Posts tagged " Christine Lucas "

Chef Bryan Nelson from Pacifica

February 15th, 2011 Posted by Aspen, Chefs, Culinary Connectors No Comment yet

Chef Bryan Nelson began his career at culinary school in Portland, Oregon. “I had never explored that part of the country before,” he said. After acing his classes he worked for a short stint at La Folie with Roland Passot in San Francisco and then headed to Colorado. “I explored a few ski towns before I decided I wanted to live in Aspen. I love this town, the culture, the skiing and the food.”

Like most chefs in Aspen Bryan works 50 to 60 hours a week, skis at least four or five days a week and when asked where his favorite place to eat is when he is not working, he immediately says, “My house. I have two small children so I like being at home.”

When was your “aha” moment of wanting to become a chef: I bar tended, worked front of the house, I valeted and yet I kept getting pulled back into the kitchen. Culinary school turned me on. I applied myself.

When I moved to Aspen I didn’t have the financial means to open my own restaurant and I wanted to work with other chefs before becoming an executive chef. The people I was currently working with opened Pacifica. It was already called Pacifica when they bought the restaurant. We made some changes but kept the same concept. There was no other restaurant in Aspen that was all seafood at the time.

What food trends are important to you: Sustainability. We don’t source our fish from any huge commercial fisheries. Our shrimp comes from the gulf and is never frozen. I believe the most important trend now would be having more of a connection with where your food is coming from.

On molecular gastronomy: We do a ton of sous vide cooking at Pacifica. All our veg, eggs and pork belly are done that way. We have two thermal circulators in kitchen. We just do a quick pick up in a pan on the line. Sous vide is all about consistency.

We are doing spherifications that we are using on the sashimi plates. We’re also starting to use agar agar. Since we have an open kitchen it’s interesting for people to watch us cooking the spheres in a calcium bath.

Chefs that I admire: Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert.

Favorite season to cook in: Summer. All the produce is in, especially the tomatoes. For seafood my favorite season is winter. The oysters are more consistent because the water is cooler.

If you could eat anywhere right now: Hawaii, because my family is vacationing there. But I would also really like to eat at the French Laundry.

What would you put on the menu if you didn’t have to worry about it selling: Alaskan Black Cod if I didn’t have to worry about the price.

Favorite cookbook: Under pressure by Thomas Keller and the Alinea cookbook.

Advice for culinary students: Make sure you love it or don’t do it.

Advice for home cooks: Don’t be so reliant on recipes.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be doing: I am still trying to figure out what I would do if I weren’t a chef.

What’s next for you: Possibly a remodel….but there’s lots in the works. People should try Pacifica if they like fresh seafood.

Pacifica –  307 South Mill Street, Aspen. 970-920-9775. Lunch 11:30 – 2:30. Happy Hour 3:30 – 5:30. Dinner 5:30.

Answers to How Well Do You Know Your Chefs

February 13th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors No Comment yet

Here are the correct answers to the latest questions:

Which chef hates truffle french fries? Kate Horton from the Black Pearl. She would love to take those fries off the menu but doesn’t dare.

Which chef likes to cook on his jeep engine while four-wheeling? Mark DeNittis, the salumi master at Il Mondo Vecchio. He has in fact, written a cook book on the subject called “My Jeep Grille Adventures”.

Which chef wants to open a restaurant based on bowls, spoons and jars? Scott Parker of Table 6. Based on jarring of fresh ingredients Scott sees this restaurant as a “bad ass pre thought out fast food place. No waiting or anything.”

Thanks for playing. New questions will be posted this week in our newsletter. The first person to email the correct answers wins two free tickets on a walking tour of their choice.


Wine Dinner Tonight at Encore on Colfax

February 10th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver No Comment yet

Thursday, February 10th, Encore on Colfax will be hosting a four course dinner paired with local Colorado wine and spirits. The menu also features locally grown foods.  Chef Paul Reilly, recently named as part of the Denver FIVE will work his magic on the fabulous menu that is listed below.  The party starts at 6:30 pm and be sure to get there plenty early for the passed appetizers. Call 303.355.1112 to make your reservation.

Check out the menu!

Passed Apps:

Red Beet Risotto Arancini, Ricotta Salata
Housemade Mortadella Panino, Fontina, Pistachios

w/ 2009 Garfield Estates Vin Rose Spritzer

Cumin Dusted “Maple Leaf” Duck Breast, Raspberry Gastrique, Green Lentil Salad

w/ Apricot Jackelope Gin Ginger Collins

Seared “Georges Bank” Scallop, Creamed Hominy, Chipotle-Onion Relish,

w/ 2008 Garfield Estates FuméBlanc

New Zealand Venison-Cranberry Stew, Gnocchi, Celery Root, Walnuts

w/ 2008 Garfield Estates Cabernet Franc

“Ugly Goat” Goats Milk Ricotta Cheesecake, Almond Crust, Meyer Lemon Caramel

w/ 2009 Garfield Estates Vin de Glace & Jack and Jenny Pear Eau-de-Vie

Chef Martin Oswald – Chefs Belong in the Kitchen

February 1st, 2011 Posted by Aspen, Chefs, Culinary Connectors No Comment yet

I published this interview several months ago. Chef has recently left Ute City and Syzygy to open Pyramid Bistro. His new restaurant focuses on providing nutrient dense foods with clean flavors. He even mills his own flour. Enjoy!

Chef Martin Oswald is a rock star. He owns Riverside Grill in Basalt and is the executive chef at Ute City and Syzygy in Aspen. Plus, he’s from Austria, the land of sacher torte, gemutlichkeit and schnitzel.

Martin became a chef because of his mother. “I grew up living in the lush farming countryside of Styria, Austria. There my mother, who formerly worked in a Swiss restaurant, grew all her own vegetables, herbs and fruit. Meats, dairy products and honey were provided from the neighbors. My amazing mother cooked us three courses for lunch everday!” Martin grew up “living” farm to table, head to tail, organic, local, and seasonal. It was just how it was done.

In Austria kids decide at a young age whether to go to the University or to pursue a trade. Martin choose cooking and was sent to work as an apprentice 10 months of the year and to culinary school 2 months of the year. “You learn more working in a kitchen than you do in a culinary school classroom,” he says. Upon graduation Martin went to work at one of the most prestigious spas in Europe. At the Spa he quickly learned from the dietitians how to make healthy meals. To this day he tries to incorporate as much fiber into his cooking as possible.

When Martin turned 19 he moved to New York. While working in a large restaurant he learned to cook for a multitude of people and to do it well. It is a skill he still utilizes when he does catering for big events in Aspen. After New York it was off to San Francisco to work for a famous Austrian Chef, Wolfgang Puck at Postrio. This three story restaurant, with a kitchen staff of 75 had a multitude of different foods, tastes and plate presentations. “Everything at Postrio was made from scratch – from the puff pastry to the breads and the housemade salumi.” Martin worked every station at Postrio and actually turned down a promotion to be sous chef because he wanted to learn more about butchering. It was at Postrio that Martin was introduced to Asian flavors, foie gras terrines, house-smoked salmon and where he saw for the first time the breaking away of using butter sauces and béchamel. “Vegetables were grilled and marinated with EVOO. It was light and fresh cooking. It’s still a big influence for me today.” After Postrio came a stint at Sweet Basil in Vail and then finally Syzygy where he has been since 1995.

Which of the restaurants are your favorite: I like all of them because they are so different. Riverside Grill is about doing approachable food. Ute City is influenced heavily from my days at Postrio and Syzygy is all about fine dining.

On Molecular Gastronomy: It is a unique and eye opening experience for diners. Right now we are doing a crispy béarnaise and blue cheese powder at Syzygy. I want each dish to have a unique element.

On being a hands-on chef: The most experienced set of hands belongs in the kitchen, not talking with guests in the front of the house.

Favorite utensil: Mini spatula

Favorite cookbook: Babbo

Favorite restaurant: Guy Savoy in Paris

Favorite knives: Mac

What do you eat at home: My wife buys the best Irish cheese and there is always a bowl of seasonal fresh fruit on the kitchen table. I love fresh fish and I love to make pesto from the ingredients in my garden.

Tips for home cooks: Always get the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar that you can afford.

Most underrated kitchen tool: Mortar and pestle. Using this tool will change the flavor profile of an herb dramatically.

What would you put on the menu if you didn’t have to worry about it selling: Tripe. If done correctly it crisps up nicely. I would also like to feature brains with butter, shallots and raw egg yolk.

Rules in your kitchen: No picking on the weakest link. Everyone needs to work hard and respect each other.

Being a chef has been a wonderful journey. 28 years later I look at the evolution and revolution of cooking and how it never stops. Each day you search for perfection, a way of doing it better.

What inspires you: Currently, I’m inspired by Noma, a two star Michelin restaurant in Copenhagen that was named Best Restaurant in the World. The chef, Rene Redzepi is known for his reinvention and interpretation of Nordic cuisine. He uses molecular gastronomy and only super local ingredients. It’s perfection.

On being a chef: It’s like living in a state of madness.

Please visit Chef Martin at Pyramid Bistro. 211 E. Main Street, Aspen. 970-925-5338. Open for lunch and dinner.

Oak at Fourteenth – It’s Where to Eat This Weekend

January 29th, 2011 Posted by Boulder, Chefs, Culinary Connectors, restaurants No Comment yet

Oak at Fourteenth may just be my new favorite restaurant. Is it because I worked with Chef Steve Redzikowski and Bryan Dayton, mixologist extraordinaire and now part of the Denver FIVE during my time at Frasca?


It’s my new favorite because it’s really, really good.

“I just want one thing,” I told Chef Steve when I stopped in for a quick brunch. He started me off with a simple salad with seared tuna. It was perfect – dressed just right – which should be easy to do, but so many restaurants either under dress or over dress their salads. Next came the coffee cured hanger steak and eggs. The steak was beautifully pink, the eggs oozed their yolks and the cheddar fondue that was on the bottom of the plate was silky smooth. At this point my idea of stopping at a couple of other restaurants in Boulder vanished. I crushed that plate and then started anew on the cheese course that Steve sent for dessert. What I particularly love about Oak is that they use very seasonal and local ingredients. Their dessert menu in particular highlights Uncle Pete’s honey, Tommy Knockers root beer, goat cheese made in Basalt, Colorado and Boulder’s Heirloom popcorn.

During brunch I indulged with one of Bryan Dayton’s fun cocktails. I highly suggest his Morning Routine made with Domaine de Canton, campari, lime juice, Leopold’s peach bitters and tonic. My girlfriend who doesn’t drink was delighted to find some interesting non-alcoholic beverages on the menu. She tried the cucumber and mint soda. While we were eating the barkeep started shaving hand carved ice cubes into spheres that fit in low ball glasses. Really, really!

Oak at Fourteenth is a great addition to an already thriving dining scene in Boulder. After eating at Oak I immediately wanted to go back for more. There were many dishes just on their brunch menu that caught my eye, not to mention the house made potato chips, gioia creamery ricotta gnuddi and meatballs with anson mills grits. I’m planning a weekend trip with my fiancée to Boulder so that we can spend most of that time happily ensconced in front of the open kitchen at Oak.

Try Oak anytime during the week or weekend (they are closed on Mondays), but in particular, if you have time Tuesday, February 8th, Oak is hosting a wine dinner with winemaker Fabrizio Iuli. Chef Steve is creating a five course-tasting menu with paired wines for just $75 per person. Not only does Fabrizio make fabulous wine, the menu looks fabulous as well. Steve is planning on making cocoa braised boar, crispy pork belly and chicken live pate. Just reading the menu makes my foodie soul sing!  To make reservations please call 303-444-3622.

Oak at Fourteenth – 1400 Pearl St., Boulder. 303-444-3622. Weekdays: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm. Closed Mondays. Weekends: 10:30 am – 10:00 pm

Venue – It’s Where to Eat This Week

January 25th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver No Comment yet

In that cute stretch of 32nd Avenue next door to Mondo Vino is Venue. Open for lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends, Venue is Holly Hartnett’s (formerly of Table 6) baby.

I wondered into Venue yesterday to get some work done and have a quiet lunch. “What should I have?” I asked Holly. “The burger, I think it’s one of the best in town.” Now, that’s a bold statement. I love burgers and have tried them all over Denver. My favorite in the entire world is at the Spotted Pig in New York City – but I digress. The burger at Venue truly is one of the best in Denver. It’s simple, well seasoned and delicious.

That was just lunch, Venue also has a fun and affordable happy hour. Beer, wine and cocktails are ½ off and snacks range from $3.50 – $12.00. Try the individual shrimp with grits.

Tonight check out Venue’s “Tour of Italy” wine dinner. Holly is offering five courses with wine pairings for just $60 per person.

Venue – 3609 W. 32nd Ave., Denver. 303-477-0477. Monday through Sunday 11am to 10pm. Happy Hours 4:30 to 6:30. Sunday Brunch 10am to 3pm. Sunday Happy Hours 3:00 to 6:30pm. Sunday Dinner 5:00 to 8:00pm.

Il Posto’s Andrea Frizzi

January 18th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

The kitchen is quiet and dark at Il Posto when I arrive for my interview with Andrea Frizzi. He makes us both a cup of espresso and then he begins to talk. I am immediately struck by his positive philosophy about life. This is a man who is deeply in love with his wife, a man who would give you the shirt off his back, a man with honor.

“My family owned a salumerie in Milan. I was obligated to be a chef because I had to work in the family business. After finishing culinary school my father sent me to a “Nazi” restaurant. I started there as a commis and left as a chef. I learned that I was good, and that I wanted to be the best. I call it a Nazi restaurant because when I made a mistake the chef locked me in the freezer for 7 hours. It was an old style restaurant where the line cooks took a lot of abuse. I vowed I would never be one of those mad chefs. I’m fair. It’s intense working for me, but I am respectful. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning.”

In 1993 Andrea moved to the United States and accepted a position as the Executive Chef for Bice Restaurant in Washington, D.C. “ When I left Italy it was the first time I saw my father cry.” he says. In 1994 Williams Sonoma named him one of the new rising best chefs in the USA for its Taste of Home publication. He was also named best new young chef in Washington, D.C. by Dining Digest.

Over the course of 12 years he has helped open over 20 new restaurants. In 1997 he stopped in Denver to help open Cucina Colore. “I loved Denver. I noticed that Denver was on the verge of getting really good food.  I came back a few years later to help open Via.”

On Opening Il Posto: The day I gave notice at Via, a friend of mine drove me by the space on 17th Avenue that is now Il Posto. I opened Il Posto using my credit cards. When you believe in something you have to go for broke. The universe will do everything it can to give you your dream as long as you jump in with both feet. You must have faith.  You must be honest, keep your word, treat people right and be passionate about your work.

Andrea is true to his word. In 2009 when the restaurant business suffered due to the economy, he didn’t fire his staff, he didn’t cheapen his ingredients. He stayed the course. In 2010 profits were up 20%.

“Il Posto was an instant success, although we did have growing pains, but that is to be expected. The vision for Il Posto was to offer a good price point for diners without anyone going broke.”

On Denver diners: The majority of people only make $40,000 a year. On that salary it is difficult to pay bills and still have money left over for dining out. Il Posto aims to create an experience for everyone. It is not an elite or special occasion restaurant. We offer great bottles of wine between $35-45 dollars. We welcome everyone with a small glass of prosecco as a thank you for choosing Il Posto for dinner.

We open for lunch even though we don’t make much money. There is a lovely elderly couple that comes in for lunch 2 or three times a week. They try everything, They drink wine. We love them.

What’s next: My goal is to have a farm and a wine importing company.

About me: I don’t do politics. I don’t want to be on Food Network. I want to provide a great experience for everyone. I have no fear of failure. I am not gun shy. If you fail, get up and do it again.

The best part of Il Posto: I love when guests compliment the line cooks.

Rules in my kitchen: I like it quiet, no yelling and very clean.

My line cooks: If I don’t change the menu by at least 60% everyday they call me a pussy. Your brain is like a muscle. When you change the menu everyday your brain adapts to that. Most line cooks couldn’t cope with so much change, but at Il Posto we do it right and in an efficient way.

On Denver: People are friendly. It’s genuine. People are not star struck. Here, everyone has a chance.

Favorite or least favorite ingredient: I “hate” butter. It compromises everything. I am a firm believer in pure flavor. Butter is a safe ingredient.

Chefs that I respect: Patrick at Z Cuisine. He is a crazy motherfucker. I love that he is just about the food, and not about what people think. He’s so French  – he only works about 36 hours a week (he pauses, smiles and says, please print that).

Where I like to Eat in Denver: Sushi Sasa. I know that Sushi Den is where everyone loves to go but at Sushi Sasa the ingredients are the star. Table 6 – they’re good people. I like the food and the ambience. Aaron is great and Scott is a sweetheart. Fruition – Alex is an intense human being and a good friend. I respect him and his commitment to his team. Masterpiece Deli – Justin crafts some great sandwiches. Saigon Bowl – they serve some really good Vietemese food and the owner is always there. For pizza I love Marcos Coal Fired. For Italian – Parisi. Simone is a good friend of mine. I also really love Parallel 17 – Mary Nguyen is a great person. She helped me when I needed it the most. She and Simone from Parisi believed in me.

Favorite Season for cooking: Summer. The best time to cook in Colorado is the end of July and the beginning of August. The porcinis, chanterelles, and heirloom tomatoes are so good.

Favorite Cookbook: Pellaprat l’arte Della Cucina Moderna.

Favorite kitchen tool: A wooden spoon.

If you could eat anywhere in the world: At a friend’s restaurant in Italy. He makes polenta with spinach, butter and sage and veal braised in red wine with mushrooms. I don’t need to go to a five star restaurant. Eating at those places just makes me stressed out. It’s like going on a job interview. I like to go to restaurants that remind me of my childhood.

Last words: At Il Posto we do the best we can. We work really hard for that. This is the love of my life. We will never skimp on happiness for a price point.

Every second Saturday Chef Andrea teaches cooking classes from 10:00 am – noon. For just $52.80 you can spend time in the kitchen with chef and learn how he makes his fabulous gnocchi.

Il Posto – 2011 E. 17th Ave., Denver. 303-394-0100. Mon-Thurs: 5:00pm – 11:30pm. Friday and Saturday: 5:00pm – 12am. Sunday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm. Lunch: 11:00-2:30pm.

Gaetano’s – It’s Where To Eat This Weekend

January 7th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver No Comment yet

Gaetano’s in North Denver has a long and interesting history. Stories of the Smaldone family’s mafia connections, murders, a front door made of bullet proof class, patrons eating pasta and red sauce upstairs while “loans” were given out downstairs,  three brothers with lengthy criminal histories and numerous headlines in the Rocky Mountain News – this is sensational stuff.

While the Smaldone family’s criminal enterprise is gone, the Wynkoop Family of Restaurants is proud to carry on Gaetano’s tradition of serving fine Italian cuisine. As you enjoy your meal, take a look around. The dining room looks much as it did 20 years ago when the three brothers (Checkers, Flip Flop and Chauncey) sauntered through on their way to do “family business” in the office.

Stop by this weekend for Gaetano’s traditional Italian cuisine like sausage and peppers, minestrone, antipasto plates, chicken parmesan, meatballs, pasta with clam sauce, pizzas and my favorite – spumoni ice cream. Don’t be surprised when you leave full and satiated if you have the urge to go and watch The Godfather.

Look for Gaetano’s to be featured on Culinary Connectors new walking tours on Tejon Street.

Gaetano’s – 3760 Tejon Street, Denver. 303.455.9852

Open Sundays from Noon – 9 pm
Mon. through Sat. at 11 am
Happy Hour Mon. – Fri. from 3 – 6 pm

Be The First to Know

January 4th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver No Comment yet

Which famous restaurateur is opening a new wine bar this year?

If you said Richard Sandoval, you guessed right. In July 2011 Richard is planning to open A Lado, a Latin themed wine bar right next door to Zengo.

Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Richard Sandoval grew up surrounded by Mexican culture and food. His father, a successful restaurateur, instilled in him a passion for the cuisine of his heritage and the art of hospitality. From the age of 12, Richard worked in his father’s highly regarded restaurants confirming his desire to be a chef. Richard Sandoval has been a pioneer bringing refined Mexican food to this country. By redefining this historic cuisine he has become a leader in the upscale Latin culinary movement.  His restaurants reach all across the globe from Denver, Las Vegas, Punta Mita and even Dubai.

Before A Lado opens be sure to experience the cuisine of Richard Sandoval at Tamayo and Zengo in Denver.

Aria’s Michael Long

January 4th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver No Comment yet

“Michael is a whirlwind,” his staff told me as I sat down at the bar at Aria. Open for just one week, Aria is the second restaurant that Michael Long and Nick Gulotta have opened together. Michael admits he is tired after working a long string of doubles to get Aria open. “We didn’t know how many people would come on Christmas Eve so we prepped our holiday menu that day,” he says. From my perch at the bar, a couple glasses of wine and a delicious crab egg Benedict later, it seems as though Aria has been open for a long time. The staff is friendly and comfortable. The dining room feels homey and if brunch is any indication, the food is great.

I had met Michael on numerous occasions but when you interview a chef you always learn something new. Keep reading and find out why molecular gastronomy is like reggae, oysters in gelatin don’t sell and why Michael became a chef.

On culinary school: Michael Long attended the CIA in New York in 1999. At that time students worked front and back of the house at four different restaurants at the school. “We were judged by our peers, everyday. From day one of our classes we learned and then set up for service. We fed 50 students a day.”

Favorite class in culinary school: Guarde manger. We learned about pates and terrines.

Favorite teacher at the CIA: Arnold Baygna. I think he was actually mentioned in Anthony Bourdain’s book. He was an incredible tyrant and very demanding. He was famous for treating everyone like dogs. Either you got an A or you dropped the class.

Biggest influence: Norman Van Aken. I staged at his restaurant. He is the reigning influence in South Florida. His genre is world cuisine – as he put it – on a map my fingers can touch the Bahamas, Haiti, Cuba, New Orleans and the Yucatan. I still make a plantain-crusted grouper that is due to his influence.

In my kitchen: I use the “old fashioned” brigade system. Many of my line cooks are angry that they don’t get to plate their own dishes. In the brigade system cooks don’t stop cooking to plate things. I expedite but if need be I will step onto the line. In that case I work grill since I can work that station and still expedite.

On celebrity chefs: I am not immune to pursuing publicity. The more acclaim I get the more interesting dishes I can do. Chefs aren’t celebrities, they are cooks. I think it’s a measure of our society that we are “celebritizing” everything.

The best Chefs in the country: Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller. Neither one, by the way, is on TV.

My ultimate goal: to retire wealthy.

Favorite station: Butchering, even though it’s not really a station. I always seem to get one more portion out of a piece of fish or meat than any of my line cooks.

Favorite cookbook: Happy in the Kitchen by Michel Richard. White Trash Cooking and Art Culinaire.

Favorite Kitchen Utensil: the tool that takes the top off raw eggs.

Favorite season for cooking: Fall. I love the ingredients – butternut squash, cranberries and sage.

Advice for young cooks: Learn to subjugate all your own needs and desires to the betterment of your team. Show up, keep up and shut up.

Advice for home cooks: Get the heat up to sear things. Sharpen and maintain a professional chefs knife.

Worst kitchen disaster: Earlier in my career in a restaurant that will remain unnamed, the ansul system went off during dinner service. I hate to say this but we walked off the line and never went back.

What do you love most about being a chef: the energy, the stress and the craziness. It fuels you.

How many problems do you solve on the fly during one service: At least 30.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Denver/Boulder: L’Atelier. Fruition.

Favorite white trash food: It’s not white trash food but I love the Italian hero sandwich from Old Time Deli.

Why did you become a chef: I worked in restaurants at first because I wanted to party and chase girls. Line cooks and chefs were the kings of the restaurant world.  When I first started professionally cooking the more covers you did, the bigger the bad ass you were. You wanted to work at the largest restaurant so you could brag about how much food you could put out. Now, the best part of being a chef is making people happy, seeing them smile when a plate arrives at the table.

What is the hardest part of being a chef: managing people and getting customers to accept your dishes as written on your menu. I am, therefore, more ambiguous, on how I word things.

If could put anything on the menu and not worry about it selling: it would be Raymond Blanc’s dish – oysters, with sorrel and citrus caviar encased in oyster liquor gelatin. I’ve put it on several menus and no one orders it.  I think the gelatin scares people away.

Rules in my kitchen: rules apply to everyone. Don’t cut the protein until the starch and veg are on the plate. I’m also not found of whistling.

Is Denver the next food city: we have to remember that our guests will make Denver the next food city. We can’t make it one. Instead of trying to make Denver something it’s not, why don’t we do something clever that people will like?

Molecular Gastronomy: I do a few things. I make Tabasco caviar. I use tranglutamate. Molecular gastronomy is like reggae. There is only one Bob Marley. Everything else is a copy. There is only one Ferran Adria. Remember all art is plagiarism or revolution.

If you could eat anywhere in the world: a meal with Michel Bras.

Your last meal: a bushel of oysters.

How do you relax after work: I watch Sports Center. I also play golf. I broke 80 three times last year.

Last words: I’m not as crazy as you may have heard.

Why eat at Aria: I was in Littleton doing fine dining for a long time. I heard many times that if Opus were in Denver more people would come. Now I’m in Denver Come in.

Aria – 250 Jospehine St., Cherry Creek. 303-377-4012. Lunch: Monday – Saturday: 11:00am – 3:00pm. Dinner: Sunday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday- Saturday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm. Sunday Brunch: 5:00pm – 11:00pm