Denver Dining – It’s the Food Oscars!

March 7th, 2010 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

I always look forward to reading the list of James Beard nominations. I scan the list and check off all the restaurants I’ve been to, and make a new “If I won the lottery and could eat anywhere list”.  This year I was astounded by the number of Colorado chefs that were singled out. Never before has Colorado had so many nominations.

Matt Selby, Executive Chef at Vesta Dipping Grill and Stuebens has a good idea why Colorado is starting to get more recognition. “Denver is catching national attention because of the perseverance, passion, creativity and focus of our local chefs and restaurateurs. Rather than dwelling on the lack of local and national attention, Denver chefs and restaurateurs have simply focused in on food that exceeds their personal standards and service that is created OUT of their own standards. By returning to what is so basic, and so primary, Denver is beginning to shine. “

Matt says, “The greatest thing about being a chef in Denver is the Denver diners themselves. Denver diners have weathered the storm of an unsure market for many years now, standing by their favorite chefs and restaurants, while supporting the new and innovative, with an emphasis on local and independent. Because of the Denver diners, the scene is beginning to flourish. “

Flourish indeed. I think that Colorado’s lack of local and national attention is at an end. Culinary Connectors would like to congratulate all of our Colorado chefs. Good luck!

Here is a list of our Colorado nominees:

Outstanding Restaurateur

Chipotle CEO Steve Ells

Frank Bonanno, executive chef-owner of Bones, Luca D’Italia, Mizuna, and Osteria Marco; Denver

Best Chef – Southwest

Colorado chefs nabbed six of the 20 nominee slots. “We dominated the Southwest category, which has never happened,” said Denver restaurant consultant John Imbergamo “It’s a clear indication of Colorado’s increased culinary visibility throughout the U.S. Perhaps this is a bit of the fruits of our labor, so to speak.”

Bertrand Bouquin, Summit at the Broadmoor; Colorado Springs

Mark Fischer, Six89; Carbondale

Ryan Hardy, Montagna at the Little Nell; Aspen

Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja; Denver

Kelly Liken, Kelly Liken; Vail

Alex Seidel, Fruition; Denver

Rising Star Chef of the Year

James Rugile, Venue Bistro; Denver

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, Duo and Olivea; Denver

Outstanding Service

The Penrose Room at the Broadmoor; Colorado Springs

Outstanding Wine Service

Frasca Food & Wine; Boulder

The James Beard awards are held the first Monday in May at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City.

For more information about the James Beard awards or the James Beard Foundation please go to

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