Boulder is a serious food town where you can find everything from Colorado bison ragù to mule foot pork chops, local pecorino to real Venice-style gelato. I was there recently for the Chefs Collaborative Summit, a meeting of renowned chefs and like-minded professionals who are in the business of food—growing it, producing it, cooking it, selling it and writing about it. Many I spoke to told me that they have learned their trades from Italy’s artisans whose ancient food traditions have inspired them. Why that is, will be the subject of future articles, but here are some of the highlights of my visit, including a love story about two gelato producers who learned their art in the Veneto.
Strolling on Pearl Street…
A limber juggler with an amazing bag of tricks.
Papa and baby out for a spin in a vintage convertible.
Cured, a wine, cheese, cured meat and food specialty shop selling Colorado cheeses and salumi.
Trying to decide what to try first…
You want to take everything home from Cured. This pork item was one of my favorites, though not for sale.
Eating al fresco at SALT.
Clams in garlic broth with chorizo and beans.
Seared fresh water fish, on a bed of vegetables.
Frisée salad with roasted endive, bacon lardons.
SALT’s wood-fired oven, made in Modena, Emilia-Romagna
A warm welcome for Chefs Collaborative.
Hopping Pearl Street on a Saturday night.
Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit, 2014, was an important gathering of movers and shakers in the food industry to fix our broken food system—make it greener, more sustainable, more local and more cognizant of feeding ourselves without harming the planet. The changes begin with small farmers, ranchers, brewers, distillers, vintners, food artisans, cooks, chefs, and grocers all around the country. Colorado, a state that is a hotbed of small farmers, artisan food producers and culinary excellence was the ideal setting.
Chefs Collaborative Executive Director, Sara Brito.
A welcome from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper…
Governor John Hickenlooper, a “recovered” geologist and brewer, addressing Chefs Collaborative at the St. Julien Hotel, said he was committed to the vision of responsible and sustainable food practices.
Kim Severson, The New York Times Atlanta Bureau Chief, leads the panel discussions.
Left to right, Mel Coleman (Niman Ranch), Mo Siegel (founder, Celestial Seasonings), Anne Cure (Cure Organic Farm), Chef Hugo Mathieson (The Kitchen), with Kim Severson.
Mo Siegel, founder, Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, talking about the need to make food healthier, signs off with “Bye Bye Burger King!”
Chefs on a journey. Left to right, Sara Brito, Michael Leviton (chef/owner, Lumiere and Area Four, Boston); Evan Mallet (chef/co-owner, Black Trumpet Bistro and Joinery, Portsmouth, NH); Paul Fehribach (chef/owner, Big Jones, Chicago); Piper Davis (co-owner, Grand Central Bakery, Portland, OR); Matt Weingarten (executive chef, Sodexo, NYC); Kim Severson.
Dan Rosenthal (owner, Green, Chicago).
Nate Appleman, Culinary Manager, Chipotle (center), says the restaurant chain is committed to sustainability and environmentally sound practices. On left, Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey (owner, Frasca Food and Wine, and Pizzeria Locale, Boulder) right, Kimbal Musk (CEO, co-founder, The Kitchen Community, Boulder).
Woody Tasch (chairman/founder, Slow Money) giving Rocky Mountain Sustainer Award award to Hugo Mathieson and Kimbal Musk (The Kitchen, Boulder); Michel Nischan at left.
From left, Mel Coleman (Niman Ranch), Jesse Ziff Cool (chef/owner, Flea St. Cafe, San Francisco), Paul Willis (founder and manager, Niman Ranch).
The Zester Daily contingent, from left, me, Ruth Tobias (Denver), Corie Brown (Zester Daily founder and publisher, Los Angeles) and Louisa Kasdon (Let’s Talk About Food, CEO and founder, Cambridge)
And break-out sessions for hands-on workshops with producers and top chefs…
Shepherds and cheese makers, Jimmy Warren (left) and Chef Alex Seidel making sheep milk ricotta with milk from their dairy.
Chef Alex giving a gnocchi lesson that ended with a tasting of the pasta and his Colorado lamb ragù.
Their award-winning sheep cheese, Colorado Cacio Pecora.
The gathering was also about hospitality and generosity—nourishing ourselves body and soul with wholesome and delicious food that strengthens our connection with nature…
At left, Andrea Reusing (chef/owner, Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC), cooking up scrapple and grits for breakfast at the St. Julien Hotel, in view of the Flatirons.
Ari Rosenzweig (CEO and oo-founding partner, Zingerman’s, Ann Arbor, MI).
The next day, breakfast food truck rally…
Breakfast pork- and veg-out at food truck rally.
Better Green Eggs and Ham than the Ted Cruz version.
At Pastures of Plenty Organic Farm for a Colorado cowboy tradition: the campfire rendevouz to swap stories and refuel…
…featuring Colorado lamb and bison. At right, Pastures of Plenty co-owner, Lyle Davis.
Eating around the campfire.
On the Summit’s final day, Boulder and Denver chefs team up for a six-course menu focused on technique and the power of procurement at Chattaqua Park…
Local artisan salumi and Fruition Farm pecora cheese.
Chef Michel Nischan (CEO, founder, Wholesome Waves, Bridgeport, CT) with Justin Brunson (Executive Chef, owner, Old Major, Masterpiece Deli, Denver Bacon Co., Denver), at Chautauqua Park.
Chef Collaborative’s Alisha Fowler (Program Director) and Michael Leviton (Board Chair) tackling the fried rabbit course.
A taste of things to come at Chautauqua Park Green.
One more day and another meal before heading home, comfort food and a gelato high…
The Kitchen Next Door, on Pearl Street. The idea here is simple, simple, simple, using high quality and local ingredients.
Meatballs over polenta. It doesn’t get much more Italian than that.
Bangers and mash with kale, not Italian, so delicious!
Dessert (or breakfast, if you like)—genuine, small-batch artisan gelato made every day on Pearl Street. For the love story, continue reading here…
True small batch, hand-made gelato at Fior di Latte, Pearl Street.
The Boulder Flatirons at twilight.
All photos ©Nathan Hoyt/Forktales.
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