Proto and Chef Kelly Whitaker were one of the major winners of the Michelin Guide Awards on September 12, 2023. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
With sweaty palms and weak knees, chefs from across the state gathered at Denver’s Mission Ballroom Tuesday night to wish for a Michelin star.
The prestigious Michelin Guide organization, which ranked restaurants in Colorado for the first time this year, did not disappoint, awarding individual stars to five restaurants in Denver, Boulder and Aspen, along with a slew of special awards during the evening’s ceremony.
Colorado’s individual Michelin star winners are:
Bacon and Chef Duncan Holmes in Denver
Bosq and Chef Barclay Dodge in Aspen
Proto, Michael Diaz de Leon and Kelly Whitaker in Denver
Frasca Food and Wine and Chef Ian Palazola in Boulder
Wolf tailors and chefs Taylor Stark and Kelly Whitaker in Denver
The Michelin Guide announced in June that it would produce a Colorado guide for the first time, reviewing restaurants in Denver, Boulder, Aspen, Snowmass Village, Vail and Beaver Creek Resort. This was big news in the food world since the highly respected Michelin only listed and rated restaurants in seven other regions in North America: New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, California, Miami/Orlando/Tampa in Florida, Toronto and Vancouver.
Other awards were as follows:
Outstanding Service Award: Sergey Kivel and the Frasca Food and Wine team
Exceptional Cocktails Award: Carolyn Clark of The Wolf’s Tailor in Denver
Sommelier Award: Ryan Fletter and Erin Lindstone of Barolo Grill in Denver
Young Chef/Culinary Professional: Kelly Kawachi of Blackbelly Market in Boulder
Green Star (sustainable restaurants): Blackbelly Market; Bramble and Hare in Boulder; proto; Wolf Tailor
Michelin’s “renowned anonymous” inspectors award one, two or three stars based on five criteria: quality of ingredients, harmony of flavours, mastery of techniques, the chef’s personality expressed through his cuisine and consistency throughout the world. The entire menu and over time, according to Michelin.
The Colorado Tourism Office, with the help of participating cities, contributed to the $135,000 annual cost of promoting the Michelin Guide in Colorado over the next three years, according to state officials. However, some cities, such as Aurora, declined to participate, much to the disappointment of chefs and restaurateurs in those cities.
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