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It’s only fitting that Eric Skokan, the chef-owner of Black Cat restaurant and Black Cat Farm, would recruit 11 sustainability-minded chefs and mixologists from across Colorado—and the country—to participate in the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner he’s hosting on Saturday, September 8. After all, Skokan is probably the most dedicated chef-farmer in the Centennial State.
“These are chefs…with a crazy devotion to product quality and the beautification of the ingredients they work with,” says Skokan. Locals include Arcana’s Kyle Mendenhall, Frasca Food and Wine’s Kelly Jeun and Eduardo Valle Lobo, Annette’s Caroline Glover, Jax Fish House’s Sheila Lucero, and Patrick Ayres of Steamboat’s Cloverdale Restaurant. Brian Scheehser, a chef-farmer from Washington State, and Wisconsin’s Justin Carlisle, a James Beard Award nominee many times over, will also contribute their culinary skills to the feast. “September is the peak of the peak season,” Skokan says. “The ingredients are perfect because we are in an embarrassment-of-riches time of the year.”
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The six-course dinner promises to capitalize on the season’s bounty. After gathering for cocktails and passed appetizers, as well as cheese and charcuterie from Boulder’s Cured, guests will sit down to corn sabayon with summer truffle and La Tur cheese; grain risotto with farm-fresh vegetables and smoked egg; lamb crudo with a minted salad and heirloom tomatoes; and Carlisle Farms rib-eye with broccoli, Cheddar, and fermented onion ash. Bryan Dayton, mixologist at Acorn, Oak at Fourteenth, and Corrida, will oversee cocktail and wine pairings throughout the event.
Skokan plans to source many of the ingredients for the dinner directly from his Boulder County farm. Wild plums from the property will find their way into a chocolate torte, and roasted loins from Black Cat’s heirloom Mulefoot hogs will accompany the farm’s pinky-sized corn on the cob and buttery fingerling potatoes. The morning of the event, Skokan plans to harvest tender herbs and flowers to use as garnishes. Diners will likely spot fire-engine-red scarlet runner bean blossoms (which taste like “sweet bean nectar,” according to Skokan), spicy yellow mustard flowers, and herbaceous white coriander blooms crowning their dishes.
Skokan secured permits to close the street in front of his restaurant for the event, so diners can look up at the stars and give thanks for such a beautiful end-of-summer dinner.
If you go: The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 8 at Black Cat Farm Table Bistro, 1964 13th St., Boulder. Tickets range from $125 to $185 and can be purchased here.