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Moonlight dinner series | february 10, 2019

Chef Kelly Whitaker

Join us for our first chef collaboration. During this special, one-night-only experience, Kelly Whitaker, chef-owner of Basta and The Wolf's Tailor, will be moonlighting in our kitchen with Chef Duncan Holmes and his team. Chef Kelly travels the world with a curious hunger that advises his aesthetic and cuisine, ultimately enriching our local dining community in a remarkable way. This evening's menu will have each chef bringing their best dishes. It's a delicious arrangement of flavor and style that should not be missed.

Chef Kelly’s menu offers eight courses. Please allow two-and-a-half hours for your dining experience.

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Chef Kelly Whitaker holds a degree in Hospitality Management from Colorado State University, but the world has provided his real schooling. Early in his career, he studied abroad at Hotel Institute Montreux in Switzerland. This led him to his first culinary stint in Italy on the island of Procida, off the coast of Naples. It was there he fell in love with simple wood fired eateries. 

He then changed his focus and moved to Los Angeles where Michelin Star restaurants became his culinary teachers. Whitaker perfected his craft as an opening cook at the one-Michelin-starred Hatfield’s, and then continuing as a fish cook with the two-Michelin-starred Providence.

In 2008, Whitaker moved to Boulder, Colo., and co-founded Id Est Hospitality Group. In January 2010, he opened his first restaurant, Basta. Centered around wood-fired, comfort, farm-based Italian plates, Basta means “enough” in Italian, which reflects the restaurant's passion for creating flavors from hearth, sourcing through innovation, and foraged foods. Basta has received numerous accolades, including being named number two on 5280’s“Best Restaurants” list in 2016 and top 25 in the most recent issue. In addition to Basta, The groups newest concept The Wolf’s Tailor which will focus on a conversation between Italian Spiedini cooked in the style of kushiyaki and house milled durum semolina for extruded pasta in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Denver.

Kelly believes strongly in responsibly sourcing ingredients, and is an active member and local leader of the national organization Chefs Collaborative. He also sits on the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. He recently founded Noble Grain Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use of domestic milled-to-order grains. The group’s mission is to educate local farmers about – and encourage them to grow – local grain, through a partnership with University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, while simultaneously creating a demand for the grain from local chefs.

Kelly and his restaurants have received local, regional and national acclaim. In 2014 Kelly was named the Chef of the Year by Eater Denver and received the Heart of the Collaborative award from Chefs Collaborative. In 2015 he was named5280’sBest Chef and in 2016 his restaurant Basta came in second on5280magazine's Best 25 Restaurant list, and he was again named Chef of the Year by Eater Denver for both the Readers and Editor’s choice. Most recently, he was named the2017 StarChefs Colorado Rising Stars “Community Chef” of the year and received the San Pelligrino “Game Changer” award for his forward thinking processes.