An interview with Denver’s Chef Kristen Cofrades
Randolph’s Restaurant and Bar, located in the heart of Denver’s Uptown neighborhood, serves delicious, upscale cuisine, without all the stuffiness or pretentiousness that most people associate with fine dining experiences.Â Executive Chef Kristen Cofrades has created a menu that is straightforward and approachable, but with a unique twist.
Originally from Illinois, she eventually lived in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she tested water samples from the Horsetooth resevoir.Â After realizing this was not what she wanted to be doing the rest of her life, she received her culinary degree from the Art Institute of Colorado, right here in Denver.Â She then developed her culinary career with Omni Hotels, working her way up from Pastry Cook to Executive Chef.
She has won numerous awards including:
-Chef of the Year, 2006 (Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association)
-James Beard Dinner, Modern Northwestern Spanish Cuisine, 2006
-Chaine de Rotissieurs, Colorado Baillage, Culinary Excellence Award of Merit
-Certified in Sanitation, Nutrition, and Management and Supervision by The American Culinary Federation
I recently had the opportunity to briefly sit down and visit with Chef Kristen, and had the pleasure of asking her a few questions.
1) What made you want to become a Chef?
“I was always cooking as a kid.Â I grew up in a military family, which meant traveling around a lot.Â As a result I was exposed to many different cultures and their cuisines.”
2) If there was ONE word to describe your cooking style, what would it be?
“SIMPLE.Â I like to live by the motto ‘keep it simple stupid’ and it is reflected in my cooking.Â Too many people nowadays try to incorporate too many ingredients in their food, and it gets to the point where the flavors just end up masking each other.”
3) What sort of cultures have influenced your cooking style?
“I would have to say I have been influenced a lot by Spanish and South American ingredients and cooking styles.Â When cooking, I like to keep foods authentic without trying to ‘Americanize’ them”
4) How would you describe the Randolph’s experience to someone who has never been?
“I would tell them to expect straightforward, approachable cuisine with a twist.Â We are getting away from the stuffiness of most upscale restaurants and are more focusing on creating a memorable dining experience, which I feel is one of the most important parts of any meal.”
5) What are your favorite dishes here at Randolph’s?
“For lunch, I love the Flatiron Steak.Â The recipe came from my dad, and is best described as ‘summer on a plate’.Â For dinner, I would have to say the Sirloin Chicharron.Â We also offer a great Sunday brunch menu as well.”
6) There has been a huge surge in the “Green” movement these days.Â How do you “stay green”?
“I use Colorado lamb in my dishes, and we get fresh seasonal produce from the same local suppliers of Colorado supermarkets.Â We buy local and organic whenever possible. Â We are also currently in talks with creating a partnership with a local compost company.”
7) What is the best part of Denver’s culinary scene?
“Local chefs are really dynamic.Â Someone is always pushing the barrier and there is a lot of trailblazing going on, which constantly creates new and exciting experiences.”
Many thanks to Chef Kristen Colfrades.Â Stop by and check out Randolph’s for yourself on the corner of 18th Ave. and Grant St. in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood.
Randolph’s Restaurant and Bar
1776 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203