Local Chefs: 7 Newcomers

Published on: October 26th, 2017

Yellow Scene sat down to talk to a few of the newest, most innovative chefs in BoCo. These chefs are in the kitchens, in the wilds, and in the community, keeping Boulder a foodie paradise. From on-site herb gardens to taking health conscious kitchens to new levels, these chefs are doing exciting things and making mouth-watering meals.

Kevin Kidd, 24 Carrot Bistro

Nestled among a series of historic buildings in the heart of downtown Erie, tucked away on dusty Briggs St., 24 Carrot Bistro has given Executive Chef Kevin Kidd a space to deliver some of the area’s best seasonal New American cuisine.

“I was in the restaurant business, mostly fine dining, for 15 years straight. I opened Salt with Bradford Heap and after three years of doing that I just needed to step away and do the corporate thing for a while,” Kidd said. “I opened Alfalfa’s in Louisville and that was fun, but being a chef and working in a restaurant and working hands-on with the food and the customers, i’s just a pas- sion that while I had gotten burned out after two years, I was eager to jump back into it.”

24 Carrot’s origins are rooted more in tim- ing and happenstance than anything else. Kidd and Bianca Retzloff, his business partner, decided on a whim to check out a vacant storefront.

“We kind of came through here as just something to do on a Sunday. We weren’t really serious and the landlord who showed us the place was super passionate and really excited about the prospect of having a young chef like myself and my business partner come in,” Kidd explained. “After a week or two of this guy coming after us and really wanting to know if we were serious or not, we looked at each and said, ‘Why don’t we give this a shot?’ The stars aligned and everything came together.”

The teamwork between Kidd and Retzloff is part of what makes 24 Carrot Bistro so successful. The joy and passion they have accentuate the restaurant’s charming environment and scrumptious food, making 24 Carrot an unparalleled treasure in Erie.

YS: What is your most popular dish?chef-kevin-kidd-24-carrot-bistro
Kidd: I’d say the duck and the lamb right now are two of our most popular dishes. I’d probably
trend toward the duck.

YS: What is your most used ingredient?
Kidd: We keep a list of stuff that we are utilizing the most of. I would say right now, peaches, peppers,
green beans and tomatoes.

YS: What is your favorite food?
Kidd: I’d say lamb. If I were to have a last meal and I’d have somebody cook something for me it
would definitely be roast lamb with fresh vegetables.

YS: What are your top credentials and accolades as a chef in the area?
Kidd: Obviously Yellow Scene’s Best of the West was great especially since it was right out of the gate.
Our goal was to win Boulder Weekly’s best new restaurant and we did it.

YS: Who are your biggest mentors?
Kidd: I can’t say it to anybody besides Bradford Heap. I worked for him for over 12 years. We did
four restaurants together.

Dan Flores, Lunada Eatery and Cantina

When Chef Dan Flores had to relocate to his restaurant, Lunada, to a different location in 2013, he chose to view it as a positive transformation and an opportunity to evolve. “The older location was smaller. It was a great stepping stone and it was perfect for us for the beginning,” Flores said.

Lunada’s new home on Arapahoe Road in Lafayette has provided Flores with new resources to expand his restaurant’s repertoire of delectable Southwestern Mexican dishes. A bigger outdoor space with a herb garden, a larger kitchen suitable to include options for catering, and a grill out back are just a few of the many perks that the new spot has working in its favor, allowing Flores to continue cooking food that reflects his passions and care for his customers.

“I have been in restaurants pretty much my whole life. I was a single dad when I was younger so I had to go back and do construction but my dream was always to have my own restaurant and get my point across of what I believe food should be, which is making everything in house so that people eat good,” Flores said.

YS: What is your most popular dish? chef-dan-flores-lunada
Flores: Our best selling appetizer is the guacamole and then our best selling entree is the smothered
pork burrito.
YS: What is your most used ingredient?
Flores: I would say the ingredient that gets utilized and gets moved around a lot in different places
would be the chipotle pepper.
YS: What is your favorite food?
Flores: I really like grilled styled food. I love grilled steak, grilled burgers, grilled chicken breast,
grilled vegetables especially if you use real wood for grilling.
YS: What are your top credentials and accolades as a chef in the area?
Flores: Well, I have my own restaurant. I’ve had food industry experience from fast food to fast casual
to pizza to fine dining to Lone Star Steakhouse.
YS: Who are your biggest mentors?
Flores: The biggest is my mom. We didn’t grow up very rich or anything, but she’d always
bring a nice spread of good food with a good variety.

Iva Paleckova, Blooming Beet

In the Boulder area , phrases like “organic,” “locally sourced,” and “all-natural” have become about as ubiquitous as whimsical fast food taglines. Many assume these designations automatically imply quality, nutritious food. But it’s a misconception that Chef Iva Paleckova realized before opening her restaurant, Blooming Beets, in 2014.

“There wasn’t a single restaurant in Boulder where I felt a hundred percent comfortable eating at. It’s one of those things where you clean up your diet, you figure what works for you, and then you go out and find out that even the restaurants where you would think you would get good high quality stuff, you actually don’t,” Paleckova said.
She’s talking about trendy farm-to-table restaurants that pride themselves on using high quality ingredients yet cook in harmful canola oil. After she realized the restaurants that claimed to have sustainable cooking techniques were in fact taking unhealthy shortcuts, Paleckova made it her goal to open a restaurant true to these healthy ideals. To fulfill these objectives, Paleckova de- signed a completely gluten-free, grain-free, GMO-free, processed sugar-free and processed seed oil-free, Paleo-friendly menu.

With no other restaurants in the surrounding area catering to the hardcore-paleo demographic, she realized it was essential to open a new kind of restaurant. For Paleckova, Blooming Beets is a tool and avenue to provide people with the awareness on what healthy eating actually means and just happy how it can make you

YS: What is your most popular dish?Kim - evt-beets
Paleckova: I would say the brussel sprouts, probably. They are fresh fried in a hundred percent avocado oil, tossed in apple cider reduction, and with a little bit of apple.

YS: What is your most used ingredient?
Paleckova: We use a lot of nuts just because we don’t use any flour or sugar.

YS: What is your favorite food?
Paleckova: I like our chorizo wrap. That’s what I eat almost every time I come here.

YS: What are your top credentials and accolades as a chef in the area?
Paleckova: I have no credentials whatsoever. I’m not a chef by education. I didn’t go to culinary school. I didn’t get trained by anybody out there. I literally am just doing what I’m passionate about.

YS: Who are your biggest mentors?
Paleckova: I’ve done a lot of personal growth with Landmark and Hoffman, some of my teachers from those two institutions.

Daniel Asher, River and Woods

An early life surrounded by food made with love was the primary inspiration for Daniel Asher, head chef and partner at River Woods, in Boulder, to create his “community sourced cuisine” model. Unlike other restaurants, River and Woods invites guests to submit their family recipes to the restaurant, which Asher then reinterprets.

“Food is a universal language that transcends all human boundaries. Everything that divides us is shattered through what we eat together as a planetary community,” Asher explained. “The bottom line is whether it’s being rooted in trauma or rooted in joy, food connects with some form of happiness, on some level, and those are the moments that define who we are as we get older and through our adulthood. I think those recipes and those memories that people have are beautiful to share and connect with.”

Asher’s cooking and menus capture more than just his own preferences; they seek to blend his own taste with the flavors favored by others, and thereby create a hybrid that is greater than the sum of its parts. “Being a chef is not about ego, it’s not about educating people on my perspective and philosophy of what food is supposed to be. It’s a role of humility. It’s a role of being in service to others that are hungry and are seek- ing something so that they feel full,” Asher said. “I look at feeding people as not just providing a physical experience of fullness. I look at it as bringing someone in and letting them leave our restaurant feeling more satisfied on multiple levels beyond just satiating hunger and thirst.”

YS: What is your most popular dish?IMG_3833
Asher: I think the short rib has become extremely popular.

YS: What is your most used ingredient?
Asher: I think the seasonality and the hyper locality farmers is what really defines the majority of the menu experience. Corn is coming out now, peaches, green beans, cherries, heirloom tomatoes are completely blowing my mind right now.

YS: What is your favorite food?
Asher: Right now in this moment Colorado goat cheese and Colorado peaches. That is the culinary heroin right there.

YS: What are your top credentials and accolades as a chef in the area?
Asher: I started a catering company when I was 26 years old. At a very young age I was working with a lot of small natural foods companies that today have become huge and very well regarded.

YS: Who are your biggest mentors?
Asher: I would say my parents in many ways because they created an environment for my sister and I growing up definitely immersed in a culture of food bringing together family.

Doug Woodward, Community

Chef Doug Woodward’s tenure at Community, in Lafayette, began, quite literally, at the restaurant’s ground zero. “I was working in Boulder and met a chef. He reached out to me about the opening of this place. I helped epoxy these floors, do the bath- rooms, paint, do the staining. I was here from day one doing everything,” Woodward explained.

Woodward started as a sous chef before taking over as head chef after just three weeks. His goal was simple and clear: to deliver an exemplary selection of rotating menu items. Freshness, variety and surprising choices are just a few of the things that Wood- ward strives for in his oft-changing menu.

“Since the owner put me as the head chef, I’ve dropped two lunch menus, a brunch menu, and three dinner menus,” Woodward said. “We’ve come a long way. We used to do eight specials a week. We’ve done a lot here. It’s been a long road. I’ve put a lot into this place so it’s been nice and the food’s come a long way. This is the best menu yet and I’m really happy with it.”

YS: What is your most popular dish?pcchrisbjorkchefdoug
Woodward: I’d say probably number one seller has always been brussel sprouts.

YS: What is your most used ingredient?
Woodward: Lamb, 100 percent.

YS: What is your favorite food?
Woodward: Honestly, probably some really good Pad Thai.

YS: What are your top credentials and accolades as a chef in the area?
Woodward: We definitely have had some really good write-ups from food critics. Besides that, we’re so organic here it’s all just word of mouth.

YS: Who are your biggest mentors?
Woodward: I’d say my mom is my biggest mentor. We always cooked meals growing up.

Brett Smith, The Post Brewing Co.

Sometimes less is more. Likewise, sometimes fried chicken and a beer hit the spot more than any fancy-shmancy caviar and champagne ever could.

Brett Smith is the head chef and man- aging partner over at Post Brewing Company, in Lafayette, which opened its doors in 2014. He realized that simple but delicious comfort foods can connect people and draw hungry swaths of customers as much as any gold-plated dining establishment.

“I’ve worked in a lot of different restaurants. I realized I have a passion for just simple, delicious comfort food. Food that can be shared with family and friends, passing things around kind of like a mini Thanksgiving dinner every night,” Smith said.

Smith and his business partner, David Query, decided to make fried chicken the centerpiece of their back-to-basics menu. “There’s not necessarily a lot of breweries that do comfort food like we do and do fried chicken so I think that helps us stand out,” Smith said.

YS: What is your most popular dish?pc chrisbjorkchefbrettpostbrew
Smith: Fried chicken and beer.

YS: What is your most used ingredient?
Smith: Our chicken seasoning blend.

YS: What is your favorite food?
Smith: Not to be repetitive but it’s tough to beat fried chicken.

YS: What are your top credentials and accolades as a chef in the area?
Smith: We’ve got our second and third location in Longmont and South Denver that have all been opened for a period of time and in September we’re taking over a spot on 13th Street in Boulder.

YS: Who are your biggest mentors?
Smith: Business-wise, Dave Query for sure.

Hosea Rosenberg, Blackbelly Restuarant

Even before winning Bravo TV’s Top Chef in 2009, Chef Hosea Rosenberg knew he wanted to do big things in the culinary world. His restaurant, Black- belly, is the culmination of a longtime dream.

“I had this dream of doing some farming. We started a small farm with a buddy of ours who owned the property raising pigs and lamb and he got a hold of this breed called Blackbelly that are a hair sheep,” Rosenberg says. “The origin of Blackbelly came along with our farming.” Introduced to artisan butchering as a young chef, Rosenberg decided to use sustainable sourcing with animals that are pasture raised for Blackbelly’s menu, and to do all butchering in house.

Blackbelly garnered acclaim for its high end, efficient butcher shop, but the restaurant is really the crown jewel. “We’re pretty unique with what we do. The whole philosophy behind it is know where your food comes from, respect the ingredients, and have a relationship with the farmers and ranchers,” Rosenberg explains.

YS: What is your most popular dish?Websize Hosea Headshotsphotocourtesychefrosenberg-7
Rosenberg: Our best seller is our burger.

YS: What is your most used ingredient?
Rosenberg: We take all of our trim from our dry aged beef, all our fat, and we melt it into a tallow that we season. We rest all of our grilled steaks in this stuff.

YS: What is your favorite food?
Rosenberg: Green chili.

YS: What are your top credentials and accolades as a chef in the area?
Rosenberg: Locally I’ve been a member of the Denver Five. I’ve competed in some local cooking competitions and I have a lot of wins in all of those.

YS: Who are your biggest mentors?
Rosenberg: Well my most recent mentor is David Query. I’ve learned how to run a successful company from him.
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