If you're a fan of Bravo's series Top Chef, then the name Hosea Rosenberg is probably familiar to you. In addition to being the winner of Top Chef season five, Hosea is also busier than ever today with a farm, a catering company and most recently, a pop-up restaurant in Colorado.
On March 31st, FORK Social Lab in Louisville, Colorado (about midway between Denver and Boulder) hosted a one-night-only pop-up dinner event with chef Hosea in the charming Louisville Center for the Arts. Mostly used as gallery space, the Center has no kitchen! Undaunted, Hosea brought his own state-of-the-art mobile catering trailer, which he uses for his newest venture, Blackbelly Catering.
The evening started with an amuse bouche of a hollowed out fingerling potato stuffed with truffled farm egg salad—made from eggs laid only the day before on Blackbelly farm, where Hosea plans to raise and grow much of his own produce and even some meat for his cuisine. Because he believes so strongly in supporting and nurturing the local food community in Colorado, he has partnered with students from the Boulder Escoffier Culinary School who help work on the farm and were helping prepare and serve the food for the pop-up restaurant.
The first course was a tasting plate of heritage pork from Tender Belly, including pork loin rolled in fennel pollan and served over a fennel puree, seared pork belly with a soy glaze and candied kumquat, and a pork terrine served with a frisee salad and fried pork ears. The differences and similarities between the different preparations of pork were stunning, as was the Blind Watchmaker wine from Infinite Monkey Theorem winery in Denver that was specially paired with the course.
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Next came a beautiful filet of Rocky Mountain rainbow trout, served with an addictive green chile cornbread bread pudding and an apple, jicama slaw with grapes and almonds. Hosea's New Mexico roots shone through with this simple, yet stunning preparation. Winemaker Ben Parsons from Infinite Monkey Theorem brought his light and airy 2011 sauvignon blanc/semillon blend to pair beautifully with this course.
The third course shone with a 24-hour braised beef short rib, fava bean grits and roasted mushrooms dressed with a smoked onion jam and huitlacoche (a fungus that grows on corn in Mexico) sauce. The 2009 Hundredth Monkey red blend held its own against the strong flavors on this plate and proved that it deserved the excellent rating it has received from Wine Spectator.
Finally, for a grande finale, dessert was a gorgeous cheesecake made with Colorado Haystack Mountain aged "snowdrop" goat cheese and served with a basil-black pepper sorbet. Unbelievably delicious and complex, the course was made even more irresistible with the addition of Infinite Monkey Theorem's carbonated black muscat wine—served in a can! They definitely proved that wine from a can can be haute cuisine.
Although this "restaurant" came and went in the space of an evening, Hosea has plans to open a permanent restaurant in the Denver metro area within the next year. So, like a cliffhanger episode of Top Chef, we'll have to wait and "tune in next time" to see what other culinary marvels he has waiting for us in the future.
image: Lacy Boggs