On Saturday, September 10, those with an interest in cooking in Colorado have a chance to dig into dishes from some of the area’s finest chefs. The Boulder stop on the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour will take place on 13th Street, just outside of the farm-to-table bistro Black Cat. Guests will enjoy dishes from nine chefs in an evening inspired by the dinners served at the James Beard House in New York City.
Sampling Colorado’s best cooking
As outlined on the organization’s website, the meals at the James Beard House are usually prepared by a single chef and based around a theme. They begin with a passed hors d’oeuvre and wine or cocktails. Then, the guests take their seats for a five-course meal, each dish paired with a wine.
“Diners will try creations from several acclaimed chefs.”
The dinner in Boulder will follow a similar structure, but diners will get to try creations from several acclaimed chefs. Eric Skokan, chef and owner at Black Cat and the neighboring pub, Bramble & Hare, will act as host for the evening. The appetizers will be prepared by Jessica Emich of Shine, Daniel Asher from River and Woods, Mark Monette from the Flagstaff House and Will and Coral Frischkorn of Cured.
Dinner will feature five courses, each made by a different chef. The first, a seafood course, will come from James Beard Award winner Jennifer Jasinski, owner of Denver’s Euclid Hall, Rioja, Bistro Vendome and Stoic & Genuine. Alex Seidel from Mercantile and Fruition in Denver, will follow with pasta.
For a pork course, Skokan will contribute five suckling pigs from Black Cat Farm to the cause. The extra-tender meat will be prepared confit with cinnamon, cardamom and oranges before being heated with honey and presented on a bed of greens. Wild Standard and Salt owner Bradford Heap will provide salmon escabeche, featuring fish marinated in a mixture of olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, shallots, carrots, bay leaf, kosher salt, black pepper, clove, anise, coriander, white wine and apple cider vinegar. Finally, Dave Query from Big Red F restaurant group will bring roasted lamb to the table.
More than great food
The Boulder dinner is the first time the Celebrity Chef Tour involved shutting down a portion of a street, giving the evening a unique feeling and calling for some creative adaptations from the chefs. This outdoor version is the brainchild of Jeff Black, a Boulder resident who is the tour’s event director. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Black and Skokan began discussing the undertaking years earlier, and it required a year of planning with city officials.
Query told the newspaper that he was looking forward to the opportunity to cook outdoors.
“I always feel like cooking outside in that style ends up being a lot more soulful,” he said. “You don’t have all the tools that you normally use. You have to be deliberate in what you’re doing.”
While fine, local dining is the main event, there’s more to the Boulder edition of the Celebrity Chef Tour. Once guests have had their fill of great Colorado cooking, dessert will come by way of Chicago, from Beard Award winner Mindy Segal of Mindy’s HotChocolate.
Meanwhile, sommelier Brett Zimmerman of the Boulder Wine Merchant will be on hand to offer a selection of perfectly paired wines. Bryan Dayton, owner and beverage director at Boulder’s Oak and Denver’s Acorn, will contribute his mixology, known for prominently featuring seasonal ingredients. Plus, attendees will have an opportunity to ask the chefs questions about their work.
The James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dinner is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the general public cost $175. See the event website for details and to purchase tickets.