One of the reasons we do what we do is the chance to get up close with area chefs. So when we were invited to CineChef, the food component to the Boulder International Film Festival that asks chefs to make food inspired by films, we didn’t hesitate.
Film Festival Director Kathy Beeck talked to us the day after the event and just as she’d gotten back from the airport to pick up the festival speaker and help him settle in. As she reflected on the event, she said that we were first-time attendees and the event was our sweet spot. We cruised between eight food stations as well as whiskey, wine, craft beer, and dessert tables. Here’s what we found at each:
Daniel Asher, Executive Chef and Partner, Ash’Kara, River and Woods, Driftwind, Tributary
Asher has always been in the center of constant activity but when we talked to him earlier this year, a single thing became the focus of our conversation – hummus. That’s why we weren’t surprised he brought it to the event. Inspired by the film Hummus, a 2015 documentary by Oren Rosenfeld, Asher called it a superfood, based on nutrition, taste, and its place in culinary history. We agree.
Patrick Balcom, Chef/Owner Farow
Indian Curry Pork Pate
It’s been quite a year for Balcom who opened Farow in Niwot with his wife Lisa last fall. No surprise, they were together behind the table at this event, serving their dish inspired by the Jennifer Aniston comedy, Along Came Polly. They were their usual smiling and welcoming hosts, talking to lines of attendees and continuing to get to know their community.
Michael Bertozzi, Senior Director of Culinary and Beverage, The Kitchen
Szechuan Pork and Leek Dumplings
We loved a lot of things at this event, but kept going back to this station, tempted by small bites inspired by the movie Big Trouble in Little China. Bertozzi’s dumplings had the sweet and spicy balance we look for, and honestly, don’t find executed well very often. It was a treat.
Rich Byers, Executive Chef, Jill’s Restaurant & Bistro
Foraged Mushroom & Black Truffle Hash with French Raclette / Gayla’s Georgia Shrimp and Grits
It’s hard to steal the show from melted cheese, mushrooms, and truffles. Byers’ shrimp and grits, clearly the underdog-tasting plate at this station, pulled it off with a tangy tomato that contrasted with creamy, buttery grain. Both dishes were inspired by a more general love of film and tied into the 1974 film classic That’s Entertainment.
Linda Hampsten-Fox, Executive Chef and Owner of The Bindery
Smoked Rabbit Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
We’re no stranger to grilled cheese and tomato soup, but when Hampsten-Fox makes it you know it’s going to be better than anything poured from a can or made with the contents of a bread box and a home deli drawer. Her version added burnt cinnamon to the soup and smoked rabbit to the sandwich. It was inspired by the 2014 film Chef, starring Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, and a bright yellow food truck.
Chris Royster, Executive Chef and Partner, Flagstaff House
Wagyu Pastrami on Rye
It was hard to believe there were pastrami sandwiches at this event, but when you talk to Chef Royster about his love for When Harry Met Sally and a certain scene at Katz’s deli, it all makes sense. Oh, and the sandwiches were delicious. We’ll have what she’s having (and what Royster made) anytime.
Bob Sargent, Executive Chef, Savory Cuisine
Yuzu Cured Salmon, Wasabi Vinaigrette and Curry Lemonade Caviar
Plating is important at an event with so many stations, but it can be tricky to pull off consistency at a fast pace with lines of hungry guests. Sargent’s was one of the most complicated, beautiful presentations of the night. Inspired by the Ang Lee drama Eat Drink Man Woman, the savory, salty flavors kept a consistent line near his station.
Mike Thom, Executive Chef, Spruce Farm and Fish
Lamb and Beetroot with Chanterelles
As the event got more crowded, Thom always had something to do but never looked busy. He was moving, talking, constantly smiling, and directing two other staffers to plate his food: lamb and beetroot with chanterelles, which was inspired by the film Burnt with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. We had it once and went back for more.