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Table For Flood Relief: Ari Kolender Loves Robata Bars

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.

Pic-1-from-Star-Chefs2.jpg[Photo courtesy The Stanley Hotel]

This weekend's sold-out dinners on April 11 and 12 will be presented by Ari Kolender who comes to Colorado from Charleston, South Carolina where he is the consulting chef for Neighbourhood restaurant at their new project Leon's. The young chef is new to Colorado, and looking forward to dining out in Boulder.

How did you become a chef? I have been in the kitchen since I was a child. I love cooking for people and the experience that food cultivates. I see a dinner table as a place to learn and share through food and wine. When I was 20, my plan was to get serious and move to Los Angeles with some friends, where I would attend culinary school. They all eventually backed out, so I packed up and moved to L.A. by myself. I didn't know anybody— I just knew this path would lead to great things.

What cooking style are you the most passionate about? I love the use of a Japanese charcoal grills. Robata bars are some of my favorite places to eat. Simple clean flavors, and lots of vegetables.

And how do you apply that cooking style at your current restaurant? At Leon's we will be charring everything from radicchio to oysters.

How would you describe Denver's (or Colorado's) food scene? I do not know enough about the Colorado scene to evaluate it. I am looking forward to checking it out though. I have plans to hang around Boulder for a bit after the Great Roads To Great Chefs weekend.

What restaurants in Colorado are you most looking forward to trying? Pizzeria Basta!

You can have one food-related super power. What is it? The power to move things with my mind. Imagine the multitasking possibilities...

2014 will be the year of the... Jewish appetizer store. All hail Russ & Daughters.

So why cook at Great Roads To Great Chefs? I think Great Roads to Great Chefs is an excellent relief program for the area. This idea is a new way of thinking and a great opportunity for young chefs. I hope this concept will catch on and allow [others] the chance to showcase their passion.

What do you plan to make? My menu will be a nod to Japanese cuisine. Lots of seafood (think sea urchin), and yes there will be wagyu beef.

What will you do with the percentage of the dinner's proceeds that you get? My proceeds will go to travel. My brother and I are planning a trip to southeast Asia and hopefully Israel.

What are you most looking forward to about your stay at the Stanley Hotel? I want to do some hiking and play some golf over the weekend. All work and no play makes Ari a dull boy.

· Great Roads To Great Chefs [Official Website]
· Table For Flood Relief: Great Roads To Great Chefs [EDen]
· All Table For Flood Relief Coverage [EDen]