Don't have plans for Thursday, May 23? Oh, yes you do: That evening, Toques & ’Tails  kicks off its first-annual chef and bartender competition at Casselman's Bar & Venue  in RiNo. The event, which is the result of many months of planning by Culinary Connectors ' founder Becky Creighton, will see eight of Denver's most sought-after restaurants and bartenders  duke it out for the titles of best dish, best cocktail, best pairing, and overall winner.
What sets this competition apart is that the seven judges  are from out of state—and all are luminaries in their own right. Guests will dine on local competitor’s food and drink entries while mingling with some of the country's best mixology and culinary talent. (Think Boston's Jackson Cannon, bar director at Eastern Standard  and James Beard Award-nominated  chef Jamie Bissonette of Toro  and Coppa  and the 2011 Food & Wine People's Choice Best New Chef .)
Bonus: In addition to the out-of-state personalities, an army of local "ambassadors " (myself included) will be making the rounds. Hope to see you there!
The event runs 7–9 p.m. (VIP 6–9 p.m.) and tickets  cost $45–$135. Ticket holders get $20 vouchers for Uber  car service (be safe!). Share Our Strength  benefits from a portion of the event's proceeds. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
2620 Walnut St.
—Photo via Shutterstock