Welcome back to the Table For Flood Relief series, 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.
[Photo courtesy Alec Schuler]
Next up is Alec Schuler the chef/proprietor at Boulder's Arugula & Tangerine restaurants. The restauranteur is passionate about Italian cooking, and his kids. He'll be preparing six Italian-inspired courses paired with Italian wines at his upcoming Great Roads To Great Chefs weekend this Friday and Saturday, February 7 and 8. Click here for tickets and details.
How did you become a chef? At age 27, with eight years front-of-house experience in the industry, I decided I want to open my own restaurant. I entered culinary school having always greatly enjoyed good food, and it was the best fit for me at that stage in life.
What cooking style are you the most passionate about? Northern Italian— my favorite place to eat of the 30+ countries I've traveled.
And how do you apply that cooking style at your current restaurant? Arugula is my interpretation of Italian cuisine. Tangerine is American format breakfast, brunch, and lunch that has many Italian and Mediterranean influences.
How would you describe Denver's (or Colorado's) food scene? Colorado is a melting pot of peoples from all over the nation. These are people who struck out on their own to live here. So many good restaurants, each with its own personality, usually those of the founders.
What restaurants in Colorado are you most looking forward to trying? Honestly I only eat out in Boulder, as I have two young kids and two businesses. And I happily frequent many eateries in Boulder. So I guess what most excites me in the prospect of a Tangerine Two!
You can have one food-related super power. What is it? Convince people to eat light on starch and refined products. And mostly eat veggies, fruits and plenty of good fats. I have been eating this way for more than years and I feel the best, energetically, I have in my life.
2014 will be the year of the... paleo diet...?
So why cook at Great Roads To Great Chefs? It's a fundraiser for people and projects that really need it right now. I enjoy cooking prix fix meals for small groups— it's the best way to showcase my profession. Plus a weekend in the mountains, I couldn't refuse.
What do you plan to make? A six-course Italian-inspired meal paired with Italian wine, featuring many Colorado products. I have not made the menu yet, so the ingredients are still TBD.
What will you do with the percentage of the dinner's proceeds that you get? It's for my kids... My wife in pregnant with twins, so God willing we will have four kids in May 2014!
What are you most looking forward to about your stay at the Stanley Hotel? Meeting and connecting with new people.