A Talk with Pete List of Beatrice & Woodsley

July 18th, 2011 Posted by Chefs, Culinary Connectors, Denver, restaurants No Comment yet

Little Cabin in the Big City; A quick history of Beatrice & Woodsley:

Beatrice & Woodsley opened their doors to Denver in May of 2008. While celebrating the history of restaurants as providers of restoration, replenishment and relaxation, Beatrice & Woodsley transports the Colorado wilderness into the city’s heart. The essence of exploring, discovering, and participating is embraced in an environment that couples the rustic nature of a cabin in the woods with the cosmopolitan progression of the city.

Intended to reinvigorate the adventurous romantic heart that long days and dreamless nights stifle and resign, Beatrice & Woodsley unburdens the critical mind and allows the senses to translate the multifarious experiences set before; experiences, not unlike food, which nourish growth of the soul. Beyond the individual components of food, drink, and environment, place itself becomes a muse.

Just as the room embodies the interplay of city and wilderness, the menu reflects duality and is best described as new old-world rustic. Combining today’s palettes with the traditions and flavors of Europe, the cuisine pays homage to the melting-pot of recipes and methods from the early formation of the collective American culture. Simple ingredients, carefully executed techniques, and an adventurous imagination culminate into the restorative qualities of food, drink, and setting.

What is your history as a chef-

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I was introduced to kitchen work as a dishwasher.  This experience made me realize that the kitchen is where I truly wanted to be. I found my true passion for cooking while serving as a line cook under Chef/Owner Radek Cerney at European Café in boulder.  Following my time at European Café I moved to Denver to become Executive Sous Chef when Radek opened the critically acclaimed Papillon Café.

Seeking new challenges and opportunities I moved to Chicago in 2000 to test the waters in the big city.  I worked at a number of small, independent restaurants gaining invaluable experience and knowledge. In early 2008 I relocated back to Denver and shortly thereafter accepted the position of Executive Chef and at Beatrice and Woodsley.

Who influenced you to cook?

My dad played a particularly important role in developing my love of cooking.

What do like most about cooking?

To me cooking is an art form and a type of self-expression. I truly love bringing ingredients together to create flavorful, comprehensive and cohesive dishes.  Knowing that a guest or friend is happy after they enjoy a really good meal makes me happy.

Where do see the Denver food scene in five years?

I see a city whose food scene will be continuing to grow and mature. I feel that as a food city, Denver is still trying to find its true identity or personality. I personally feel that there is a deep pool of talent here and that Denver will be continue to command attention as a restaurant city.

Why do think Denver’s food culture is growing so fast?

I think there are a number of factors involved. Denver is a city that a lot of people relocate to, mostly from bigger cities. Those people bring with them ideas, food desires and previous restaurant experiences with them and Denver restaurant owners and chefs are working to satisfy and those interests, wants and needs.  In addition, Denver is a great incubator and a number of chefs and operators are drawn to the new found food scene and want to add to the culinary texture.

What is your favorite place to eat out? (besides B&W) and why?

I wish I had a more exciting answer to this question but I rarely go out to eat on my off nights.  When I do venture out for a meal I am inclined to look for a small lesser-known place, usually Mexican or Thai, that does it right.  No fanfare and “crazy” plating, just good, well prepared food.

What is your favorite dish on the menu?

On the current menu the “Grumpy Bunny” which consists of rabbit braised in a scratch sour curry and shoyu glazed veal sweetbreads is my favorite. I love Thai curry and I make this one completely from scratch, which is uncommon.  I feel that the pairing of the rabbit and sweetbreads is particularly enjoyable.

Three words to describe your food-

Thought provoking, creative, ethereal yet grounded

What do you cook at home?

Not much, it’s sad to say, but I still eat like I’m twelve years old. When I have time, I like to roast a leg of lamb and eat that over several days (awesome cold cut on grilled bread sandwiches).

What is the most over rated/over used ingredient?

I suppose that at this stage in my career, most of the chemicals being used to change the composition of food. I think there is a place for those methods but I see way too much use. I guess I am a bit old school…

What would you like to try (to eat) that you haven’t had before? why?

I can’t really name one thing because there are so many. For me it is more about authentic cuisine, I need to travel more and experience food at its basest levels. I plan on going to Africa in September, I am sure I will have some interesting food stories to tell.

Culinary Connectors  Supper Club at Beatrice & Woodsely is August 2nd at 6:30.  Reserve your spot here

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