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Colorado restaurants receive Michelin stars

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Colorado restaurants receive Michelin stars

Five restaurants in Colorado (four in Denver and one in Aspen) each earned a Michelin star Tuesday night, and no two- or three-star restaurants were anointed by the influential culinary guide in its first round of awards in the state.

Chef Kelly Whitaker, who runs a small empire in Boulder and Denver focused on Colorado culinary traditions and local ingredients, was the night’s big winner, with one star for Wolf’s Tailor and Bruto, a Bib Gourmand for Basta and a Recommended rating for Hello Boy. (A signature dish at Wolf’s Tailor is called Venison and its Diet: roasted venison loin with matsutake mushrooms, cranberries, and bitter greens.)

At a ceremony in Denver, 30 restaurants joined the ranks of “Michelin Recommended,” one of several categories and awards the company has recently introduced to draw more restaurants into its brand’s orbit. Four earned “green” stars for sustainable food practices, including Wolf’s Tailor and Gross (Mr. Whitaker’s group has a fermentation director) and Blackbelly Market in Boulder, run by head butcher Kelly Kawachi, who also won the professional award. culinary. of the year. (She was the only woman to win her own star).

A group of Colorado state and local tourism authorities and tourism businesses paid Michelin a total of about $600,000 to help create the guide, so only restaurants in Boulder, Denver, Aspen, Vail, Snowmass and Beaver Creek were eligible. to receive stars, a decision that upset chefs from municipalities that did not contribute money.

Boulder’s Frasca, widely considered the restaurant most likely to earn two stars for its elegant Northern Italian approach and wine list, earned one and a special award for excellent service.

But with only five restaurants in the state deemed “worth a stop,” according to Michelin’s rating system, and none worthy of a detour (two stars) or a trip (three stars), celebrations were muted. Bobby Stuckey, owner of Frasca, is one of the restaurateurs who lobbied Colorado tourism officials to bring Michelin to the state. He said the overall lack of stars in Tuesday’s announcement — not since 1956, when Italy won no stars in its first edition, has a new region gained so few — would serve as a wake-up call for the state’s restaurants.

“There were definitely some broken hearts in that room,” he said, as most of the chefs who traveled to the ceremony realized they wouldn’t be returning home with stars.

Bosq, in Aspen, and Beckon, in Denver, also earned one star each. All but one of the starred restaurants serve only multi-course tasting menus, cementing a widespread belief among chefs that receiving a Michelin star can require adopting a laborious style that appeals more to tourists than to consumers. locals and regular customers.

Before the ceremony, Jen Jasinski, one of the first Colorado chefs to win a James Beard Award and a mentor to many who attended, was cautiously optimistic about her prospects, but all of the restaurants in her popular group (Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Ultreia, Stoic & Genuine) were excluded.

As a lifelong user of the guide, she said, she accepted Michelin’s criteria. “This is a shitty thing to say and it breaks my heart, but we just didn’t do it.”

He said consistency, one of Michelin’s top priorities, is its biggest challenge, with high kitchen turnover and a shortage of experienced wait staff. Chefs and officials alike said a Michelin Guide’s ability to attract experienced sous-chefs and waiters to the region amid continuing nationwide shortages made the investment worthwhile.

Many said they were surprised that the luxurious Little Nell in Aspen, which has countless hospitality awards, did not achieve star status. Chef Matt Zubrod said earning a Recommended designation for Element 47 was enough for the first year; His experiences with similar groups like the star shows Forbes and AAA, and the global network Relais & Châteaux, have taught him that simply being included is often enough.

“When you search ‘Michelin restaurants in Colorado,’ a pop-up message appears,” he said. “That’s the main”.

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