Query Me This


Farmers Are My Heroes

I’ve never met a farmer who wasn’t the hardest working person I’ve ever met. In the days before skippy chefs said “We are farm-to-table,” it was always farm-to-table when things were growin’. Pickin’ in the morning at a farm and going into work with the goods was called gettin shit to cook tonight on the way into work. The early farmers I knew selling to restaurants had a hard go of it. We were unreliable, our needs changed often and some of us didn’t pay our bills. A farmer would get asked to grow something very specific, which they’d commit […]

Chef She’s Adventures In NYC: Cooking Sustainable Seafood at the James Beard Foundation House

Last week, I had the very exciting opportunity to fly to New York City to cook at the James Beard Foundation house. This wasn’t my first time cooking at the James Beard House—that was way back in 2007 when I did a fall seafood dinner there with then-Jax Fish House chef Hosea Rosenberg. But cooking at the house is always an incredible experience. It’s an actual house in the city, with a teeny-tiny kitchen that’s incredible to cook in. The hoods to the oven are like six feet high, but it’s amazing in every way. I was there to cook […]

It’s Been a Wild Ride

Twenty-Five Years is a Long Time.  It’s a long time to be married, it’s a long time to have a friend, it’s a long time to be in business, and it’s definitely a long time to not wear any pants. It is 1,612 Friday nights and 22,630 staff pre-shifts before service. Hundreds of thousands of phone rings. Millions and millions of guests coming in to relax and restore. We just celebrated our 25th Anniversary at ZOLO Grill last month. So many milestones and boxes checked over that time period.  Almost every restaurant open in Boulder today didn’t exist then – except for […]

Chef Sheila’s Travels: From Sustainable Seafood Advocacy In Washington D.C. to Cooking at the James Beard Gala in Chicago

    May has already been a busy month for me! I was in Washington D.C. last week with three other chefs—Daniele Leoni, Bun Lai, and Sam Monsour—and some of the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) team. I’ve been working with the Monterey Bay as a member of the sustainability focused Blue Ribbon task force for a while now, and I traveled to the capitol with them a couple years ago. This time we were there to present the Portland Pact to members of Congress. The Portland Pact is a document that a group of us chefs, along with the MBA, […]

Sheila off the Hook

  Earlier this month, I had an amazing opportunity to join the first ever Off the Hook dinner at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky. This “celebration of animals, vegetables, and minerals from the pond to the sea” featured lots of local chefs, plus ten chefs (including yours truly) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. I was joined by Chef Rob Monahan, chef de cuisine at Jax in Boulder, who helped me prep and prepare our course. Often times with out of state events like this, you don’t know what kind of setup you’ll be given to cook […]

A Salty Wave Shot To The Face

  “He was a bold man who first ate an oyster” said Jonathon Swift. No shit on that one, right? Can you imagine what that moment was like. Busting open a rock, with another rock, and then making the commitment to slurp down that briny grey, medium sized mammal liver that was probably the size of your foot. Oysters back then would have been huge. Must have been the very happiest day of that early homo sapien’s life, to plunk that briny pillow of salty loveliness into his or her mouth. I wonder how many dozens they all ate that […]

Chef She’s Blue Ribbon Task Force Conference- Portland, OR

  One of my favorite things about being a chef is the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Today’s complex network of farmers and fishermen, purveyors and producers, chefs and restaurateurs, means that what we eat and how we eat it connects us all in an intricate and fascinating way. Our tiny little restaurant in the middle of the country, hundreds of miles from any coast, has deep ties to auctioneers at the Honolulu Fish Market, family fishermen on the Taku River in Alaska, and third generation oyster farmers on the Chesapeake Bay. When we prepare […]

Southern Soul Juice

  We in the restaurant business, for the most part, didn’t just fall into this craziness. It was in our bones and movements from an early age. Here is another “movement” from mine.   Last summer, in a moment of early morning clarity, I called my friend Chef Susan Spicer in New Orleans and asked her a favor. Susan is a pretty big deal in NoLa and was an early instigator of both the New and Regional American Cuisine movements. In the mid 80’s, she opened “Bistro at The Hotel Maison de Ville” and 8 years later, Bayona – which […]

Neevher Evhah Tuch Da Qweeene

My Early Days of Food and Beverage   We in the restaurant business, for the most part, didn’t just fall into this craziness. It was in our bones and movements from an early age. Here is another “movement” from mine.   In the summer of 1983, I was in Hudson, OH, at a family reunion. I’m watching 60 Minutes on a Sunday night, and I see a story about Malcolm Forbes and his yacht, The Highlander. Recognizing the yellow neckerchief of the chef’s assistant on the show as that of a fellow Culinary Institute of America student, I immediately typed a letter to Mr. Forbes himself (heck, why […]

Chef She’s Coastal Culture Trippin’

Chef She’s Coastal Culture Trippin’ : Hawaii 2018   Our intrepid leader, Chef Sheila Lucero, is always seeking out fresh ideas for the table and diving into the local culture of coastal communities across the globe. From Japan to New England to the Great Northwest, her adventures have led her to some beautiful places. And while we can’t all go with her, lucky for us she always comes back with some inspired dishes to share. Her most recent sojourn was to Paradise of the Pacific, the Hawaiian Islands. Famous around the globe for its picturesque landscape, white sandy beaches, and […]