In our most recent issue of DiningOut Denver/Boulder, we highlighted 40 iconic restaurateurs and restaurants that are shaping Colorado’s culinary landscape. Among them was the inimitable Bradford Heap—and for good reason. The French-trained maître, who trained under renowned Alain Ducasse, has turned cooking on its head. Instead of painting plates with dozens of ingredients and feeding artistic whimsy by dolling up the tried-and-true, he has focused unwaveringly on the provenance of ingredients.
It’s little wonder, then, that his three concepts—Colterra in Niwot alongside SALT and Wild Standard in Boulder—are rooted in sustainability and seasonality. But, opines the self-described gentle giant, there’s more to this responsibility than calling ingredients out by name, or crafting menus that tap keywords like “organic” and “free-range.” Walk the talk, he admonishes, because our health is at stake.
To that end, Heap concentrates on sourcing. As chance would have it, that unwavering attention recently led to a relationship with fishing guide Devon Hernandez in Alaska. “I make it a habit to go on a yearly fishing trip with my brother in Yakatak Bay—a small area situated on the tail of Alaska,” he says. After several years, Hernandez told Heap he wanted to start commercial fishing—an opportunity the chef seized right away.
With the help of nearby Bristol Bay Lodge, the two have built an unheard-of supply chain: Line-caught king salmon sail from the chilly waters of Yakatak, straight to proprietary shipping containers with bay-temperature cooling packs, to Wild Standard’s doorstep. Lately, that supply has grown to include spot prawns—sweet, meaty treats bundled with roe—and will likely include sockeye when the bronzed beauties are in season later this year.
For now, Heap is all about king salmon. Ranging in size from 10 pounds to more than 25, each fish offers an astoundingly unique richness. And while the shipments only started in December of last year, Heap is now rolling the product out on Wild Standard’s lunch menu.
Below is a look at how this delectable—and sustainable—new addition to the Wild Standard family is furthering Heap’s goal to make food better, more responsibly, and with a decided investment in how (and what) we eat.
With Restaurant Week nearly upon us, and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, these already popular new additions would make an ideal indulgence. And if you do drop by for a salmon or prawn tasting, be sure to ask for Chef Heap. His stories—and the passion they reveal—make for an unforgettable dining experience.
By Jeffrey Steen, Managing Editor