For the rest of the month, we continue to spread a different kind of love: the love for our local restaurants and chefs. Early February, 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 have then expressed gratitude for the friendship and generosity of chef Brian Laird. The chef of the upcoming Sarto's talked about his former sous chef, Darrell Truett of Barolo Grill, who shared his thoughts on Alex Seidel of Fruition. Seidel now passes along the love to Keegan Gerhard of D Bar.
I feel very fortunate and always gracious to be a member of Denver's and Colorado's food and beverage community. Thank you Darrel for the kind words. It has always been a pleasure working with you and it has been really awesome to watch your growth as a chef. It has also been an amazing 12 years in which I have seen Denver mature into a respected culinary community.
I have learned from Denver's original pioneers, chefs like Toshi [Kizaki of Sushi Den], Jamey [Fader of Lola], Frank [Bonanno of Bonanno Concepts], Goose [Sorensen of Solera], Tyler [Wiard of Elway's], Jen [Jasinski of Rioja] and Matty [Selby of Central Bistro + Bar]. I watch as they continue to evolve and elevate what they offer. It has been gratifying to see cooks under these pioneers become chefs in their own right, chefs like Justin [Brunson of Old Major], Darrel [Truett of Barolo Grill], Brandon [Biederman of Ace/Steuben's], Aniedra [Nichols of Elway's], and Carrie [Shore of Table 6]. Then we add the talents of chefs that have come from other cities: Jeff [Osaka of Twelve], Lon [Symensma of ChoLon], Max [MacKissock, formerly of the Squeaky Bean], Paul [Reilly of Beast + Bottle], Troy [Guard of TAG], Steve [Redzikowski of Acorn], Keegan [Gerhard of D Bar] and so many others that make up this network of individuals whom I respect and whom I am thankful for.
Keegan Gerhard is one of those chefs that I am especially in awe of. I have cooked side-by-side with Keegan at numerous events throughout our time in Denver. I always find myself drawn to talking with him about food and technique. While I have cooked alongside many chefs in Denver, I actually have spent the most time cooking with Keegan. He was beyond gracious to allow me and Matt Vawter to invade his kitchen in San Diego and cook alongside him and the backbone of D-Bar, Lisa Bailey. We had talked prior to me going there about what we wanted to practice and work on. We had a plan for four days in the kitchen, things that I wanted to pick his brain about. I believe he was as excited as I was to test these recipes. It was evident in the fact that he had purchased copper molds and bees wax for a recipe that I wanted to test. Keegan has always been an invaluable resource for me to answer questions and he has given me advice on numerous occasions.
Not many chefs have experienced what he has throughout his career. I have witnessed first-hand how that experience has shaped him as a business man, chef, mentor, spouse, and colleague. He is dedicated to his craft and he is dedicated to the people that he surrounds himself with. I commend the fact that he is so willing to share his experiences with me. I am forever grateful for the time that he has taken to share his knowledge, display his hospitality, and support me as a friend. Thank you Keegan, I love you man!
Every day, the recipient of the praises will have a chance to pass the love around. Come back tomorrow to hear what chef Gerhard 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]
· Karin Lawler of the Truffle Table on Brian Laird of Sarto's [EDen]
· Brian Laird of the Upcoming Sarto's on Darrel Truett of Barolo Grill [EDen]
Keegan Gerhard [Photo: Yellow Scene]