=" /> The Mile High Eater: 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009

Monday, December 15, 2008

A talk and recipe from Chef Seidel of Fruition

Hi all

This is the second part of our post for our meal at Fruition restaurant in Denver where we asked Chef Alex Seidel a few questions and he was nice enough to even gicve us a recipe to share with you.

Below is a picture of the chef.


1. What attracted you to cooking? At age 14, I started working in kitchens washing dishes and light prep work. When I went to college, I played soccer and the job that fit my free time was night cook. I started at a nice trattoria in Wisconsin. There I had two chefs that had worked in California and they introduced me to simple things like fresh herbs, stocks, and sauces. It was the opportunity to work with these guys and learn about food that I had never been introduced to in Wisconsin. I was hungry for more information. As my love grew for food, I wanted to focus more on it. So I quit college 30 credits shy and saved money to attend culinary school. I have been traveling, eating, and working ever since.

2. What is the philosophy behind your cooking, or in your kitchen? Whenever I interview someone, one of the first things I share is my philosophy on food and cooking. Most people that I know who love to cook enjoy everything from the shopping to the prepping to cooking and finally seeing the reaction once you serve your food. In the restaurant world sometimes the fun is taken out of it. Stressed out chefs, budgets are tight, employee relations, and a lot of other things that make the restaurant business tough. Through all that, I really try to create a culture that is a positive environment. My cooks and I share many laughs. We talk about food and why things work and why they don't. I hire based on attitude and work ethic, not experience. That way we can learn from each other-together. We are always trying to better understand our craft of cooking food. We don't have the pressure of brain surgery or rocket science. We are applying heat to proteins and vegetables. The bottom line is-if you love cooking-enjoy it and lets have pride in what we do and push ourselves to put out the best possible food that we can. We don't compete with other restaurants, we compete everyday with ourselves.

3. What is the biggest influence on the way you cook? Obviously, it is hard to not be influenced by myself. I love food and I also know what I like to eat. Although, in the restaurant business I am not cooking for myself. The customer and the demand from the customer is what influences the way I cook. I think people want to enjoy good food. Sometimes it is hard to find good food without going to a white tablecloth establishment and ordering the 10 course pre-fix. Trust me, I love to eat like that, but it is for a very small niche of people. I try to serve people food that they understand, that is approachable, and that they enjoy for a very reasonable price. I feel very good about the quality, technique, and seasonal approach that we take with our food

4. Is there a chef living today you would like to work with? Umm, yeh a few. There are so many great chefs in the world today. I have dined in many of there restaurants. I worked for Hubert Keller when I was in California but never for any other celebrity chefs. Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, Jean-George, Daniel Bolud, Grant Achutz-just to name a few. These guys have unbelievable talent and knowledge. It would be an honor to work with these guys

5. Is there a particular ingredient you like to cook with more than others? I do like to cook with offal’s. Taking scrap and parts of animals that people don't think of using and turning that into something delicious is rewarding to me. When it comes to most things though, I always like change. People always ask "what is your favorite thing to cook?" and my response has always been I don't have a favorite dish-I like to create new dishes.

6. If stuck on a desert isle and could have one meal from then on out what would it be? Well's Brothers Pizza. It is a little Italian family-owned pizzaria in Wisconsin. It's the only thing I have to eat when I go back home for visits. Thin semolina crust with a sweet oregano flavor in the sauce. It is so good. You can take the boy out of Wisconsin but not the Wisconsin out of the boy

7. Is someone asked you for two Colorado restaurants to try other than your own what would you suggest? Frasca in Boulder and the Little Nell in Aspen.

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

9. Would you be willing to share a recipe with us? Of course. I am not a really good recipe guy. We try to understand the fundamentals of cooking and why things are balanced. So I try to get my chefs to cook from the heart. I do have a couple of recipes and you are welcome to them all.
Fruition’s Potato Wrapped Oyster Rockefeller Recipe
Recipe Makes 45 oysters
4ea Russet potato (large)
45ea Oysters
3# Baby Spinach
1# Naturally Smoked Bacon
¼cu Sherry Vinegar
2cu Parmesan-Leek Emulsion (recipe follows)

Russet Potato-Colorado Grown in San Luis Valley (certified organic and non-irradiated)
Cut three potatoes lengthwise right down the middle. Working from the middle, with skin still on, thinly slice the potato to about the thickness of a potato chip. Make 45 center-cut chips and hold in cold water. Blanch potatoes in salted boiling water for one minute or just until you can roll the potato without it snapping. Shock in an ice bath, strain, and pat dry.

Oysters-West Coast Variety (preferably Hama-Hama)
Shuck oysters making sure there is no shell debris left over. Roll the oyster in the potato and secure with a toothpick. Fry in peanut oil at 350 degrees for two minutes or until the potato is golden and crispy.

Spinach-Colorado Grown
Cube bacon and render it over medium heat. Pour off excess bacon fat and add the spinach leaves. Wilt the spinach and finish with sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Parmesan-Leek Emulsion
9ea Leeks (medium dice)
1ea Yellow onion (medium dice)
1ea Russet potato (peeled and large diced)
½cu white wine
½qt heavy cream
½cu parmesan
1bu Italian Parsley (finely chopped)
Sweat onion and leeks until translucent. Add the remaining russet potato and deglaze with white wine. Reduce the wine until almost gone and add the heavy cream. Cook the potato in the liquid mixture and use it as a natural thickener for the emulsion. Finish with parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. Puree in a blender and hold warm for service.

As always thanks for coming by the blog and if you have any questions or thoughts feel free to leave a comment or email us at barb or jonathan @milehigheater.com.

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Monday, December 8, 2008


Hi all,

Barb, our friend Elena and myself made it out to Chef Alex Seidel’s restaurant Fruition this week (http://www.fruitionrestaurant.com). Chef Siedel was Executive Chef at Mizuna before he opened up Fruition and the food and flavors he put out here are wonderful. In general we found the flavors very straight forward and almost comforting in a way. The dining room is small and cozy; we did not have a cramped feeling even with people at all the tables around us. The wait staff was very knowledgeable about not only the food but the wine available and seemed to genuinely care about your experience at the restaurant.


We decided to split 2 appetizers between the 3 of us the first of which was:


Riesling Poached Pear Warm Pancetta Wrapped Dates, 34º Sheep’s Milk Feta, Candied Pecans

He said: For me the stand out here was the cheese, the sharp feta taste went so very well with the sweet pears and candied pecans. The flavors combined so well together that I almost forgot about the greens even when I was eating them and in fact don’t really have much of a memory of them even though the dinner was just last night. This was great start and I would give it a 7.

She said: This was a great starter. The sweet pears mixed perfectly with the cheese and greens. I'm discovering that I'm enjoying these different cheeses that I would have never tried before. I would also give this a 7.

The Next Appetizer


Crispy Duck Leg Confit Maple-Candied Sweet Potato, Toasted Hazelnut Salad, Golden Raisin Vinaigrette

He Said: This dish was very good by itself. With the very crisp skin that had a nice crunch then just melted away in your mouth and the sweet potatoes went very well with this even though I am not a sweet potato guy. If this would have been served by itself it was good enough to get a 8 but when you combined it with the sweet pear taste of the other dish, OH MY, that was good they should always have these together. But since that’s not the case I will keep with the 8.

She said: Yummy. Duck Confit and sweet potatoes, instant gratification for me. The duck was cooked perfectly and mixed in with the sweet potatoes and hazelnut salad was just the perfect combination for me. I would give it an 9.

Elena’s Main course:

fruition emain

Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast
Carnaroli Risotto, Grilled Arugula & Smoked Duck Prosciutto, Red Onion Marmalade

He Said: DING DING WOOP WOOP we have a winner!! This was amazing, the duck had a fantastic flavor and the prosciutto was very nice. But, that risotto was out of this world. I would have been happy to have an entire plate of it. Sadly, Elena also liked this so I could not steal too much - lol. If this had just been a risotto course I would give it a 10 no problem, but I do have to measure the overall course and while every thing on the plate did taste great and it did draw a mmm from 2 of us it was not the best duck I have had, so I will give it a 9. The waiter told us this was the only dish that had been on the menu from the beginning and I can see why.

She said: Yes, I was the naysayer on the risotto. It's just not my thing, and I didn't go all gooey over it. The duck was very good though and I think even on it's on, I would have enjoyed it. I give this a 8.

Barb's Main course

Fruiton Barb Main

Salmon Creek Farms Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Bacon Braised Brussel Sprouts, Fingerling Potato Confit, Pommery Mustard Emulsion

He said: Another very nice course. The pork was cooked perfectly and the sauce had a very nice strong taste that was just plain good. I would give this a 7.5

She Said: The tenderloin was juicy and tender, and mixed with all of the ingredients on the plate made me very happy. I'm not usually a mustard fan, but didn't mind it as the emulsion this time. I would give this an 8.

Jonathan's Main Course:

Fruition Jonathan

Braised Colorado Lamb Shank, Crispy Parmesan Polenta, Eggplant & Roasted Pepper Ratatouille, Goat Cheese Vinaigrette

He said: I was of two minds on this before I ordered; I love lamb, so it really called to me, but I have had bad experiences with polenta and have never had a good ratatouille. I talked to our waiter and he said it was a good dish though so I gave it a go. I am so very glad I did. The lamb was cooked like the other dishes we shared that night, perfectly with the meat practically falling off the bone. The polenta was just plain yum. I actually wanted more polenta and that never ever happens and the ratatouille had such a nice flavor I finished all of it even though I had to leave some meat behind as my appetite was reaching its limit. I would give this an 8.

She Said: I don't think I got the opportunity to try Jonathan's dish. At least I really don't remember trying it. Was this because he was hording, or I was just enjoying my tenderloin so much. So, I don't feel I can give this a score. :(

For desserts we decided to split 2 and our first was:


Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean & Malted Milk Shake, Chocolate Ganache
Macadamia Nut Brittle

He said: This was good. Not sure how this kind of dish would not be good unless you did not like chocolate. But no better than good, I will give it a 6.

She said: This was very good, and I do like chocolate! The crunchy brittle mixed in with the warm gooey cake was a winner for me. The malted milk shake was just filler for me, but was tasty. I will give this an 8.

Dessert number 2

fruition dessert1

Warm Sticky Toffee-Date Cake, Gala Apple Compote, Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, Hot Toffee Sauce

He said: Now this was very tasty, which surprised me because I am not a huge fan of caramel and its like, but the apple compote was very rich in flavor and the over all taste just warmed you up and satisfied quickly. I would go ahead and give this a 7.5

She Said: Unlike my hubby, I do like caramel and mixed together with all of the other ingredients blended nicely on my spoon. Rich caramel, warm apple compote, cool ice cream....yum! I would give this an 8.5.

The numbers the over all score here was an 7.81 which is a very good score especially for a non tasting menu. (As I have stated before we give a .75 overall boost to any 5 course or more meal.) Fruition is a great place to go for a wonderful meal and as I stated earlier the flavors are spot on and not all that complicated which in some ways just enhances the meal.

We all had a fantastic dinner and would recommend Fruition highly, and if you do stop by, make sure you let them know you read about them here! Chef Seidel also took the time to answer a few questions and to give us a recipe which we will post next week! Thanks again for stopping by our Colorado based food blog. We are very happy to share our experiences at Colorado restaurants with you and of course the restaurants at places we travel. If you have any questions, comments or know a place we should try, please let us know. We would love to hear from you either by leaving a comment here or email us at jonathan@milehigheater.com or barb@milehigheater.com

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Monday, December 1, 2008

A few questions and a recipe with Chef Lindley of St Johns

Hi all

This week we have a question and answer with St John’s chef Daniel Lindley He was also nice enough to share a recipe with us. Sadly we don’t have a picture for you but we do highly suggest you give the ST John a try if you’re in the area.

1. What attracted you to cooking? Cooking involves the senses perhaps more so than any occupation. My first restaurant job was at age seventeen washing dishes and I remember being exhilarated by the smells in the kitchen. I enjoy the pressure and performance aspect of the job as well.

2. What is the philosophy behind your cooking, or in your kitchen? I am certainly a product driven chef. I like to think of my food as being refined but not too fussy or overdone

3. What is the biggest influence on the way you cook? My drive for balance certainly influences the way I cook. My kitchens physical parameters certainly influence the way I cook here at St. John's. We have a very small kitchen. What we do with five cooks in my kitchen, restaurants in New York do with twelve or more (literally).

4. Is there a chef living today you would like to work with? I am a huge fan of Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison in NYC

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

6. If stuck on a desert isle and could have one meal from then on out what would it be? . Braised Beef Cheeks with yukon gold potato puree & balsamic onion relish
7. Besides your own what restaurants would you recommend any where in the world. Eleven Madison (NYC)
Osteria La Piana (Siena, Italy)

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

Roasted "Cinderella" Pumpkin Soup
For the pumpkin- split one pumpkin horizontally, scrape the seeds out, score the flesh, press cubes of butter in scored areas, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast until pumpkin is caramelized and very tender. 375 degrees to 425. When finished let it rest for 15 minutes and then scrape out the flesh. Discard the skin and liquid in the pan.
While the pumpkin is roasting- small dice 4 large shallots, 2 peeled winesap apples and one bulb of fennel. Sweat this mixture out until very tender with olive oil and butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Pureeing the soup- marry the shallot, apple & fennel mixture with the roasted pumpkin in a blender and puree until smooth. Finish with a touch of heavy cream while in blender and adjust seasoning if necessary.
To serve- heat soup and bowl. Garnish with chopped pancetta or guanciale and scoop a quenelle of whipped creme fraiche infused with a touch of nutmeg on top. Finish with minced chives.
Key reminders- pumpkin must be roasted fully. Not Baked! The carmelization makes the soup. Also Veg/apple mixture must be very tender before it is blended.

As always thanks for stopping by and if you happen to stop by one of the restaurants you find in our blog let them know you heard about them here! If you have any questions or comments we would love to here from you at Barb or Jonathan @milehigheater.com

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