Dale no `flash in the pan’ | AspenTimes.com

Dale no `flash in the pan’

Sarah S. Chung

Some of the country’s best chefs have just been nominated for the James Beard Foundation Award and among them is one of Aspen’s own.

For the second consecutive year, chef Charles Dale, owner of Renaissance Restaurant, has been nominated as one of the five best chefs in the Southwest region – which includes eight states.

“I’d say the James Beard Foundation is the Oscars of the food world,” Dale said. “And two nominations in two years is quite an honor.”

The awards ceremony will be held on May 5 in New York City, but for now the nomination is more than enough.

“I guess this qualifies me as not a flash in the pan,” Dale quipped.

But modesty aside, Dale is hardly a newcomer to the world of high-end cuisine – or accolades for his work. In the past four years, Dale has been named “Seafood Chef of the Year” by Simply Seafood Magazine and one of Food and Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs in America.”

When Dale first arrived in Aspen in 1988, he worked in the kitchens of the Hotel Jerome. Two years later, he opened Renaissance and began making a name for himself.

Aside from the formal accolades, Dale has also been featured in numerous trade and mainstream publications such as: Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The New York Times, The Denver Post, and the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

Naturally “excited” about the James Beard nomination and the chance to revisit his old stomping grounds in the Big Apple, Dale describes the awards ceremony as a great reunion of friends and colleagues.

“It’s a great opportunity to see friends from around the country and chefs really are like a brotherhood or sisterhood,” Dale said. “Besides, I apprenticed at Le Cirque and it’s sort of like going home.”

Extending a spirit of kinship to fellow Aspenites, Dale is again offering a locals’ tasting menu. Normally $85 for the five-course special, the locals’ price will be $55 for a limited time and the vegetarian menu is $20 lower, from $65 to $45.

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