Harvest Week Q&A: Chef Tom Coohill

October 18 2012, 11:00 AM

Four pop-up meals down and two to go—that’s the current score for EatDenver’s six-day Harvest Week extravaganza at the GrowHaus. Tonight’s celebration, titled the Feasts of the Hunters and Gatherers, brings together chefs from Vesta Dipping Grill, Steuben’s, Linger, Root Down, Olivéa, Duo, 1515 Restaurant, and Coohills. The premise—that all ingredients for the five-course dinner were picked, killed, and grilled by the chefs—piggybacks on two of the hottest culinary trends: foraging and farm-to-table.

Prior to the dinner, 5280 had the opportunity to chat with chef Tom Coohill, whose self-titled French influenced restaurant opened last November.

5280: What are you making for the Feast of the Hunters and Gatherers?

Tom Coohill: I took hors d’oeuvres. Everybody took a course so there was no overlapping. One of the chefs told me he was killing a lamb from Fruition Farm and the produce was from there as well. We met there for the lamb and to get the produce. 

5280: Can you elaborate on the ponds that chef Daniel Asher of Root Down and Linger sourced for his tilapia crudo appetizer?

TC: GrowHaus has these in-ground tilapia ponds and a system where they bring the water out of the pond to water the produce and it ultimately goes back into the pond... It’s very sustainable. It’s a full circle. And the vegetables that grow out it, they’re just gigantic. It looks like something out of the Land of the Lost.

5280: Any insight on future food trends?

TC: It’s going to continue going on this organic, sustainable path, but just get better with more urban gardens coming around and local farmers’ markets. If you look at Safeway and other traditional grocers, there are a lot of organic things in there now. And it’s not just a food trend, it’s people paying attention to their carbon footprint, global warming, and everything else. The world is changing. 

5280: How do you think Harvest Week impacts the audience at restaurants and at home in the kitchen?

TC: I think people start to look for quality at both…it’s important to get the education, and not just for the Cherry Creek Whole Foods population, but for the poorer communities as well. We need to help them out. It becomes more of a communal thing, we're shedding light on food to the community.

While tonight’s dinner is sold out, there are still seats available for Friday’s Wild West-themed Million Dollar Cowboy dinner. For tickets and more information, click here.

—Image via Shutterstock