Battle of the Pans v Superstorm Sandy- an evening with some of Denver and Boulder’s best chefs.

Superstorm Sandy smashed into the east coast, including my home state of New Jersey, and destroyed many things in her path. Having spent so many summer days on the boardwalks at the Jersey Shore, I felt a huge feeling of disappointment seeing the images online. If you know me, or have even met me just once, you know I make an interesting face and have a certain tone of voice when I tell you I’m originally from NJ. But, this superstorm destroyed so much- it made me feel sentimental for parts of Jersey, and my parents still live there, so I felt quite connected to the storm and its aftermath.

Chef Theo Adley, also from New Jersey, coordinated a benefit dinner at Mateo Restaurant Provencal in Boulder. Chef Adley assembled eight of the best chefs in Denver and Boulder, one of the craftiest creators of all things cocktail, and a uniquely Boulder baker, who, together, performed a nearly perfectly orchestrated culinary symphony. I attended this nine course feast and enjoyed it so much more than I had imagined.

This was a superstar line up: Kyle Mendenhall of The Kitchen Community, Hunter Pritchett of Luca d’Italia, Kelly Whitaker of Pizzeria Basta, Max MacKissock of The Squeaky Bean, Theo Adley, Jen Jasinski of RiojaBistro Vendome, and Euclid Hall, Jenna Johansen, Steve Redzikowski of OAK at Fourteenth, and Sean Kenyon of Williams & GrahamTee & Cakes provided a delectable cupcake to finish up the meal and make for one of the largest dinners I’ve had in quite a while.

I had the honor and privilege to dine with Z Cuisine chef/owner Patrick DuPays and his lovely wife Lynnde, which, besides offering great company, provided me an interesting perspective to dining. I really don’t dine out with chefs- I feature them on my tours. So, as each of the nine courses arrived, it was quite an experience for me to taste them with Patrick and Lynnde.

Each course at the Battle of the Pans was fantastic, so rather than offer a detailed critique or review, here are some photos of the evening. Please note- these were shot in low light (except Chef Redzikowski’s dish because I wandered into the kitchen for a few minutes), and I’m no professional… but, you’ll get the idea.

Thanks so much to all of the chefs for coming out (many on their day off) and providing a fantastic feast, and thanks to all of the guests who, through ticket sales and an auction, raised money for victims of Superstorm Sandy. It’s unfortunate that a major storm brought them all together in one kitchen, but we diners all felt very fortunate to taste a dish from so many acclaimed local chefs.

The Kitchen [UPSTAIRS] featuring Chef Theo Adley

I like to consider myself one of Chef Theo Adley’s biggest fans. He’s young, adventurous in the kitchen, and is an overall fantastic chef. Theo was known for his unique menu at his former restaurant, The Pinyon, and became quite well known for his signature dish, Fried Chicken. After months here in Boulder without The Pinyon, many Adley fans find themselves craving his food- especially that fried chicken.

On October 14, The Kitchen [UPSTAIRS] invited Theo to cook in their kitchen for a night. I had that date in my calendar for a couple weeks, actually.

What unfolded was a delicious reminder of why Adley is one of my all time favorites.

I started with a classic Adley dish, Roasted Brussel Sprouts. These aren’t just your standard roasted brussel sprouts. Adley tosses them with cornflakes for a slightly sweet corny crunch.

I also went for a charred octopus dish that had a fried egg, potatoes, and celery heart in it. I don’t know that I’ve ever had that combination in a dish, but it worked.

And then she came to the table… A bird so lovely she could only have been fried in Adley’s kitchen. Theo is a chef who really loves a perfectly fried chicken. He takes great care in bathing the bird in a spiced buttermilk blend for something like twenty hours, and potato flour makes his bird gluten free. It’s just one of the best bites in Boulder, period.

So, Thanks to The Kitchen [UPSTAIRS] for hosting such a cool culinary evening. I’m looking forward to more.


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