Chef Hosea Rosenberg of Boulder's Blackbelly and Santo was the winner of "Top Chef" season 5. He's also won numerous other accolades, including Best Chef Denver International Wine Festival and Guest Chef at the James Beard House, and he was recognized by the United States Small Business Administration as a "business owner inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation." Originally from Taos, New Mexico, Hosea's culinary path began while earning a degree in engineering physics at the University of Colorado, where he quickly realized his work in the kitchen was his true passion.
Why do you choose to live and cook in Colorado?
I fell in love with Colorado a very long time ago. I have been coming here my entire life. After going to CU Boulder, I thought I would move on — which I did for a time — but I can't seem to stay away for long! We have amazing weather, great outdoors, access to so many activities, we are central in the states and it just feels right to me to be here.
What defines Colorado's food scene and sets it apart?
I think cooking with the best local ingredients has become a mantra for a lot of chefs here. I also think the pace of life in Colorado — one that is a bit slower than cities like New York — helps ease the hectic work that we all do. It's great to "stop and smell the roses" as they say. The meats, produce, foraged goods and specialty products that are only found here make it a really exciting place and time to cook.
Any Colorado food trends to watch out for?
I think the butchery thing has really taken off and we are proud to be leaders in that scene. And foraging and working with hyper-local ingredients is certainly something that the best local chefs are focusing on.
What is your favorite Colorado product to highlight in a dish?
There are a lot of Colorado ingredients that I love to highlight — lamb, beef and pork are all awesome; Olathe corn, Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford melons and other local produce really excite me.
What are your favorite things to do in Colorado in your free time?
Right now my free time is spent playing with my baby girl. Other than that, I love to ski, bike, hike, camp and road trip around the state.
What are your Colorado culinary recommendations for visitors?
The Boulder Farmers Market is a must! If you're in Boulder, my favorite restaurants (besides Blackbelly and Santo) are Oak, Basta, Arcana and Locale; and in Denver, I think you can never go wrong with The Source or Denver Central Market for a cool experience with some variety. As far as restaurants, I really like Mercantile and El Five. Recently I went to Bar Fausto and loved the vibe and hospitality, and I was impressed with the menu they were doing with very little equipment and space — they basically have no kitchen.
Read a Q&A with two local cheftestants from this season >>
See recaps from this season, including how to visit the places seen on the show >>