By JOANNE DAVIDSON | firstname.lastname@example.org | The Denver Post
The chefs who create all the delicious food served at Denver Health’s 2017 Hot Rocks Griller Challenge don’t spend all their time behind the grill. Just like the 1,000 ticket-holders, they sample and vote for their favorites, too.
So when this al fresco fundraiser for the Denver Health Urology Clinic concludes, there are two sets of winners.
Tyler Wiard, culinary director for the John Elway family of restaurants, won the popular vote for the Colorado 7X wagyu burger sliders that he created on behalf of Elway’s Cherry Creek. The chefs picked the fried Basque burger from Jorel Pierce and Adam Branz of Ultreia.
Guests awarded second place to Troy Guard’s FNG Beef Burger, which paired a patty of premium hamburger with smoked pork belly, a buttermilk onion ring, Coca-Cola barbecue sauce and aged cheddar. Second place in the chefs’ voting went to Paul C. Reilly of Beast + Bottle and Coperta, whose porchetta slider was topped with broccoli rabe conserva, aged provolone and crispy pig skin.
Guests and chefs alike agreed on the third-place finisher: Mike Winston from Table 6, who filled a King’s roll with sticky pork shoulder, rhubarb and chipotle aioli.
Denver Health Foundation board member Steve Clark chaired the event with his three children: Monica Clark Peterson, Laura Clark and Bruce Clark.
Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne; Peggy and former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan; Denver Health’s new chief executive, Robin Wittenstein; Dr. Fernando Kim, the hospital’s chief of urology; and Paula Herzmark, executive director of the Denver Health Foundation were among those enjoying the variety of sliders prepared by chefs that also included Pat Gruber (Continental Sausage/CharcutNuvo); Marco Ugarte (Elway’s at the Ritz-Carlton Denver); Jamey Fader (Lola); Patrick Kelly (Panzano); Frank Bonanno and Trevor Gaughan (Russell’s Smokehouse); Goose Sorensen (Solera) and Nicholas Kayser ( Vesta).
Michael Bortz provided an assortment of sweets from his City Bakery; music was by Chris Daniels and the Kings and Mile High Sports Radio host Les Shapiro was master of ceremonies.
Others enjoying the festivities were Josh Hanfling, chair of the Denver Foundation board; banker presidents Bruce Alexander (Vectra Bank) and Vince Abrue (Sunflower Bank); Doug Friednash, chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper; Sage Hospitality chief Walter Isenberg; attorney Craig Fleishman; Realtor Rollie Jordan; Dr. Adrienne Stewart with hubby Dan Boyle; Quinn Washington; and Columbine Health Plan founder David McReynolds.