 and includes enough to serve two to four people, so it's great for a family with two adults and two small kids. It comprises six main courses, with choices including ginger and black garlic pork tenderloin, pork schnitzel with relish cream and lemon, and crispy tempeh with spicy ginger mayo; eight sides that range from chickpea polenta cakes and citrus-and-garlic roasted beets to potato gnocchi tossed with sage, brown butter and parmesan; and two soups like chicken tortellini brodo or mulligatawny. There's also a large chef's salad and bread included.
The weekender box starts at $265 and includes enough food for two to four people to enjoy two brunches, a charcuterie board, salad and two full dinners. Recent options from this selection have been crab-cake sandwiches, challah French toast, roast chicken, beef goulash, kamut pilaf and berber-spiced cauliflower. The smaller of the three boxes is the $165 date night set, which includes a three-course dinner for two, bread, butter or olive oil and a cheese or charcuterie plate. This option sometimes requires a little prep; for example, a recent order had marinated chicken quarters to roast.
Aside from these boxes, David also provides private chef services and tailored culinary events.
"We consider ourselves to be hyper-local," Debbie reiterates. "For instance, all of our produce and sundries, pickles and kraut, we harvest for all year. We also practice conscious choosing, which means local first and then organic."
Colorado products come from 7X Beef in Hotchkiss, Denver's Elevation Meats for charcuterie, MetaCarbon Organic Farm in Longmont, and two Boulder operations, Speedwell Farms and Gardens and Munson Farms. Whistling Boar also utilizes Colorado State University’s langin wheat (a winter wheat variety) for its bread products. This particular wheat is a southern Colorado grain that doesn't degrade soil, doesn't need much water and can handle strong winds.
"We are being conscious and doing whatever practices we can to lower our footprint," says Debbie. "We want to see a better future for our land, and we want to make beautiful food."
This sort of attention to detail is a big part of how David likes to work with food. His initial excitement for cooking blossomed when he was twelve, working alongside his mother as she watched cooking shows. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and continued honing his skills at Aquavit, Picholine, Lupa, Atlas, Compass and the Food Network while living in New York City. In 2010 David moved to Brooklyn to open a gastropub called the Ox Cart Tavern, which is still there, but under new ownership. Once in Colorado, the chef worked at the Roadhouse Boulder Depot and the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.
Debbie has a strong culinary background as well. When she was five she moved with her family to Brooklyn from Guyana, and within a few years, she was helping prepare Afro-Indi-Caribbean recipes. This led to a lifelong joy of cooking and participating in the hospitality industry, and for sixteen years she worked an array of front- and back-of-house positions at top NYC restaurants and caterers, including Atlas, Spice Market, Creative Edge Parties and Pinch Food Design.
The name Whistling Boar symbolizes the chef himself, with the boar referring to his culinary side and the whistling being his other true skill. In fact, says Debbie, she has never met anyone who could whistle like her husband, who often does so in tune for twenty minutes or more.
This month, Whistling Boar has created a take-home holiday feast. The menu is already posted on the company's website and includes a four-to-six person meal for $300, with choices such as candied spiced nuts, chef's salad, roast pork pernil (leg) with mojo sauce, pomegranate-braised short ribs, winter vegetables, chestnut spaetzle, eggnog cheesecake pie, chocolate Yule log cake and more. There are also culinary boxes to add on loaded with Christmas cookies, scone kits and dinner rolls, among other options. For any of these holiday treats, make sure to order by December 18 for delivery on December 24.
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