Original post: On Thursday, May 23, Becky Creighton, the founder of Culinary Connectors, a company that exposes foodniks -- both locals and visitors -- to various Denver, Boulder and Aspen restaurants as part of a walking tour of those city's top dining dens, is rolling out a new food-and-cocktail event: Toques and 'Tails, a chef and bartender battle created, says Creighton, to "celebrate and promote the culinary and beverage talent of innovative restaurants in Denver and Boulder -- and to feature the culinary team from the same restaurant."
Creighton, who started Culinary Connectors more than four years ago, notes that the aim was "not just to do tours, but to educate people about the culinary talent in Colorado," adding that she created Toques and 'Tails because "I noticed a lot of events and competitions that focused on one aspect or another -- food, mixology, beer vs. wine dinners, or Iron Chef-type competitions -- but one type of event that I didn't see was a food-and-cocktail pairing competition with chefs and bartenders from the same restaurant, so I came up with Toques & 'Tails."
The competition, which takes place at Casselman's Bar and Venue and starts at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders), struts the talents of Justin Brunson and Ryan Conklin (Old Major); Matt Selby and Gerard Collier (Corner House); Troy Guard and Tyler Lewis (TAG); Rich Byers and Ben Anderson (The Corner Office); Gerard Strong and James Menkal (Central Bistro & Bar); Ryan Leinonen and Parker Ramey (Trillium); Jeremy Thomas and Anika Zappe (Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar); and Nelson Perkins and Kevin Burke (Colt & Gray), and they'll be judged, says Creighton, by a team of "nationally respected food and beverage professionals" from other cities, including Boston, New York City and San Francisco.
The event, which will include two rounds of judging, will require chefs and bartenders to compete in a compulsory round, wherein the chefs must create a classic recipe and the bartenders a classic cocktail; the second round will focus on food and beverage pairings. The winner will strut away with a cash prize.
Tickets to the bash, which includes food samples, wine and cocktails, are $45 for general admission and $95 for VIP access, and can be purchased here, but we're giving away two general-admission tickets to one Cafe Society commenter, who can answer this question: How many tours has Culinary Connectors conducted in Denver since December 2008?
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The person who comes the closest to the actual number will win the two tickets. To enter the contest, please submit your guess, along with your name and e-mail address (no e-mail address automatically disqualifies you from winning) in the comments section below. We'll announce the winner on Wednesday, May 22, by 6 p.m.