Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wellness Initiative

I was honored to cook at Doug and Carol Bollman's house to help raise money for the Wellness Initiative.  Their mission is to help improve the physical health, social and emotional development, and academic performance of low-income youth.  You really can't deny that's a good thing.
I cooked a five course dinner for 30 people at the Bollman's.  Everyone in attendance donated to the fund and we all had a great time.  My new friend Emily (and daughter of the Bollmans) and her entire class signed an apron for me.  They also stenciled in a fleur-de-lis in honor of my recent trip to New Orleans.  Awesome!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mardi Gras

It's no secret that I love and adore New Orleans.  Everything about the city is special:  the food, the music, the traditions, the people and the parties.
I was very honored to be invited to ride with the Krewe of Orpheus for this year's Mardi Gras.  Not only do they have an incredibly impressive lineup of floats, entertainment and energy, but this year none other than Sean Payton was the king!   Yes, I got to touch the Lombardi Trophy... barely.
It's impossible to explain what happens during Mardi Gras without being there.  All I can say is that you haven't lived until you've experienced a few days of this kind of party.  And for the people that think it's all boobs and beads, you're dead wrong.  Of course Bourbon Street has it's fair share of strip clubs and open bars, but the celebration is so much more than that.  There are families lined down St. Charles - cooking food, celebrating life and having more fun than most people do anywhere at any time.
A big thank you shout out to Joyce Godbold who helped arrange everything.  I'm very much looking forward to this year's New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, of which she is director.  I also can't thank the Monteleone Hotel enough for the hospitality and by far my favorite rooms in the big easy.  Then of course there are the people who make is so fun to visit:  Preston for just being you, Susan Spicer for another perfect meal, Donald Link for fattening me up with the best andouille and boudin anywhere, John Besh for continuing to raise the bar, Molly for being an amazingly good sport, Cafe du Monde for the beignets, and Preservation Hall for the jazz music...
my best shot of drew brees

says it all


the krewe

loading the float

dressed to impress?

just good fun

my new friends

canal street

can't explain even when you're there

disco robot

happy people

in the spirit

cures anything

jazz at it's finest

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paul Bartolotta is the man

I was in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl.  Yes, the Saints prevailed.  But that's old news.  The pictures below are all fresh fish that Chef Paul Bartolotta has flown in from Italian Mediterranean waters.  Every week.  In fact, multiple times per week.

If you ever find yourself in the Wynn hotel and are looking for something really special, make sure to dine at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare.  Not to take anything away from the fantastic spots he and his brother run in Milwaukee - but this place is certainly a gem.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Home

Just a few pictures to share from my last trip home to Taos, New Mexico.  I feel very blessed to have grown up in such an amazing place.  One of these days I hope to return, open a small restaurant, and spend my days skiing and exploring the enchanted wilderness that surrounds Taos...
bottom of kachina lift

west basin ridge

winston bumps

the view from yellowbird's land

dirt roads

road to tsv

the house i was born in

taos mountain

el salto

cliffs of el salto


Monday, February 1, 2010


What can I say?  I love the pig.  Bacon, prosciutto, ham, ribs, chops, tenderloin, sausage,.... the list goes on for miles.

I just took part in this year's "Taste of Elegance," a pork-centric celebration held in Denver each year.  About 12 chefs from in and around Denver are invited to make a dish using 40# of pork that are sent to them before the event. Five "judge-ready" full sized portions are made and then much smaller samples are handed out to about 300 attendees in a massive ballroom.   Not all cuts are available, but there are enough options to get pretty creative.
This year, everyone brought it.  Some of my favorite chefs around - Duy Pham, Michael Long, Elise Wiggins, Brian Hubner and a host of other local talent were present.  I was very impressed with the offerings and was definitely inspired with what I saw happening.  I did this event two years ago and things have certainly changed.  There were multiple circulators in operation, some liquid nitrogen being used, spherification, and a bunch of bad-ass pork dishes being assembled.  Denver cuisine is certainly keeping pace with the rest of the country.