The Table For Flood Relief series continues, where Eater interviews the guests chefs slated to cook at The Stanley Hotel's Great Roads To Great Chefs dinners. There is a different chef for every dinner, with a roster of chefs from Denver, Boulder, and beyond.
Coming up this weekend, Great Roads To Great Chefs will host its first out-of-state chef, Geoff Rhyne, the chef de cuisine of The Ordinary in Charleston, South Carolina. The chef sat down with Eater and talked about his seafood-centric restaurant (and accordingly seafood-centric dinner at The Stanley) and his Southern roots. To purchase tickets to Rhyne's dinner this weekend February 28 through March 1, click here.
How did you become a chef? Kind of by default. I originally planned to play baseball in college and figure it out from there, but me and my coach never got on the same page. I transferred schools and essentially, just needed a job. Restaurants fit into my school schedule so I started working in one and found a niche.
What cooking style are you the most passionate about? I love Mediterranean Coastal Cuisine from Italy and France as well as southern food. Really, anybody from the South loves the food they grew up with— more than any other region, we share our identity with our food. I would argue our history and relationship with food has stronger binds than any other region in the United States.
And how do you apply that cooking style at your current restaurant? We are a seafood-centric restaurant, so I believe my style fits fairly naturally within the vision of the restaurant. We don't necessarily confine ourselves to a specific type of cuisine, but we obsess over product and technique.
How would you describe Denver's (or Colorado's) food scene? I'm not too familiar with the scene as I've only been to Denver once previously. However, there are certainly some cool spots in the Denver/Boulder area. I enjoyed Colt & Gray and my experience at SALT in Boulder.
What restaurants in Colorado are you most looking forward to trying? Both Frasca and Bistro Vendome are places I'd seek out, but I also like to find the small places the locals go where it's just a couple of hard working cooks putting out delicious, thoughtful food... Where do I go for that?!
You can have one food-related super power. What is it? To capture every ingredient right when it is at it's optimum. The fish right out of the water, the tomato perfectly off the vine, the pasta, handcrafted and cooked with a deft touch.
2014 will be the year of the... throwback. We have this ongoing wave of folks returning to the roots of cooking and product, and I dig it. I read something recently from Marc Vetri about making an old pasta machine glorified instead of a sous vide machine. That's legit; it's truth. I don't want to knock the arena of formal dining, but I'm a dude. I like knives and old world machinery, farmers and craftsmen. In Charleston, I love places like the Fish Net and Tomato Shed Cafe. Not a whole lot of frills, but you can feel the honesty of the place when you walk in. That's my speed. Hopefully this wave of butcher shops and markets continues to progress.
So why cook at Great Roads To Great Chefs? To bring awareness and a spotlight on an area that was greatly impacted by the floods this past summer. That in it of itself is important. If me cooking a dinner helps, I'm all about it.
What do you plan to make? I love applying nose-to-tail mentality towards fish, so I expect to have some cheeks and bellies on the menu. Scallops and uni are both in season right now as well. Technique-wise, I love the classic en papillote, so that will be featured for sure.
What will you do with the percentage of the dinner's proceeds that you get? My wife and I are expecting our first child in June and couldn't be more excited. That being said, proceeds will likely go towards the little one.
What are you most looking forward to about your stay at the Stanley Hotel? Just checking out the history of the place is exciting...but keep the ghost stuff away. Not a fan.
[Photo courtesy Geoff Rhyne]
· Great Roads To Great Chefs [Official Website]
· The Ordinary [ECharleston]
· Table For Flood Relief: Great Roads To Great Chefs [EDen]
· Drew Hardin on Colorado's Supportive Chefs and Stopping Time [EDen]
· all Table For Flood Relief posts [EDen]