Alex Seidel of Denver's Mercantile Dining & Provisions in Union Station and Fruition, as well as his own Fruition Farms Dairy and Creamery in Larkspur, earned a spot on Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef list in 2010, was called was called Chef of the Year in 2009 by Denver Magazine and 5280 Magazine in 2008, and has been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef, Southwest honor numerous times.
Why do you choose to live and cook in Colorado?
After moving to Vail in 1999, I first fell in love with the mountains and the weather and scenery of Colorado. After learning about the ingredients that Colorado is known for, you start to understand the challenges of finding quality products. It has been rewarding to have helped to push the food system here to evolve where it is today. Now we have greater access to more farmers, quality ingredients and a better food culture.
What defines Colorado's food scene and sets it apart?
We are landlocked, which is one thing that really sets us apart. I think the Colorado food scene is about the people and the lifestyle and the evolution of the desires that our guests have wanted. I’m not so sure that there is a Colorado cuisine, but I do know that Colorado residents are asking for healthier options, a source for where their food came from and a commitment to quality.
Any Colorado food trends to watch out for?
I am not really into trends. It is just great to see that Colorado cuisine is always evolving and has become a dining destination that people around the country and around the world are noticing.
What is your favorite Colorado product to highlight in a dish?
Colorado lamb paired with Fruition Farms' sheep's-milk cheeses
What are your favorite things to do in Colorado in your free time?
What free time…!? Get outdoors, spend time with my family, entertain.
What are your Colorado culinary recommendations for visitors?
I would definitely visit a brewery, like Great Divide. Check out a distillery like Leopold Bros., who are committed to the source and grains they use. I would recommend some of the great restaurants that we have including Cholon, beast + bottle and Señor Bear. Also, it was an honor to be hosting Slow Foods Nations (July 13–18, 2018) in Denver this past summer — we are really excited about Denver being its home.
Read a Q&A with two local cheftestants from this season of "Top Chef" >>
See recaps from this season, including how to visit the places seen on the show >>