Chefs Up Front 2014: Coohills

April 22, 2014  •  Restaurants

coohills denver chefs up front escargot amuse bouche

Amuse Bouche
Tempura Snail with Preserved Lemon Gremolata

Where can you have an incredible 6-course dinner, prepared table side by the chef for your intimate dinner party of 10, paired with excellent wines, all in the name of raising money for a good cause? Well, that’s what Chefs Up Front is, and if you don’t know about it, you’re missing (IMHO) the most delicious charity event in town!coohills denver chefs up front scallop and pork belly

Course 1
Seared Scallop & Brised Pork Belly: Black Garlic, Compressed Pineapple, Basil Foam, Apple

Chefs Up Front is the largest annual fundraiser for Cooking Matters, the portion of Share Our Strength whose mission it is to reach healthy cooking and nutrition to families on limited budgets as part of the overall mission of ending childhood hunger in America. I’m the current chair of the Advisory Board for Cooking Matters here in Colorado, and I host a table each year at the event.coohills denver chefs up front poached egg on brioche with truffles

Course 2
Asparagus & Prosciutto Salad: Black Truffles, Egg, Brioche, Chèvre

Our chef this year was the talented Zach Ohly of Coohills, a fabulous French restaurant in Denver. His talents go far beyond the obvious, like serving snails as an amuse bouche, and extend to the brilliance he showed in offering an incredible soft, but still cooked, sous vide egg on brioche. I joked that this is my kind of salad: basically bacon and eggs with a touch of greens.coohills denver chefs up front sea bass with ramps

Course 3
Seared Chilean Seabass: Pickled Ramps, Spring Pea Agnolotti, Charred Spring Onion

It might seem odd to indulge in an over the top meal of multiple courses of incredibly prepared foods, when the mission is to end hunger. But I think there is something about that level of decadence, while watching a video of what it’s like to grow up hungry, that inspires the attendees to give, and to give generously, to the cause.coohills denver chefs up front duck breast

Course 4
Duck Breat: Grilled Radish, Hazelnut, Wild Mushroom,
Caramelized Cauliflower, Sauce Chasseur

We had our biggest year ever this year, raising about $150,000 towards the mission of ending hunger right here in Colorado. That money will be used to teach classes to both kids and adults, to conduct pantry programs teaching recipients how to cook healthy with the food they take home, and leading grocery store tours to show families how to shop smart on limited budgets and include healthy food choices that are affordable.coohills denver chefs up front dessert

Course 5
Panna Cotta with all sorts of other sweets I can’t recall!

I am currently teaching my 30th class for Cooking Matters, each one consisting of a 2-hour class once a week for 6 weeks. I’m always troubled at how little people know about both how to cook and how to make healthy food choices. But I always leave class feeling gratified that my efforts will make a difference. Cooking Matters is always in need of volunteers and financial support. If you’d like to learn about volunteering with the organization, either in Denver or in your community, please contact me. Click here to lend your support financially. Thanks to the 30 chefs and all of their staff who generously supported Chefs Up Front this year! And go eat at Coohills – you will love it!

1400 Wewatta Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 623-5700


One Comment  •  Comments Feed

  1. Devany says:

    Michele – what a great piece! I agree that Zach is “all that”. He is extremely passionate about what he does!

Add a Comment