The 8th Annual WomenCook! Dining for a Difference

Work Options for Women

COME ONE, COME ALL, to a tasting of the finest food your tum-tums will ever get an opportunity to receive. If you haven’t been before, you’d best hope it’s not too late to buy a seat. On Monday evening, May 7, 2012, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Temple Emanuel (51 Grape Street, Denver), the most bestest, most wonderful, most enchanting female chefs will prepare a dish or maybe two, to demonstrate their culinary skills at the same time raising lotsa money so that the Work Options for Women (WOW) program can continue helping low-income women gain the skills and confidence necessary to move out of the cycle of poverty and into a life of long-term independence and self-sufficiency. WOW operates a culinary training program coupled with a job placement program so that these women can find meaningful employment in the food service industry.

Patty Calhoun, founder and editor of Westword, will be the emcee. She has been a supporter of Work Options and is involved in several projects. She is well-respected as a journalist nationally and particularly in the alternative weekly world of journalism. Patty recently served on a Pulitzer committee. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear her, you’re missing out. Patty is personable, warm, witty and entertaining.

Check in starts at 6:00 p.m., with time to peruse the silent auction items. Dinner will start promptly at 6:15 p.m. Concurrent with the dinner there will be a silent auction, featuring a variety of food-related goods and services. The money raised will go directly toward training students, finding housing, and assisting with other life necessities.

If you go, you’ll meet the best women chefs in town and you’ll get to taste their best offerings. I’m sorry to report that there will be no sangies, but this year there will be a burger. You will not have to listen to a lengthy program. Yeah, there’s a program, but you can eat until you drop — as long as you don’t dilly-dally. You’ll be out the door by 8:30 pm, guaranteed.

Let’s get right to the goodie list.

At press time, these are the chefs and their menus:

Bistro Vendome — Dana Rodriguez
1424-H Larimer Street, Denver
303-825-3232 •

Open for dinner every night and also for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The fare is classic French cuisine using local seasonal ingredients. Get ready for spring and summer cuz the outdoor patio will open soon. The food is superb. Very Very. Chef Rodriguez will prepare a Rhubarb Puff Pastry Tart with foie gras mousse and micro salad.

Café Options (WOW) — Craig Dixon
(he’s a guy)
1650 Curtis Street, Denver
303-573-0733 •

Open Monday thru Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Serves American fare for breakfast and lunch. Everything is made from scratch including house-roasted meats and hand-crafted sangies. There is a full service coffee bar. Chef Dixon will serve their popular Colorado lamb with goat cheese, hummus (ugh!) and cucumber. He will also serve asparagus quiche with gruyere. Hold dat hummus. Y’all know that hummus is a cross between hominy and pummus… LOL. Sure tickles me. OK, you spell it pumice, but it don’t sound as good.

DBar Desserts — Lisa Bailey
1475 East 17th Avenue, Denver
303-861-4710 •

Open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday and Monday, 11a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday thru Thursday and ‘til midnite on Friday and Saturday. They serve lite meals and plated desserts. Best chocolate chip cookie in town. Chef Bailey will offer Tropical Verrine with passion fruit panna cotta, coconut cream and mango chutney.

Elway’s Cherry Creek — Aniedra Nichols
2500 East 1st Avenue, Denver
303-399-5353 •

Serving lunch and dinner seven days. Co-owned by former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, this is the see and be seen of Cherry Creek serving steaks and other fine fare. The burger is yummy. Chef Nichols will prepare beef brisket (muh fav) with Kimchi Lettuce Wrap, and sambal mayonnaise, a chili-based sauce that might warm the cockles of your heart…

Gaetano’s — Rhonda Banks
3760 Tejon Street, Denver
303-455-9852 •

Hours are every day with Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Yes, this is the same fine eatery that has a “checkered” past. I know the Chauncey Burger is a real “killer.” Seriously, the restaurant passed to the Wynkoop family of eateries and is serving the same terrific Italian fare of yesteryear. Chef Banks will prepare bruschetta with fava beans and radish, and sweet pea bisque. No s.

Gateaux (French Bakery) — Kathleen Kenny Davia
1160 Speer Boulevard, Denver
303-376-0070 •

Hours are Tuesday thru Friday 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. Both Chef Davia and Chef Brad High are formerly of the Brown Palace Hotel. You don’t come with better credentials that that. Chef Davia will serve assorted Spring tea cookies, chocolate lover’s cake pops and carrot cake petit fours. Why are there no petite fives?

Hyatt — Sandra Adams
1750 Welton Street, Denver
303-295-1234 •

This four-star hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily in its inviting restaurant, 1876.
Chef Adams will prepare Cherry and Honeyed Goat Cheese Tart, apricot and pistachio frangipane tart, and chocolate whiskey caramel tart. Remember last year chef prepared them wondrous whoopee pies, so you can imagine how good these tarts will be.

Jax Fish House — Sheila Lucero
1539 17th Street, Denver

Dinner is served nightly, serving fresh
seafood at its very finest. Best calamari in town.
Chef Lucero will prepare ahi tuna, cucumber tabbouleh tamarind vinaigrette.

Panzano — Elise Wiggins
1717 Champa Street, Denver
303-296-3525 •

Since the restaurant serves the Hotel Monaco, it’s open for most meals daily. Check their website for specific times and days. They serve contemporary northern Italian cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. Sunday brunch is extra special here.
Chef Wiggins will serve Rabbit Gnocchi, Marinated Slow Roasted Tomato, fines herbs, Gorgonzola, leeks, mushrooms and shallots. All on one dish. Yo!

Parallel 17 and Street Kitchen — Mary Nguyen
1600 East 17th Avenue, Denver
303-399-0988 •
10111 Inverness Main Street, Englewood

Open for lunch Monday thru Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner nitely. Serving traditional and modern Vietnamese fare with a French influence. Chef Nguyen will prepare five spice braised lamb, Asian ratatouille, nida polenta. From SK she will prepare Sea Bass Tartare and sweet potato chips.

Project Angel Heart — Summer Polson & Ashly Quibodeaux

The fine folks from this local charity that serves thousands of meals to those in need are showing their culinary talents. Chefs will serve Duck Confit Tacos with mango salsa and queso fresco. I luv duck confit.

Spuntino — Yasmin Lozada-Hisson & Dorina Miller
2639 W. 32nd Ave, Denver
303-433-0949 •

Spuntino is a new neighborhood eatery serving Italian-inspired cooking. They serve lunch Mon – Sat and dinner every nite except Sunday. Our old friend, Chef John Broening, supervises the kitchen. These two deliteful and talented ladies with prepare a Sweet Pea Pesto and homemade ricotta bruschetta. Chef Hissom was nominated for the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” for the James Beard Foundation awards in 2011.

WaterCourse — Rachel Kesley
837 E. 17th Ave, Denver
303-832-7313 •

For the past 14 years WaterCourse Foods and WaterCourse Foods Bakery enjoyed local, national and international acclaim for its lovingly prepared vegetarian comfort food and sumptuous baked goods.

Chef Kesley will prepare Seared Baked Bean Polenta with vegan smoked Gouda, cherry reduction and corn shoots, and Beet & Arugula Salad with hazelnut crusted goat cheese & spiced chorizo.

WOW Café — Paul Schutt & Assistant Chef Instructors
1200 Federal Blvd, Denver
720-944-1920 •

WOW (Work Options for Women) operates the programs that you are supporting tonight. They also operate the WOW Café for employees of the building. They serve a limited breakfast and lunch. It is not open to the public, but they do welcome folks to come and see the students in action. The chefs will prepare flight of meataballs: beef bourguignon, chicken lemongrass, and lamb and mint keffedes (Greek meataballs). I do luv meataballs.

The cost of a ticket is still $125 per person. For more information, call 720-944-1913 or visit WOW on line at Check out the list of employer partners and patronize those employers. Please.

A final note. Those of you with allergies need to check with the chef at each table to make sure something you may react to isn’t in the dish. Don’t ask the server cuz he or she may not have a clue. If in doubt, be safe and don’t eat anything you’re not comfortable with.


Jay Fox covers the culinary beat for The Statesman.

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