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DO Chef Panel: Who is a Better Cook—You or Your Mom?

The DO Chef Panel talks moms for Mother's Day

Let’s face it, there is nothing like a homemade meal from Mom. For some of us, our earliest cooking memories came from Mom, whether it was a huge holiday feast or that one nostalgic comfort dish. In this month’s DO Chef Panel, in honor of Mother’s Day, we had to ask: Who is a better chef, you or your mom?

Olive and Finch

Photo by Morgan Carter

“No question, it’s me. My parents split up when I was young, and my sister and I spent most of our time at our mom’s house. She was a working nurse and didn’t always have time to cook for us. So I spent a lot of my early years making food for myself and my sister. It was usually just TV dinners or soup out of the can, but I developed a few basic skills early on. Since high school, I have been working in kitchens. I cook for my family now. The only thing my mom has on me is her chicken noodle soup with green chile. Otherwise, I win. Always. “—Hosea Rosenberg, Blackbelly

“My mom for sure. She has natural talent, I have to practice a lot!”—Tom Coohill, Coohills

“I’ve pulled inspiration from my mother in regards to cooking. She is one of the best cooks I know. She was born in Indonesia and always cooked her indigenous foods for our family. Ketjap manis, sambal olek, and krujpuk were standard pantry items in our house. She also spent time in Holland before moving to America and as a result is amazing at desserts. I crave her cheesecake, fruit tarts, German chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate chip cookies. I feel very fortunate to have been exposed to so many different ingredients growing up. If it weren’t for my mom, I don’t know if I would have ever become a chef. She definitely takes the cake as best cook in our family (pun intended).”—Merlin Verrier, The Kitchen Restaurant Group

“While I always loved and appreciated my mother’s cooking, I imagine she would have rather been doing something else with her free time. I’m a better chef because I really wanted to make my career as a chef. My mom was a home chef by default—but a wonderful one!”—Michael Shiell, Milk & Honey

“Definitely my mom—she’s actually a pastry chef and has taught me everything I know!”—Chris Cunningham, West Flanders Brewing Co.

“Well, this is an easy one…mom wins. She taught me the basics and made sure I knew more than just how to cook top ramen for myself before I moved out of the house. There may be a few items that I am better at cooking than she is (love you mom!), but not even on my best day can I beat my mom’s chicken enchiladas.”—Brandon Foster, Project Angel Heart

“This is one of the toughest questions I have had to answer, simply because my answer can get me in trouble. Years ago, I was asked if I would be interested in writing a cookbook. A few weeks later I told my Mother about the cookbook—she thought it was a great idea. She suggested I should have an introductory page telling a little bit about myself. I said, “I can talk about how I began to get interested in cooking at home at a young age due to your inability to cook.” Big mistake! The glow quickly drained her face and she said, “Excuse me?” I tried to recover and said, “I can talk about some of your cooking struggles, such as serving the bay leaves in your chili.” She looked straight through me with a piercing glare and said, “If you use me in your book I will sue you for defamation of character!” Needless to say, I stayed away from writing that cookbook.  I will say this about my loving Mother…she could mop the floor with me when it comes to baking Christmas cookies. If only it was Christmas every day.”—Joshua Bettis, Devil’s Thumb Ranch

“My mom—she’s a master when it comes to magically throwing things together with little to no ingredients in the house. Her resourcefulness allowed her the creativity to find a perfect balance, every time, between flavors, textures, and tastes. I love that she’s always able to make the most modest ingredients taste amazing.”—Mary Nguyen, Olive & Finch

“I hate to say it (sorry mom!), but me! The student has become the master.”—Dan Kane, Del Frisco’s Grille

“My Mom. Any day of the week. My mom makes great food, and I cook in her style. She is my inspiration. I gringo-fy her food and elevate it to another level.”—Bryant Reyes, Cochino Tacos

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