Ian Kleinman lives in a Willy Wonka world. He's the mad scientist, the crazy culinary genius who long ago ditched traditional cooking methods to concentrate on molecular gastronomy, for which he's now known nationwide.
And starting this Friday, you can win a golden ticket to a pop-up dinner that will feature Kleinman's molecular mastery, when Studio F, the new combination culinary event space/professional kitchen/cooking school at 1801 Wynkoop that chef James Mazzio, who also owns Red Star Deli, hosts Kleinman for a nine-day series of pop-up dinners, May 18-26.
Beginning this Friday, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Kleinman (and his liquid nitrogen tank) will be hanging out at the Biker Jim hot dog cart at 17th and Arapahoe, handing out free bags of bruschetta popcorn -- and some of those bags will harbor a golden ticket that's good for two people who want to attend one of the dinners, which will include, among other molecular innovations, lobster crepes with black truffle caviar, mornay and saltwater bubbles.
"It's just like the chocolate bar in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," says Kleinman, "except that instead of the chocolate bar, we're doing bags of bruschetta popcorn flavored with tomato, basis and white cheddar powders, and a few of those bags will hold a lucky golden ticket."
Before the first pop-up dinner on May 18, Kleinman plans to plant himself at other popcorn pop-up venues in Denver, where hopefuls will have additional opportunities to snatch a golden ticket. "We haven't figured out quite where the other popcorn pop-up locations will be, but we'll do at least two more after this Friday," he reveals.
The Studio F pop-up dinners, says Kleinman, will trumpet cocktails and a la carte dishes (every cocktail and dish will be priced individually -- unless you're carrying a golden ticket, in which case your dinner is complimentary) that will be "fun and interesting with my molecular twists on everything."
"I believe every dining experience should have inspiring food, drinks and service," stresses Kleinman. "However, there should be another element -- an entertainment quality that makes you think about your food, not just eat it."
Reservations to the pop-up dinners, some of which will feature other local chefs like Mazzio,Jenna Johansen and Lance Barto, are required, and you can make one (and view Kleinman's menu) by visiting www.studioflodo.com. "It's going to be blast," promises Kleinman.
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