This Valentine's Day, we continue to spread a different kind of love: the love for our local restaurants and chefs. Last week, restaurant critic Stacey Brugeman of 5280 Magazine launched the month-long pay-it-forward love series with praises for chef Mary Nguyen and her new café, Olive & Finch. Nguyen passed along some love to Mark Dym of Marco's Coal Fired Pizza who praised chef Troy Guard's TAGm who, in turn, shared his love for chef Jeff Osaka of Twelve. Osaka shared his love for Beast + Bottle, Paul Reilly talked up Bob Blair of Fuel Cafe who wrote a heartfelt note about Potager's Teri Rippeto. The chef and owner of the 17 year old Cap Hill restaurant continued the series with praises for Rob and Karin Lawler of the Truffle Cheese Shop and the Truffle Table who are now expressing their gratitude for the friendship and generosity of chef Brian Laird.
Brian Laird is the only other chef, besides my incredible husband, Rob Lawler, who has brought me memorable food experiences. When he was at Barolo Grill, he would create the most remarkable sandwiches, risottos and pastas and hand deliver them to us at The Truffle Cheese Shop. Often, too, there would be enormous, white truffles in his pockets that he would generously shave onto whatever it was he created. More than just a great cook, Brian is a generous friend. He is the first person we call when we are looking for a plumber, designer, linen company, line cook or anyone else. He knows everyone! Brian will stop in the cheese shop for some Dutch Stroopwaffles and Piedmontese cheeses as often as he sits at our bar at The Truffle Table for a coffee or glass of wine. He truly is a renaissance man- able to intelligently discuss wines from around the world, food trends as well as classic techniques all while wearing a fresh tan from surfing somewhere exotic. We are just as likely to see Brian at one of the hot new restaurants in Denver as we see him at El Tacos de Mexico having a burrito. He loves his family, his friends and his community. We are so excited for Sartos to open so we can taste his food again. This idea of 'spreading the love' in Denver's restaurant community is something everyone within the restaurant community does daily. Brian Laird makes the rounds with every new restaurant, established restaurant and food market. He doesn't just walk in the front door; he has access to the kitchen door, where he knows every line cook, dishwasher and chef. Denver is lucky to have Brian as part of its restaurant community and Rob and I are grateful to call Brian a friend.
Every day, the recipient of the praises will have a chance to pass the love around. Come back next week to hear what chef Laird is obsessing over this month.
· February Love: Restaurant Critic Stacey Brugeman on Olive & Finch [EDen]
· Chef Mary Nguyen on Marco's Coal Fired Pizza [EDen]
· February Is For Lovers: Chef Mark Dym on TAG [EDen]
· Chef Troy Guard on Twelve Restaurant and Jeff Osaka [EDen]
· February Is For Lovers: Chef Jeff Osaka on Beast +Bottle [EDen]
· Paul Reilly of Beast + Bottle on Fuel Cafe's Bob Blair [EDen]
· Bob Blair of Fuel Cafe on Potager's Chef and Owner Teri Rippeto [EDen]
· Potager's Teri Rippeto on Rob and Karin Lawler of the Truffle [EDen]
· The Mammoth Guide to Valentine's Day: 56 Ways To Celebrate [EDen]
· Happy Hour Heatmap: Where To Get The Best Deals [EDen]
Brian Laird [Photo: James Beard Foundation]