Boulder has the most exciting dining scene in all of Colorado, and Bradford Heap is one of the major players on that scene. He runs three of its most influential culinary establishments. We tagged along when Bradford went to a farmer’s market, and spoke to him about food culture and his most recent venture.
Hungry after the adventures of the day, we slip into the Salt Bistro and order a Toms Tavern Burger, along with a salad made with local shitake mushrooms picked by chef and owner Bradford Heap. He tells us that he does this every day: wanders around on the hills outside the town, and brings back food that then ends up on the evening menu at Salt or its sibling restaurant Colterra in the nearby village of Niwot. Bradford tells us about his passion.
– One thing that I noticed when I was working in Europe, in Southern France and Northern Italy, was that chefs over there adapt their menus to the seasons a lot more. They pay attention to what is available at what time, and then they use those ingredients. We´ve never really done it that way over here in the US. But now, a lot more of us are beginning to, and awareness is growing all the time. You have to use your senses, and of course, use the food that is available at the moment. Use your fingers, your nose, and your eyes — not to mention your heart! he exclaims.
Use your fingers, your nose, and your eyes — not to mention your heart!
It all began when Bradford was given a copy of the book The Omnivore´s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which gives a good explanation of how the agricultural industry works. Around that same time, he opened Colterra, and that was when he decided that he would no longer be supporting industrialized food production. He wanted to get away from pesticides and cynical corporate decisions in food production.
– In America, we vote with our credit cards, so what matters most is what we consume! Apart from that, I think that nature, the animals, and the way we treat them are all pretty much ignored; politics is all about money. We use organic and local ingredients, as much as we possibly can, although sometimes in the wintertime we have to bring in produce from California. These developments in Boulder have spread to Denver and to other places in Colorado. Now, we have a genuinely great dining scene here.
The next day, we meet at the market; Bradford wants to give us a more in-depth look at how it
operates. It is a vegetable market, where local farmers and growers come to sell their pumpkins,
tomatoes, apples, potatoes, jellies, marmalades, various chili fruits, and other things they have
grown in a responsible way. Chefs and private individuals show up here in great numbers. A local band is performing 60s pop songs from a small stage, and the little street is congested with Boulderians who are curiously inspecting the items for sale. Baskets are filled, and dinner menus are formed. I buy cucumber pickles, and Bradford buys chili fruits and bell peppers for the evening´s menu. He´s particularly pleased to get hold of a few boxes of apples from his favorite grower; it pretty much makes his day.
Bradford Heap’s Restaurants
Offers an exciting menu based on locally grown seasonal foods. Also has an inno
vative cocktail menu, and a good selection of craft beers.
1047 Pearl St
Located just outside Boulder. Fresh, locally grown produce from the nearby farms and the
restaurant’s own garden. Fine dining with an equally fine wine list.