Cooking at the National Indian Health Board Awards Gala-Denver, CO

I have been in Denver, CO for a few days now. The NIHB conference is right downtown so I have gotten to get out and see a little here and there. This is my first time to the “Mile High City” this is in reference to the elevation of the city- While it has not bothered me, some of the other conference attendees have suffered from elevation sickness… I have noticed being slightly winded when working in the kitchen and the mighty fine selection of micro brews seems to hit me as well. Keeping hydrated has been a must.

A highlight was eating at RiojaRioja A super sexy Mediterranean inspired restaurant highlighting local Colorado ingredients. The restaurant is tucked away on Larimer Street next to cute boutiques and other local restaurants.
I sat at the food bar in the back of the restaurant, it was too high to watch much of the kitchen action, but I did watch the food as it was leaving the kitchen. I had the braised pork belly over a curried chick pea puree and a gnocchi dish-all pastas are hand made !

Tonight I am cooking the awards gala:
First Course- Corn soup with a “three sisters salsa”
Highlighting traditional foods of America’s First People. The three sisters is corn, squash and beans.
Together they offer nearly complete nutrition and depend on each other while growing- the corn provides structure for the beans to grow, and both provide shade for the squash.

Entree- Grilled Buffalo (provided by the Intertribal Buffalo Council) is skewered and served with a honey lavender drizzle. AK salmon is offered with a rose hip vinaigrette and a wild rice squash cake rounds out the plate.
The goal was to offer traditional foods from across The First Nations with contemporary recipes.
I am very proud of the offerings!

Dessert-Bites: Corn cake with caramel and maple cream, rosemary bannock with cran-apple chutney, pumpkin pie with goat cheese and cinnamon.

It has been a real pleasure working with the National Indian Health Board and presenting what I do to this impressive group of people!

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