Q&A: Matt Selby on Beer, Bacon, and More

December 3 2012, 11:00 AM

Matt Selby (formerly of Vesta Dipping Grill, Steuben’s, and Ace Eat Serve) may be getting ready to open Corner House, but he’s still working the philanthropic circuit. Look for him at this Sunday's Bacon and Beer Festival. The first-annual event brings together 25 local restaurants (including Euclid Hall, Twelve, and Colt & Gray) and 15 Colorado craft breweries (look for Ska Brewing, Crooked Stave, Avery Brewing Company, and more) from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Mile High Station. Proceeds benefit Metro CareRing and Project Angel Heart. Tickets are $40.

P.S. Selby says Corner House will open its doors before Christmas.

5280: Bacon or beer?

Matt Selby: [For the Bacon and Beer Festival] I’m doing a bacon, chanterelle and Robiola tartlet with dried fig-lambic jam. I’d describe it as a rustic pastry snack.

5280: Events that take chefs out of the kitchen…what do you think?

MS: I challenge anybody to find the same number of chefs in any city with as big of hearts as there are in Denver. It takes one phone call from the right organization—whether charitable or social, it’s good karma.

5280: Some of the attendees will likely be the same foodies that post on Yelp and Denver-based app Forkly—one of the event’s co-sponsors. Do amateur food reviews thrill or bug you?

MS: If you take the good with the bad, it can be an excellent tool to energize your staff and troubleshoot. [That is] if you read a review from a person who genuinely cares about their experience. Everything else is just noise.

5280: Why move on after your success at Vesta, Steuben’s, and Ace?

MS: Corner House gives me the opportunity to cook on a daily basis again.

5280: What can we expect from the Corner House menu?

MS: The dinner menu is composed largely of small community plates. It’s budget-minded food with high-end ingredients. A few items we’ve worked on for tasting include duck egg crème brûlée and truffle salt-cured foie gras with pickled cauliflower and Bosc pear gastrique.

5280: Is there a common thread woven through the events, restaurants, and food you make for Denver?

MS: The continuity is in the mission and values. With the events, it’s the same type of pride in our ingredients and our staff as it is within the four walls of any of the restaurants. With hospitality, it’s about community. At the end of the day, we’re all servers.

Bonus: Show your love for chef Selby and vote for his Master Chef Holiday Challenge recipes. He's competing against 13 chefs around the nation, each of which has created locally inspired holiday meals using Aloutte, Chavrie, and Ile de France cheeses. The winner takes home the title and $20,000. Voting is open through December 12.

—Image via Shutterstock