=" /> The Mile High Eater: Jan 18, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A few questions and a recipe from Chef Lon Symensma of Cholon Bistro

1. What attracted you to cooking?
I grew up in Iowa, my family had a big farm/garden and in charge of hoeing, picking fruits and vegetables. I lived in a rural area and grew up around food. We raised a lot of our own food, so I knew what I wanted to do from an early age.

2. What is the philosophy behind your cooking, or in your kitchen?
Modern Asian Bistro – I lived and worked in France for a year. I spent a year in Asia. I wanted to reproduce the traditional kind of Asian dishes with the traditional kind of French style. I wanted to bring the European way of cooking and discipline into Southeast Asia. And to generate educated dishes that represent the county of origin with a refined technique to it.

3. What is the biggest influence on the way you cook?
Traveling – once you learn how to create food and learn how to develop flavors, you expose yourself to cuisines and people. You learn about food through the people. I attribute a lot of thought process to a story that represents my traveling.

4. Is there a chef living today you would like to work with?
Thomas Keller – haven’t spent much time with him and his philosophy. What he does is amazing. I’ve lived with Daniel Boulud’s family in France and spent some time with him. So, I’ve spent time with some of the big chef’s out there.

5. Is there a particular ingredient you like to cook with more than others?
Right now I’m digging tamarind, lemongrass, and kaffir lime.

6. Is someone asked you for two Colorado restaurants to try other than your own what would you suggest?
Fruition (Alex Seidel) and 12 (Jeff Osaka). Alex, Jeff and I have developed a friendship.

7. How about one restaurant anywhere in the world?
McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina – Chef Shaun Brock is a really cool guy. He’s raising his own pigs, making his own cheese. He’s really far out there.

8. Would you be willing to share a recipe with us?
Please see end of article for the recipe!

9. Which food are you embarrassed to admit you like?
I’m from Iowa; I’m not embarrassed about any food. I eat peanut butter by the spoonful and I really dig the Velvetta shells and cheese. (Hmm..did he know Barb is from Iowa too).

10. What made you choose Denver?
It's interesting to see how Portland has emerged, and I feel that Denver will be the next city to thrive. The city’s beautiful; the economy hasn’t caught up, there’s the Aspen Food and Wine Festival. The area has a green technology business that’s booming with a lot of computer software stuff. I wanted to be a part of what’s happening.

It’s a no brainer. It’s going to explode soon and I want to be a part of it.

11. Why the small plate concept?
I enjoy the vibrant flavors. I get bored after 3 or 4 bites, tired of taking the same bite over and over again. I wanted to throw away the full dining structure and create an interactive eating atmosphere. Our atmosphere creates energy and conversation.

Once we set up the expectation, it’s a true dining experience. I would rather have 4 dishes that cost $10 bucks instead of one meal for $40. You’ve gotten more for your money, and you get a variety of dishes to taste and talk about.

Chili Crab Rolls, Charred Corn Salad, Sriracha Mayo
Yield: 1 Qt.
Sriracha Mayo
Egg Yolks 4 ea.
Water 1 Tbl.
Sriracha ½ C
Salt 1 tsp.
Lime Juice ¼ C
Grapeseed Oil 3 C

Method: Mix yolks with water, sriracha, salt and lime juice. Add oil in a slow steady stream.

Pickled Peppers Condiment
Red Bell Peppers, roasted 8 oz.
Yellow Bell Peppers, roasted 8 oz.
Red Finger Chili, roasted 2 oz.
Pickling Liquid 1 C

Method: Peel and dice the bell peppers. Mince the chili and place them all in the pickling liquid and reserve.

For the Plate
8” Rice Paper Wrap
Red Leaf Lettuce, large leaves
Vermicelli Noodles, cooked and lightly oiled
Blue Lump Crab, picked 2 oz.
Scallion Whites, thinly sliced
Corn, lightly oiled and charred in the wok
Cilantro, wide chiffonade
Slate Plate

Thanks to Chef Lon for talking to us. As we said before in a previous post, get to Cholon Bistro as soon as you can, you will be happy that you did.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. If you have any questions, leave us a note here or email us at jonathan or barb@milehigheater.com.