=" /> The Mile High Eater: A talk with Terroir's chef Tim Payne

Monday, November 3, 2008

A talk with Terroir's chef Tim Payne

Hi all

We had a chance to ask a few questions to Tim Payne chef at Longmonts Terroir restaurant. If interested in our previous post of our meal here it is located at our post

1. What attracted you to cooking?

I simply love food. The whole cycle of it, from ordering and menu planning to prep to the finished product, plus since we use so many small farmers we stay connected with the supplier side. It is very satifying.

2. What is the philosophy behind your cooking, or in your kitchen?

Make everything from scratch, let the ingredient shine and utilize all of the culinary influences within America when making menu changes. Our kitchen is one of respect, it is a small team and we work very closely together, and everyone brings good experience to the table when executing our ever changing menu.

3. What is the biggest influence on the way you cook?

What fresh, local and if not local, small farm organic ingredients are available. The seasons are very important too.

4. Is there a chef living today you would like to work with?

Melissa Kelly (Primo Restaurant in Maine) on the east cost, Frank Stitt down south ( Highland Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama), Judy Rodgers (Zuni Cafe) out west, or Hugo Matheson at the Kitchen in Boulder

5. Is there a particular ingredient you like to cook with more than others?

I love fresh pasta in all of its forms, from filled pasta such as agnolotti to fresh cut pasta like fettucini to gnocchi. We will always utilize these in our menu. I love seafood as an individual ingredient though particularly scallops.

6. If stuck on a desert isle and could have one meal from then on out what would it be?

Gnocchi, followed by an arugula salad, followed by seared scallops, followed by braised short ribs followed by sorbet. I would always be full.

7. Is someone asked you for two Colorado restaurants to try other than your own what would you suggest?

Aji in Boulder is one of our favorites and I would tell them to go to the Rioja in Denver.

8. How about one restaurant any where in the world?

The French Laundry of course. Other than that Restaurant Daniel or Blue Hill in New York City or The Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.

9. Would you be willing to share a recipe with us?


4 large potatoes (russet preferably)
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped thyme and parsley

Bake the potatoes at 450 until soft. Remove the potatoes, slice open and pass through a food mill or potato ricer onto a clean work surface lightly dusted with all purpose flour. Allow steam to die down from the warm potatoes. Make a well in the center and place 1/4 cup of flour in the middle then crack both eggs and place in the middle. Place 1/2 cup more of the flour, the herbs and salt and pepper on top of the potatoes. With a pastry knife or spatula chop the the mixture until it is mixed and resembles pebbles, bring the mixture to a ball and place 1/2 cup more of the flour and gently fold (do not knead) just until the flour is incorporated. If the dough is tacky or sticky place 1 tablespoon more of the flour and repeat the process until it is not tacky or sticky. Let the dough rest for five minutes then divide the dough into 5 balls. Take each ball and gently roll out into a snake approximately 1/2 inch wide the slice the snake into 1/2 inch pieces and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside. Once all of the dough is rolled out the gnocchi can be frozen immediately or placed into lightly boiling salted water. Once the gnocchi float then can be strained out and incorporated into whatever sauté or sauce you choose. We change our ingredients seasonally and it generally consists of a vegetable that can be sautéed immediately without prior cooking (such as sugar snap peas or mushrooms) or a heartier vegetable such as butternut squash that we parboil until al dente that is lightly sautéed with garlic then deglazed with vegetable stock, seasoned, mounted with a small dab of butter, fresh herbs then the gnocchi is added and once plated finished with fresh grated cheese. If you do freeze the gnocchi, once the gnocchi are frozen individually the can be collected and stored in an airtight container for as long as a month. Cook the frozen gnocchi from this state, do not thaw then cook the gnocchi.

As always thanks for coming by our Colorado food blog and if have any questions or comments please let us know at jonathan@milehigheater.com or barb@milehigheater.com.
And if you happen to check out any of the restaurants we have mentioned let them know you heard about them from our blog!

Jonathan and Barb

Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos


  1. **Yum** Thanks for the gnocchi recipe! I enjoyed reading your interview as well!

  2. No problem the recipe is of course from Chef Payne so it should be a good one!

  3. My husband and I and a friend ate at Terroir last June. Coincidentally, among us we ordered pasta, gnocchi, scallops and braised beef cheeks (they were on the menu that evening, perhaps in place of short ribs) -- without knowing what would be on Chef's short list for the the proverbial desert island. A report of our dinner is at http://culinary-colorado.blogspot.com/search?q=Terroir

  4. Claire :) interesting Coincidence I think he does a pretty darn good job with the food there

  5. Agree totally -- and it pleases me that Terroir and Sugarbeet have elevated the level of restaurant meals in Longmont.

  6. It is very nice to see restaurant's like those in Longmont I must admit I am partial to Terroir over Sugarbeet but both are a step above what we used to find in the area.

  7. Thanks for sharing this interview! This is one of my favorite restaurants of all times. In addition to the food being excellent, everyone (kitchen and wait staff) is so considerate and respectful of dietary requests.

  8. They are fantastic there I am glad you like them as well