Chefs Up Front 2011

April 23, 2011  •  Best of the Food Web, Food for Thought, Restaurants

I’ve been meaning to put up this post about last week’s Chef’s Up Front dinner all week. CUF is the single most important fundraiser for Cooking Matters Colorado, that part of Share Our Strength devoted to helping end childhoold hunger by teaching healthy cooking and nutrition on a budget to families in need. I’m part of the advisory board for the organization and volunteer as a chef educator and class coordinator.This year I hosted a table to recognize all of my friends who volunteer with me as class assistants, and we were wowed by the creations of Chef Olav Peterson of Bittersweet. The restaurant has only been open for a few months – and you might recall it was in my blog post last week with restaurants I’d recently dined at. Well, the beauty of Chefs Up Front, besides benefiting an important cause, is that these talented chefs cook a multi-course meal tableside for patrons of the event. Check out the feast we enjoyed!Salmon pastrami served on a caraway brioche with choucrute (somewhat like sauerkraut) and tomato caper vinaigrette.Braised pork belly served with ramps, potato gnocchi and a gastrique jus – perhaps the finest rendition of pork belly I’ve ever had the opportunity to eat!Pan seared scallops served over a bacon risotto with artichoke.Delicate lobster tortaloni with an asparagus potato salad and lemon grass broth.Veal rib-eye with spring mushrooms and potato foam – while I’m usually not a huge foam fan, by this point in the very rich meal, I welcomed just the hint of potato flavor being offered up in something light like the foam.Chef Olav and his talented pastry chef worked to meticulously plate our dessert.A delicate vanilla mascarpone cheesecake made with a crust that incorporates pop rocks served with carbonated fruit.We left the event completely satiated and over-the-top impressed with Chef Olav’s creations. Not to mention knowing we had supported a great cause. We’ll never improve the health of our nation without teaching people to cook healthy foods for themselves, and the funds raised by the CUF dinner will help us continue this important work.

Want to get involved with Cooking Matters? Volunteer as a chef educator, nutrition educator, class assistant, or shopper – I guarantee the experience will be so rewarding that you’ll be signing up for your next class before you finish you first!

In Denver, contact Mayra Ramirez ( to get involved. Or check out the Cooking Matters website for contact information in your area.

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