Welcome back for the last time to the Table For Flood Relief series, where Eater interviews the guests chefs cooking at The Stanley Hotel's Great Roads To Great Chefs dinners. There has been a different chef for every dinner, with a roster of chefs from Denver, Boulder, and beyond.
The last Great Roads To Great Chefs weekend, April 18 and 19, will feature a duo of chefs from Dutch & Company in Richmond, Virginia: chef owners Caleb Shriver and Phillip Perrow. They're new to Colorado and excited to experience its flavors. Here Eater chats with them about continental spices and laser thermometer eyeballs.
How did you become a chef?
Caleb: Moms good cooking, really good mentors, hard work, an open mind, and a lot of discipline.
Phillip: I was first introduced to the restaurant world while washing dishes as a summer job before my senior year of high school. I loved the hands-on, physical, and creative aspects that cooking in a restaurant seemed to offer. I eventually landed at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, South Carolina. From there I made my way into the kitchen at Acacia Restaurant in Richmond where I cooked for Dale Reitzer. He was and still is a great mentor to me.
What cooking style are you the most passionate about?
Caleb: I come from a strong background of French technique, inspired by cuisines from all around the world, and at the restaurant we use as much product from our region as possible. All of that blends together to define my style.
Phillip: Like Caleb, I come from a mostly French style of cooking. And technique wise that's what I seem to revert to the most. But the more I am exposed to through reading and eating, the more I want explore in the kitchen. So it's hard for me to say that my passion lies with one specific style.
And how do you apply that cooking style at your current restaurant?Caleb: It is amazing how multiple cultures can share similar flavors continents away from each other. Spices are big for us in that manner, cumin for instance is so diverse, blended with chilis it can go from Oaxacan mole' to Middle Eastern harissa with just a few adjustments of other spices and ingredients. We map out flavor combinations in our heads and work hard to produce dishes with unique flavors and textures.
Phillip: I think the style application part of it just happens naturally. And it's an ever evolving process of past training combined with new paths to explore, and instinct. I think the instinct part is what creates those little nuances. It all starts with an idea that you cook your way through, tweaking here and there. And the end result is hopefully something new, yet familiar.
How would you describe Denver's (or Colorado's) food scene?
Caleb: I have not had the pleasure of spending a lot of time in Colorado, But I am looking forward to experiencing it all.
Phillip: The Colorado scene is very foreign to me. I don't seem to get out much these days. However, I do plan to change all of that once we arrive.
What restaurants in Colorado are you most looking forward to trying?
Phillip: I'll have to do a little research. I'm open to suggestions though.
Caleb: Agreed, we need to look into it.
You can have one food-related super power. What is it?
Caleb:This has become a very serious debate within our kitchen. For me it is a toss up between, xray laser thermometer eyeballs, hands that can morph into any kitchen utensil I need, or the ability to lay eggs.
Phillip: A serious debate indeed. I think I may stick with a more generic answer and have the ability to duplicate myself.
2014 will be the year of the...
Caleb: fast casual
Phillip: hot dog
So why cook at Great Roads To Great Chefs?
Caleb:The experience of meeting and cooking for new people while also being able to lend a hand to those in need.
Phillip: Food is amazing when it comes to bringing people together. This is definitely one of those instances. I very much am looking forward to making some new friends and to cook for some new faces.
What do you plan to make?
Caleb: We hope to showcase some Virginia products.
Phillip: Heirloom Virginia corn polenta milled by our bread providers at sub rosa bakery just down the street from us.
What will you do with the percentage of the dinner's proceeds that you get?
Caleb: Hopefully give it back to the community by eating at some restaurants in Colorado.
Phillip: Definitely eating while in town.
What are you most looking forward to about your stay at the Stanley Hotel?
Caleb: Being in the mountains and meeting some new faces.
Phillip: Meeting new people in an amazing setting.
[Photo courtesy richmond.com]
· Great Roads To Great Chefs [Official Website]
· Dutch & Company [EDC]
· Table For Flood Relief: Great Roads To Great Chefs [EDen]