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5280’s “Ask A Chef” is part of an on-going series in which we pose a single question to a local culinary luminary.
For this installment, we sought out chef Olav Peterson of Bittersweet. Peterson and his wife Melissa Severson opened their urban garden-to-table restaurant on New Year’s Eve in 2011. Peterson, who previously worked in the kitchens of Restaurant 1515 and the late Bistro One, has a style all his own. His food is seasonally based, minimalistic, and playful. The center point of Bittersweet is the 600 square feet of garden space that, in the summer, supplies much of the restaurant’s produce. Reserve a patio table and experience the true nature of knowing your food’s origins: It’s likely you’ll see Peterson or another staffer harvesting herbs, squash, greens, or tomatoes just prior to cooking.
5280: What is your favorite cooking utensil (knife, microplane, Dutch oven, etc.), and why?
OP: In the restaurant I have a collection of spoons, each one with a different use, like saucing plates. It’s an old collection, much of which I’ve stolen from other restaurants—like if I get a nice teaspoon with my cappuccino, I’ll take it. (D Bar has really good spoons.) When Melissa and I went to Paris, one of the main reasons we went was to visit E.Dehillerin [a very famous, landmark cooking store] to buy spoons.
Bonus: Peterson’s spoon collection reminded us of this.
Plus: Inside Peterson’s home kitchen.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Cina