I've long been impressed with the performance of the Metate Room Restaurant at Mesa Verde National Park, and now the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chefs Association has weighed in by honoring Executive Chef Brian Puett as one of six winners of the association's inaugural "Award of Culinary Excellence."
The culinary excellence awards are based on a variety of criteria, including menu selection, creativity, presentation, taste and the restaurant’s support of local Colorado cuisine. The award highlighted Metate Room Restaurant’s involvement with “Colorado Proud,” a program created by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to promote Colorado food and agricultural products, according to a release from ARAMARK, the concessionaire that runs the restaurant and the Far View Lodge at Mesa Verde.
Last summer Chef Puett competed in the Colorado State Fair cook-off as a part of the program.
“ARAMARK’s chefs are known for creating regional dishes that incorporate sustainable cuisine and organic ingredients, and Metate Room Restaurant and Chef Puett are shining examples of that commitment,” said Judith Swain, director of sales and marketing of ARAMARK at Mesa Verde.
“On behalf of ARAMARK Parks and Destinations and Metate Room Restaurant, it is an honor to receive this prestigious award that encourages and recognizes chefs who incorporate sustainable and locally-grown ingredients in their menus,” said Executive Chef Puett.
Chef Puett became head chef of Metate Room Restaurant in early 2009 and has since continued the tradition of creating contemporary interpretations of heritage foods from the original Mesa Verde inhabitants, while maintaining ARAMARK’s commitment to incorporating sustainable and organic ingredients in all menus. His signature dessert “Napoleon Looking West” features locally-grown grilled seasonal fruit, layered with sweet mascarpone cream, crispy wontons and kissed with a java-caramel sauce.
"Metate Room Restaurant is a distinguished leader among its peers and embodies the very best of Colorado culinary excellence," said Joan Brewster, executive director of the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chefs Association. "As the only restaurant located within a national park to receive this award, we are honored to highlight the fine work of Metate Room Restaurant's culinary staff and their dedication to offering guests the finest homegrown cuisine Colorado has to offer."
For a complete list of award winners and more information, please visit www.acfcoloradochefs.org. For more information on Metate Room Restaurant, Far View Lodge and Mesa Verde National Park, please visit www.visitmesaverde.com.