The Portland-Denver connection is a well-known phenomena, as many PDX restaurants have opened locations in the Mile High City—we’re looking at you, Voodoo Doughnut, Departure, Bamboo Sushi. Starting tomorrow, Stacey Givens, chef-owner of Portland’s the Side Yard Farm & Kitchen, will (temporarily) follow suit, joining Urban Farmer’s executive chef, Chris Starkus, for a collaborative weekend of farm-to-table cooking for Denver diners.
Starkus, who came to LoDo’s Urban Farmer from the Portland location of the Sage Restaurant Group concept, first met Givens three years ago on the set of Food Network’s Chopped. While competing, the two chefs bonded over their shared passions for seasonal cooking and urban agriculture.
On both Thursday and Friday, February 1 and 2, Starkus and Givens will collaborate—not compete—to deliver a five-course dinner at Urban Farmer that highlights ingredients from their farms and Colorado as a whole; on Saturday morning, February 3, they’ll host a family-style Q&A brunch, during which you can ask them about their farming endeavors and learn more about sustainability in the restaurant industry.
During the dinners, among other dishes, Givens and Starkus will serve potato-wrapped petrale sole with Colorado celery root and black radishes from Denver wholesale distributor, Growers Organic. Nasturtium capers (pickled green seedpods that resemble real capers) and marigold oil will garnish the dish, both made from plants grown on Givens’ farm back in Portland.
Attendees can expect plenty of interaction with the chefs as they dine. “To keep that intimacy and chef-to-table touch, [Givens] is going to be dropping the amuse [bouche] and greeting the guests, and I’ll be finishing up with dessert and doing a table-side,” Starkus says. (And by “doing a table-side,” Starkus means personally torching the Italian meringue on your honey-chamomile ice cream, and finishing the plate with a drizzle of honey from the hives on the Oxford Hotel’s rooftop.)
During the Q&A brunch on Saturday, diners can talk sustainability, farming, beekeeping, and more with the chefs while chowing down, family style, on items like a “Farmy Omelette” (with mushrooms, greens, and salty cheese) and everyone’s favorite, chicken and waffles.
The Chef In Residence tasting menu costs $85 a person, and reservations can be made from 5 p.m. until close for both Thursday and Friday nights at urbanfarmerdenver.com; 10% of proceeds from the dinners will go to a charity of Givens’ choice.
Tickets for Saturday’s Q&A brunch, which goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., can be purchased at urbanfarmerdenver.com for $29 each.
The Oxford Hotel, 1659 Wazee St., 303-262-6070