2nd Annual Toques & ‘Tails: Denver’s best chefs and bartenders go head to head

Ryan Layman of Ace Eat & Serve (Photo: Toques & 'Tails)

Ryan Layman of Ace Eat & Serve (Photo: Toques & ‘Tails)

Tomorrow, May 22, eight of Denver’s best food and cocktail restaurants will compete in the second annual Toques & ‘Tails. The event, presented by Culinary Connectors and held at Cassleman’s Bar & Venue (2620 Walnut St.) aims to celebrate and promote the combined culinary and beverage talent at local restaurants by featuring a team from the same restaurant. Tickets are still available ($45 GA, $75 VIP), visit the Toques & ‘Tails website to purchase.

This year’s competitors are:

Restaurant Chef Bartender
Old Major Justin Brunson Raquel Tully
TAG Troy Guard Gerard Collier
Central Bistro & Bar Matt Selby James Menkal
The Corner Office Rich Byers Ben Anderson
The Squeaky Bean Theo Adley Brian Smith
Ace Eat & Serve Brandon Biederman Ryan Layman
Lower48 Kitchen Alex Figura Brandon Brough
Session Kitchen Scott Parker Michael Cerretani


Brandon Brough of Lower48 Kitchen (Photo: Toques & 'Tails)

Brandon Brough of Lower48 Kitchen (Photo: Toques & ‘Tails)

From 7 – 9 p.m. (VIP starts at 6 p.m.) guests will have the opportunity to sample food and cocktail pairings from each of the participating restaurants and chat with Colorado ambassadors including editors from local publications, chefs, bartenders, and industry advocates. Then the judging will begin.

Each restaurant will be critiqued by a panel of out-of-state judges including Anu Apte, renowned bartender and owner of Rob Roy in Seattle and Tiffany Derry, chef and restaurant consultant (you may also recognize her from Top Chef and Spike TV’s Bar Rescue).

Two rounds of judging will take place. The first will be a compulsory round for bartenders in which they will be asked to make a classic recipe and cocktail respectively. The second round will be a food and beverage pairing during which the culinary team will be critiqued on one dish and one cocktail pairing.

The professional judges will determine winners in four different categories: Compulsory Cocktail, Best Dish, Best Cocktail, and Best Dish & Cocktail Pairing.

In addition to the professional judging awards, there will also be a People’s Choice Winner in three different categories: Best Dish, Best Cocktail, and Best Dish & Cocktail Pairing.

This year’s Toques & ‘Tails event benefits Share Our Strength, a non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.

(Photo: Toques & 'Tails)

(Photo: Toques & ‘Tails)

About Sarah Haughey

Editor, Denver off the Wagon. Sarah is a native of the "Napa Valley of beer," but her beer-drinking roots stretch all the way back to the Emerald Isle where Haughey (Haw-hee) is famous. Sure, our name may have got it's rap from the corrupt prime minister, but we like to think it stands strong due to our long-standing ability to pound a few too many pints. After stints on the East Coast and in San Francisco, Sarah came running back to Denver where her full-time job is exploring all the city's new craft breweries one sip at a time. Follow me @sarahhaughey4 to see where I'm grabbing a beer or for news about local breweries. Like to cook? Me too, check out: Lifewithalittlespice.com