I’m a guy who has made his life in the food world by unusual means, I don’t always get the opportunity to spend time in traditional kitchens. When you are in a business that requires you to seek consistent, well organized plan of attacks, you are going into a battle, not armed with weapons of force and steel, but with heat and flavors to win over your critical foe.
I had the chance to join up with some peers and was asked to be the photographer and videographer of a fundraising event that took place at the now closed Six89 main restaurant which was a Chef Mark Fischer concept in Carbondale, Colorado.
These events are always a ton of fun to be involved with. If you have never been to a James Beard event or a Slow Food event, you are missing out on something special.Each one of the organizations do amazing things for the food world.
The James Beard Foundation’s mission: ” is to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and future”, from the James Beard Foundation website. In the food world, to receive a James Beard award is like winning an Oscar.
Slow Food’s mission: Slow Food works to defend biodiversity in our food supply, spread taste education and connect producers of excellent foods with co-producers through events and initiatives. This is world changing stuff.
As a guest, you get the chance to sample a selection of different dishes prepared by a number of different chefs who took time away from their own restaurant to be involved. 99% of the time, the Chef will be there cooking and not sending his or her minions, which is always a good thing.
As chefs, we get the chance to create something special, unique and inventive at these events. Not only to wow the guest but to throw down some culinary ego just to get favorable response from our peers. Sure, we all go in there with 100% good intentions but no one will show up with that “caesar salad” the restaurant got famous for. That would be just stupid. We have a chance to work with and not just sit and bullshit with, other great chefs and try to WOW them with a cool new idea or a inventive presentation. Yes we are a territorial lot, bitches.
I love these events and have been involved with many of them. I find them inspiring and a chance to get to know other ‘like kinds’ with a purpose.
I made this short video to share the teamwork of a working kitchen during a plating of one of the dishes. Just take note that this is the first time that many of these chefs have ever worked together. Watch the rhythm of how they assemble the plate and the focus and joy everyone of them is experiencing. Enjoy this and please leave your comments. Please be sure to follow this blog and share it with your friends.
(I know I have forgotten to mention a number of people in this video to this list, Please contact me and I will add you and your links to this blog.)
Here is a quick recipe for the dinner I just made, Super easy and delicious:
Cannellini bean and roasted chicken
1 Roasted chicken, either your own or a store bought one, 1/2 shredded other half saved for an other time.
1 can Organic Cannellini Beans, drained
1/2 Red onion diced
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped smoked bacon
1 broccoli florets sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper
In a med saute pan on med heat. when pan is warm add bacon, stir and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is almost cooked
Add red onion to bacon and cook until onions are tender.
Add chicken and garlic, saute for 3 minutes.
Add broccoli and toss and sauté with bacon and chicken and stuff.
Add beans, stock and oregano, turn heat down a touch and cook until beans are hot. (if needed, add more stock to keep moisture)
Taste and season to your taste, remember that there is bacon in there so be light handed with the salt, unless you love lots of salt.
Serve in bowls and top with parmesan
Serve with french bread if you like.
Great food can be simple and quick, just remember, texture, flavor and balance.
The Food Network, Art Culinaire, Top Chef, GMA, Food arts and any other food porn merchants are guilty of creating a movement that has become an epidemic, that being the advent of the “Foodie”.
According to Wikipedia, a foodie is defined as;
‘Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news. Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.‘
This is great….great to a point. What this movement has done, is upped the level in quality of food that restaurants and chef should live up to. The food today is miles ahead of what I grew up with. I came for a upper middle class family or a lower high class family…that’s still to be determined, but we did have the opportunity to go out to dinner at “nice” restaurants, a ‘wear a tie’ kind of place. One of my dads favorite places was called something that a French orthographist could only pronounce and we had to be on our very best behavior. I have to admit, I wish that attitude was sill a mainstay for todays diners and restaurant patrons.
What made that meal, was not the greens, grown in dirt flown in from the south of France that was walked on by five notable movie stars… it was food we never ate at home.
That was then, the 70’s. This is the 2000’s now! We evolve just like Darwin said, We turned into pretentious, whinny know it alls, with a bit too much information and not really knowing what to do with it. I introduce to you the “Gastropunk”
Gastropunk: A person or individual that can only enjoy food or beverages that has a heightened popularity e.g. White Truffle, Salume, ‘water’ of any fruit of vegetable, chemical anything. interestingly enough, they also maintain arrogance in the charm of “street food” that the mainstream would not be aware of. Also maintain a unachievable level of satisfaction of purveyors.
Here are some examples of when it ok to call out a so called gatropunk and when to compliment them on a attitude done well. (these are all examples of real comments that I have heard, witnessed or overheard)
“I’m sorry, I don’t eat that, I’m allergic to soup”- Punch worthy (PW)
“I only eat black pasta, it taste better”- PW
“Why would you pour me this, Pink champagne is shit”-PW
“Good food doesn’t have to be fancy” -Well Done (WD)
“The chef worked with Mario, you know he must be good” PW
“The Sea Bass taste a little fishy” PW
“I have eaten here before, before it became so popular, it’s a shame” PW
“I hate tomatoes, but I like them cooked” PW
“this place is nothing like …….” PW
“So I saw on the food network that this is ‘THE’ place to go”
“I don’t want to eat there, I’ve never heard of it” PW
“This is amazing” WD
“you know, This really wasn’t very good, can I talk with the chef?” WD
The last one is truly well done, Any chef/restaurant wants to hear how to improve on what they are doing or more importantly, be aware of any problems. This is where a true foodie is really doing their part. Not in being snobbish because they have a tiny bit of information but bring a knowledge that they are aware of what’s right and accepting that creating food is an art form with a million different variables that need to be addressed. That’s what we love.
So, I would love to have you comment with foodie experiences that you may of had or would like to share. Comment below and share with your friends.
A few years ago, when the market turned sour and the recession started to take root, I thought I had it all figured out. At the time, I was living in Aspen, Colorado. I thought that all these world troubles would pass by quickly…. I believed “Hey, these people are smart, they’re not rich because they’re lucky. Aspen will be the last to be hit and the first to recover. That was four years ago.
During the interim, I felt it would be a public service to make some cooking videos that focused on cooking cheap. I have to admit they are pretty good, I am pleased about that. I called the series ‘Recession Cooking”, creative I know. But the content is solid.
Here is one that I made that shows you how to make a delicious curry for a couple of people for under 6 bucks. This is a link to my YouTube channel just until I get a video player on the site.
I hope you enjoy it, feel free to share it with your friends
Let’s see, how can I sum up this weekend? I’m exhausted, pleased to be a bit hungover, inspired and feeling like I am on the right track.
So here is the dealeo, I was involved in a fundraising event that took place in Vail, called Love Hope Strength- Vail Rocks. It was billed as a hike up Vail mountain, music celebrities, lunch and impromptu concerts. Ok, sounds good, but I was a bit skeptical. I have been involved in the past with a number of events that promised all kinds of things and when you’re actually there, it turns into a, us and them situation with private events for the “celebrities”, ten minutes of entertainment, a boxed lunch and a hike that is more like a scenic overlook off a highway.
NOT THIS ONE BABY! First of all, the event was organized and ran like a pro. It could of been for a 100 people or 10,000 people without missing a beat. Well done Shannon Foley Henn and crew!
The hike in short, kicked our asses, it was the real deal! Steep, long, difficult and beautiful. I would give you a time on how long it took us to summit, but I can’t, because of the amazing musicians playing sets halfway up the mountain.
Here is Brett Dennen and I, if you don’t know this dude, hit this link. To be honest, I didn’t have a clue and I have been missing out. This guy is a very talented song writer with an amazing singing style. I am now a big fan! Plus, he’s a Persol Fan, what’s not to like…
Then, The musical rock of Love Hope Strength is Cy Curnin of The Fixx. I have had the pleasure to get to know this guy, I like him a lot. Truth be told, any rocker wearing a kilt on a hike you know will be a friend of mine.
Then on top, a great lunch and the musical stylings of G. Love and Miles Zuniga of Fastball. Despite the rain, god know we need it, Garret and Miles were amazing as well, no one was complaining about being wet.
The best part is these musicians didn’t pussy out. They weathered the weather, hiked the shit out of that mountain and played liked they cared. Good on them
All of this happened before noon. Our day has just begun.
So, my beautiful bride to be Serena, Ryan Sutter of The Bachelor fame, James Chippendale, founder of LJS and I decided to hike back down the mountain instead of taking “ganja-la” down . Best idea ever. See, we went the extra mile for cancer bitches!
We hit the bottom of the hill in about an hour or so. Beat up and exhausted, we needed to get ready for the closing event that was happening in 2 hours. Serena and I headed back to home base to get ready. A 1 hour nap and my purple jeans ready to go dancing , we head out.
Not knowing what to expect- I wasn’t expecting what we walked into. LHS had a full on festival staging in the town center right outside of the Solaris Hotel with food provided by the Hard Rock, some very dangerous tea vodka company forcing me to drink this lemonade tea drink of trouble…(I will link you up to it when I remember the brands name. I am sure my brain and body are both intentionally forgetting that delicious evil beverage on purpose). The place, the venue and the look was ‘big time’..
An hour and half concert with the amazing kids of School Of Rock Denver, kicking ass and taking prisoners, then backing up Cy, Brett, G. Love and Miles, flawlessly. All I can say is “Man…Where was this program when I was a kid”.
All in all, This is how any non-profit should operate, no ego’s (well maybe a touch), professional, with focus. More importantly, LHS is an organization built on the joy of helping and getting results; Not pulling on my heart-strings and guilt trips.
Good going Love Hope Strength. You have set the bar. Glenn
Summer is in full swing and the Farmers markets are out on every street. THANK GOD! I could not be more happy to see all the great locally* grown produce filling the streets. *I have noticed that some of the purveyors are selling items with inventory stickers, I call bullshit on that noise.
With that aside, It’s good to see framers markets with farmers participating. The produce in in full glory, the booths are full and we are knee-high in green beans! Yea…
But there is a dark side. For the first half of this year, I have seen more communities hosting Farmers Markets with the hope of cashing in on the baby stroller, latte drinking, golden retriever demographic by promoting the quaintness of choosing their own organic produce and doing the world a favor by not buying at Safeway, because you know their commies! Early in the year, all that these markets are selling is art, caramel and jewelry! That’s not farmed. It kills me.
In the Spring I was at a “market” and found NOTHING to eat. I found a caner to fix a chair I have but I don’t think he was a farmer. This, I believe is false and misleading. I feel that a spade should be called a spade. It’s a craft fair not a farmers market. These wonderful weekly events have become another outdoor mall and the promotors should be ashamed of themselves.
I am not against any person creating something wonderful or beautiful or useful, I’m against be mislead. How many time have you been to a talk or seminar of something that you find very interesting but halfway into it, they start selling you something. Doesn’t that piss you off? Well it should.
As a chef, It is important to use the best ingredients possible, as well for the best price available, hence the love for any Food market. That is what makes cooking even more joyful. Know that the tomato and the corn you are eating came for someone you met at a farm nearby. Everything tastes that much better, don’t you think?
So if you are craving a sculpture or a shiny bobble on your Sunday morning outing, please purchase away, I will wait until I see greens and dirt before I will venture out in any market.
I was asked by Meghan Buchanan, a friend of my beautiful bride to be Serena, if I would be interested in cooking for a private fundraiser in Vail. The event is in aide of an organization that they are both very passionate about, Love Hope Strength. LHS works hard on fighting cancer through Rock and Roll. Here is the link; http://lovehopestrength.org.
Of course I said yes. In addition, she mentioned that Cy Curnin would also be doing a private acoustic show. For those of you who may not recognize his name, I can assure you that you know his music. He is the brilliant yet quirky lead singer and song writer for the band, The Fixx. Much of their music is now part of our fabric, our culture and the anthems of the 80’s, in a good way, not the cheesy Flock of Seagulls way. Who doesn’t sing along with Red Skies at Night or One Thing Leads to Another?
This was a very exclusive opportunity to see this level of entertainment, both musically (and gastronomically) in such an intimate setting. There were only 30 tickets available and it sold out faster than a stoner eating pizza.Cy and I had the pleasure of hanging out all afternoon and when the guest arrived, we both went to work.
Fast forward, all of the guests, full stomachs and a ton of wine each allotment in to it, a good time was had by all.
Here is the best part for me, Cy and I both realized that neither one of us had eaten a thing. So we bartered. I would make him exactly what he wanted to eat and I would get a private show in the kitchen in return. Out comes the guitar and out comes my knives and a cutting board. He strummed right next to me in the kitchen, next the stove, all the songs that I knew by heart. It all came rushing back to me, singing out loud in 1981 in my 1979 ford f150 with my friends, with more hair product in our hair then our girlfriends owned.
I was there, cooking up a shrimp stir-fry with brown rice and to my surprise, he was as taken by my ease of cooking as I was with his ease of singing. This is a wonderful feeling. Sometimes, we can get a little lost in our own world, we forget that food, music, painting, even accounting are all individual, personal talents that others admire.
I always look forward to doing these kinds of events because you never know what to expect nor who may make an impression on me.
If any of you are interested, there will be a killer fun event happening July 14th in Vail for Love Hope Strength. It is a hike with live shows all the way up the mountain with a party afterwards. Both Cy and I, not cyanide, will be there.
Here is the link to the Vail event and how you can take part. Vail Rock with G. Love Brett Dennen, Miles Zuniga, Cy Curnin, and School of Rock
Looking forward to seeing all of you.