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DO Chef Panel: Should Restaurants Get Political?

Our DO Chef Panel talks politics

There are three things that you shouldn’t discuss at the dinner table: religion, sex, and politics. However, with the mass influx of political news being thrown at our faces—from nonstop TV coverage to political posts in our newsfeeds—at this point, it’s almost unavoidable to not discuss it. A handful of local restaurateurs and food writers alike have addressed the political climate in their own way, from exploring cuisine from the seven banned countries to holding resistance dinners. This month we asked our chefs:

“How important do you think it is for restaurateurs to make a political stance? How far would you go in your resistance to policy?”

resistance dinner

Overseen at Illegal Pete’s

“The policy for Proto’s has always been inclusive. We will stay true to our business tenets, and offer a safe place to work.”—Pam Proto, Proto’s Pizza

“I think it is very important to support free speech and to support solidarity with people who feel oppressed or victimized. It’s entirely up to the individual as to how they want to express their own voice. I don’t make a political stance on behalf of the business. As a business, we have supported our individual employees to do what they feel they need to do. We don’t reprimand or fault them for leveraging their voices or their freedoms. They are not penalized for missing work if they march or demonstrate. All we ask is they inform us if they need time off to make a stance. I have very personal feelings about this administration but in no way do I force my views on my employees. It’s up to them to do what they think is right.”—Hosea Rosenberg, Blackbelly

“As an immigrant myself, I understand and appreciate the hard work that immigrants have contributed to this country. However, we want our restaurant to be a place where everyone will feel welcome to come as they are, enjoy a good meal, and get away from politics and troubles.”—Bradford Kim, Cherry Hills Sushi Co

High Point Creamery

Some restaurants have created dishes to express their political views, like the new flavor at High Point Creamery “I’m Peach Mint”. The ice cream shop will donate 10-percent of all pint sales of “I’m Peach Mint” sorbet to the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.

“We respect the rights of all people in our city, state, country, and the world for that matter. Our duty is to serve those that choose to dine with us while providing an environment that is free from the daily stresses and distractions while they are with us, and believe that part of this is not pushing our political views and opinions on our customer’s (or potential customers for that matter) to advance our own political agenda.” —Dory Ford, Baur’s Restaurant & Listening Lounge

“I do not support the current administration. I gave my immigrant employees (mostly Mexican) a monetary bonus on immigrant day, to show my solidarity with them. But I am reserving myself and my restaurants from political topics at this time.”—Alec Schuler, Arugula and Tangerine

The DiningOut (DO) Chef Panel serves as the voice of culinary talent in Denver, Boulder, and beyond. These 70-plus chefs answer our burning questions about the local dining scene, cooking, and food trends on a monthly basis.

Curated by Morgan Carter, Editor