For culinary students, it’s incredibly important to seek out exposure to the best restaurants and chefs in your area. For those enrolled in cooking schools in Colorado, one of the foremost opportunities to do this is Denver Restaurant Week. Since the event was started more than a decade ago, it’s served as a prime showcase of some of the city’s elite culinary experts and their work. According to Westword, though, changes are coming to the annual event that will impact both those whose work is being featured and future attendees of the festival. Traditionally, Denver Restaurant Week has taken place over a 14 day period. However, NBC has reported that, beginning in 2015, the event will downsize to a 10 day showcase.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first logistic change Denver Restaurant Week has undergone since it’s inception more than 10 years ago. The event has always been used as a method of catalyzing business during late winter, which is typically a slow season for restaurants. For many years, the culinary event ran for only one week. In an effort to bring in even more revenue during the off season, a second week was added in the late 2000s. While this addition provided more opportunity for local chefs and restaurateurs to display their trade, the decision was ultimately made in 2014 to split the event into two separate weeks. Since then, the event has taken place across one week in August and another in February.
After running the event across two separate seasons in 2014, residents still were dissatisfied with the timeline of Denver Restaurant Week. In speaking with NBC, vice president of marketing for Visit Denver, Justin Bresler, explained that the move from the two week model to a shorter, 10 day festival is in response to feedback from locals, restaurant owners and others close to the event.
“We talked to restaurant owners, restaurant employees, diners, sponsors and restaurant week fans, and the consensus was that seven days of DRW was too short, but 14 consecutive days was too long,” said Bresler. “The perfect ‘best of both worlds’ compromise appears to be to run it for 10 days, encompassing two complete weekends in the traditional slow period of February.”
The new model of one 10-day restaurant week will take place beginning in 2015 from Feb. 20 to March 1. While the event will undoubtedly provide less time for restaurant managers and chefs to present their work, it may play out that the shortened window draws a heartier tourism boom. One of the biggest logistic challenges that will be faced by those organizing the week of festivities will be how to plan to allow ample exposure for the many merchants who participate each time around. Last year, according to NBC, more than 500 restaurants participated in total, with roughly 60 percent signing up for time slots during the winter session.