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API Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Carmen Gonzalez

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Centerplate Takes Mile High Hospitality To New Heights At Colorado Convention Center

Exciting food concepts featuring nationally-acclaimed chefs, including Denver's Troy Guard

DENVER, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Guests at the Colorado Convention Center will soon be treated to a redesigned and reenergized hospitality program, thanks to Convention Center hospitality partner Centerplate. Focused on making the program a true Colorado experience, Centerplate has assembled some of Denver's, and the country's, top culinary talent to join with Centerplate chefs to redesign the Center's food offerings.  Centerplate's own Executive Chef Carmen Callo has joined forces with three locally and nationally beloved chefs – Denver's own Troy Guard, as well as Roberto Santibanez, a renowned master of Mexican cuisine, and Bill Pustari, owner of the award-winning Modern Apizza.

Committed to reinforcing the Colorado Convention Center as one of the top meeting destinations in the United States, Centerplate will continue to improve the guest hospitality experience at the convention center by replacing and redesigning all of the Center's quick-serve dining options. The current Blue Bear Cafe will also get a refreshed look and menu. The new hospitality concepts include:

  • Chef Troy Guard's Grass-Fed Beef Burgers
  • Authentic Mexican Tortas with Chef Roberto Santibanez
  • Chef Bill Pustari's Crispy Thin Crust Pizza
  • Chef Carmen Callo's Little Blue Bear

Central to the new hospitality plans at the Colorado Convention Center is the extensive use of locally sourced Colorado ingredients, and local Colorado suppliers. There will also be an additional emphasis on sustainably sourced ingredients. Some of the produce, fruit and honey used by Centerplate's chefs will actually be harvested just feet from the kitchen at the Colorado Convention Center's urban farm, Blue Bear Farm, which Centerplate launched in July, 2012. Top among Centerplate's other local suppliers and partners are:

  • Continental Sausage
  • Il Mondo Vecchio Salumi
  • Aspen Baking Company
  • Koberstein Farms All Natural Angus Beef
  • Colorado Natural
  • New Belgium Brewing

"When we started this redesign we internally created a theme or identity to serve as the creative umbrella for the food, which we called 'WELCOME COLORADO'.  From local food sourcing, to the attitude and feel of the dishes, to the new signage that we developed with our Fort Collins based graphics team at Sam Cooper Design, in every way the approach is decidedly Colorado," said John Sergi, Chief Design Officer of Centerplate Stir, the design firm for the project.

"Colorado offers such a vast range of tastes and flavors and I'm thrilled to be part of a project that will showcase this," said Chef Troy Guard.  "Our Grass-Fed Beef Burgers will be crafted to spotlight the best ingredients of the region, giving visitors to the Convention Center a literal taste of Colorado."

"By combining one of Denver's most decorated local chefs with three culinary masters from across the country, we can say with complete confidence that the Colorado Convention Center can compete with any meeting destination in the country in terms of hospitality and guest experience," says Laurence Rua, General Manager for Centerplate at the Colorado Convention Center. "We're proud to help Colorado put it's best foot forward for the thousands of guests who come here from around the world."

"We know that a strong Colorado economy requires a strong Colorado Convention Center, and we're thrilled to be a part of making the local tourism and hospitality industries thrive," says Des Hague of Centerplate. "Our commitment is to firmly establish the Colorado Convention Center as the industry's meeting destination of choice, and to showcase the very best of what Colorado has to offer in cuisine and suppliers." 

Grass-Fed Beef Burgers
Guard's Grass-Fed Beef Burgers offers a mouth-watering, restaurant-quality burger: a seven -ounce, Koberstein Farms All Natural Angus Beef patty topped with a seasonal local cheese. A rotating side selection of skin-on fries will be offered such as Garlic Fries with Parsley and Parmesan Cheese.

Authentic Mexican Tortas
Chef Roberto Santibanez, a native of Mexico City and a graduate with honors from Paris's top culinary institutions, has created several authentic Mexican dishes for the Colorado Convention Center. Santibanez's Mexican style sandwiches are made with succulent braised beef or pork, roasted turkey, or grilled vegetables. They, along with other creations such as Watermelon and Cucumber Salad and his own fresh salsa and guacamole, will be served at the stand.

Crispy Thin Crust Pizza
Bill Pustari, one of the specialists at New Haven-style pizza, is bringing his famous pies to the Colorado Convention Center. Pustari uses locally-sourced ingredients together with Grande Mozzarella and the same lot of San Marzano tomatoes used at his own Modern Apizza in New Haven, Connecticut.

The selection of pies features traditional cheese and tomato, pepperoni using Il Mondo Vecchio Salumi local pepperoni, and a vegetarian Colorado seasonal version topped with local vegetables. The menu also offers a classic Caesar salad, a meatball marinara sandwich, a hot Italian cold cut grinder, and an Italian sausage sandwich, all made using local Polidori Sausage, Bread from Aspen Bakery, and Aspen Ridge Natural Beef.

Little Blue Bear
Chef Carmen Callo's menu features a variety of fresh, seasonal salads and sandwiches featuring produce from the Colorado Convention Center's own Blue Bear Farm and ingredients from throughout Colorado. Chef Callo has developed a Colorado Buffalo Sausage, a Colorado Pork Green Chili and even the Bratwurst will be infused with local brewer New Belgium's 1554 Black Ale.

About Centerplate
Centerplate crafts and delivers "Craveable Experiences. Raveable Results." in over 250 prominent entertainment, sports and convention venues across North America – annually serving over 100 million guests. Centerplate has provided event hospitality services to 15 official U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls, 13 Super Bowls, 21 World Series, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and the largest plated dinner in history at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Centennial Celebration. Last year, the company was named the fastest growing restaurant/ hospitality group in the country by Nation's Restaurant News. Visit the company online at

About Troy Guard
Troy Guard grew up splitting his time between Hawaii and San Diego, spending much of his youth in either the ocean or the kitchen, developing sensibilities that would shape the innovative chef's culinary vision. By 20, Guard had made his career path official, realizing that his passion lay behind the stove. He worked with legendary fusion chef Roy Yamaguchi to launch Roy's New China Max in Hong Kong and by age 25, he was responsible for four of Roy's outposts throughout Asia, overseeing restaurants in Tokyo and Hong Kong as Yamaguchi's Corporate Chef. He served as Chef de Cuisine at New York hotspot Tao and then at world-renowned Dog Cheng's in Singapore and eventually paired up with Richard Sandoval, the visionary behind award-winning "Modern Mexican" concept restaurants across the U.S. Together, they opened Denver's first Latin-Asian fusion restaurant, Zengo, in the city's emerging Riverfront area. Following its success, Guard and restaurateur Jim Sullivan opened nine75, followed by Ocean, both in Denver. In May of 2009, Troy opened TAG Restaurant on Denver's Larimer Square. TAG's cuisine is emblematic of Guard's unique vision of Continental Social Food, a combination of his Hawaiian roots, his Pan-Asian expertise and fresh, local Colorado ingredients. In only its first year, TAG received both local and national accolades and Guard was named one of the "Great Regional Chefs of America" by the James Beard Foundation. In 2011, Guard and his team opened his second restaurant, TAG | RAW BAR, a concept the chef describes as the manipulation of seasonal ingredients from their rawest form. Most recently, Chef Guard has opened TAG Burger in Denver's Congress Park neighborhood.

About Roberto Santibanez
Roberto Santibanez is the chef/owner of Fonda restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY. As a native of Mexico City and a graduate with honors from Paris's top culinary institutions, award-winning Chef Roberto Santibanez' culinary resume includes stints as restaurateur, culinary consultant, author and teacher in Mexico, Europe and the United States. He is the author of Rosa's New Mexican Table, nominated for both IACP and James Beard Awards. His second book Truly Mexican was one of the most Notable Cookbooks of 2011 by The New York Times, Epicurious, and Food & Wine. His third cookbook Tortas, Tacos and Tamales has recently been published in the fall of 2012. Roberto is a culinary consultant for Amtrak, and a member of The Culinary Institute of America's Latin Cuisines Advisory Council. 

About Bill Pustari
When celebrities and dignitaries come to New Haven, they make a beeline for world-famous Modern Apizza. Originally called State Street Apizza, Modern Apizza was founded in 1934 and has been in the same spot ever since. For more than 22-years, Bill Pustari has served as chef-owner of Modern where he serves New Haven-style thin-crust apizza (closely related to Neapolitan-style Italian pizza) which is baked in a coal-fired brick oven. Modern's uses the highest quality ingredients including fresh Grande Mozzarella and a specific lot of San Marzano tomatoes grown specifically for Modern's pies. Modern has received numerous accolades over the years including Yahoo! Travel's pick for #3 pizza in the U.S., Playboy magazine's top ten in the country as well as the New Haven Advocate's Best of Reader's Poll for "Best Pizza" 12-years in a row.

About Carmen Callo
Born and raised on the South of side of Chicago by his single mother, Carmen's passion and dedication to the Culinary Arts stared at a young age. After completing his Externship at the Breakers Hotel in West Palm Beach, Florida, Carmen graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 1998 and returned home to Chicago. Carmen worked at the Signature Room at the 95th and The Four Seasons Hotel  before moving to Grand Junction Colorado. It was in Grand Junction that Carmen found himself working for the Adam's Mark Hotels. After making his way to the Denver Area with the Hotel, he joined Centerplate Catering at the Colorado Convention Center and Denver Performing Arts Complex. During this time, Chef Carmen has overseen the operations of the World Arena, Pikes Peak Performing Arts Center, Denver Performing Arts Center, supported Folsom Field Operations and Invesco Field Operations. Now, after 9 years with the Centerplate, Chef Carmen finds himself running the Largest Kitchen in Colorado with a crew of more than 100, providing all of the Food and Beverage needs to the world renowned companies that come to Denver to host their national meetings. 

SOURCE Centerplate

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