Denver's Harvest Week is upon us, and the chefs are buzzing. Beginning on Sunday September 22, The GrowHaus, an indoor urban farm, market place and educational center on 4751 York Street, will host six dinners created by chefs from 36 of Denver's restaurants. Harvest Week is put on by the local network of independent restaurants EATDenver.
The week kicks off with the Praise The Laird Barn Dance Brunch that showcases breakfast cocktails made by Lou's Food Bar, featuring Spring 44 Vodka. The meal, created by chefs from Snooze, Beatrice and Woodsley, The Lobby, Denver Deep Dish, and The Fort, will include peach barbecue pork shoulder, buffalo rice with pork belly, and stout-battered French toast. At all of the GrowHaus Harvest Week Dinners, guests should bring their own plates, glasses, and cutlery. The farm and the chefs will provide the rest.
On Tuesday September 24, Harvest Week will feature its first-ever all-vegetarian meal, the Urban Bounty Vegetarian Feast. "We've teamed up two restaurants per course for three different courses, with passed appetizers to start and small petit fours for dessert," says says executive chef Brandon Foster of Vesta Dipping Grill. "We're sourcing as much produce as possible from urban farms, and anything we can't source urban will most definitely be sourced locally."
Urban Bounty will be the ultimate produce showcase, serving a salad bar for which you freshly chop your own herbs, smoked Japanese eggplant-wrapped braised Italian eggplant, and green bean "almondine" with summer squash ravioli.
Harvest Week concludes with the pinnacle of its dinners, the grand finale Feast of the Hunters and Gatherers. This year cooking at this feast will be chefs from Corner House, Trillium, Harman's Eat & Drink, Le Grand Bistro, Linger, and Root Down.
"[Harvest Week] get chefs talking, and cooking together. It evokes conversations among chefs, among people," says Harman's Eat & Drink Chef John Little. "I'm so excited to bump elbows with some of Denver's best chefs."
This is Chef Little's first year participating in Harvest Week. He comes from the rustic roots, where he worked as chef de cuisine at Pullman Eat + Drink in Glenwood Springs. "I'd do some hunting and serve it at the restaurant, mushroom foragers stopped by the restaurant all the time... we don't get as much of that at Cherry Creek," he jokes.
Despite Harman's urban location, Little uses a good deal of hunted and gathered products on the menu. "I've already been serving rabbit here, and we try to use as much foraged stuff as possible," he says. "This year it's been a lot of chanterelle mushrooms. This is one of the best chanterelle seasons I've ever seen in Colorado."
On top of chanterelles, Little says this year's Feast of Hunters and Gatherers will feature local watercress, Colorado wild berries, and garnishes made out of wild greens growing at The GrowHaus.
"To get people on farms, to see where product is coming from, is really important," Little says. "Farm-to-table is no longer a trend— it's going to be a standard."
For more information about Harvest Week's other dinners, including the Hedonist's Guide To Tailgaiting, the Platte River Luau & Pig Roast, and the wine vs. beer pairing dinner Rocky Mountain Showdown: Grapes vs. Grains, visit eatdenver.com.