Kelly Whitaker, the chef-owner of Basta, is a walking, talking campaign for returning local heritage grains to our nation’s farms, restaurants, and home kitchens. As his new nonprofit, the Noble Grain Alliance, works to further that mission, Whitaker leads by example at his exceptional east Boulder restaurant, grinding grains into fresh flours for his pizzas, pastas, crackers, and breads. Basta is an unassuming yet warm gathering place known for those pizzas, but its innovative small plates­—like a recent savory tuna “panna cotta” that I can’t stop thinking about—deserve attention, too. If you ask me, it’s no overstatement to say cooking (and a mission) like Whitaker’s may help change the world. 3601 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-997-8775

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen

Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.