To accommodate their growing clientele, The Butcher & Baker Café in Telluride moved from their quaint space on Colorado Avenue to a new, roomier location just a few doors down. The new space evokes a city atmosphere in a small mountain town, bustling with locals and tourists. With more room for guests, owners Megan Ossola and Cinda Simons added dinner to their breakfast and lunch seatings. The fare at The Butcher & Baker Café is constantly evolving and their dinner specials are beguiling. A recent favorite was octopus and French gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, caramelized celeriac purée, dill oil and a Pinot Noir reduction. In addition to the move, the owners also welcomed Chef Dylan Hay, 28, into the kitchen. These changes last December proved to be visionary: the restaurant is thriving.
When he was 17, Dylan Hay worked as a dishwasher in Lawrence, Kansas, and later made his way west to Denver, Colorado, to pursue a career as chef. There, he worked in the kitchens at EuclidHall Bar & Kitchen as well as Stoic & Genuine, a popular restaurant specializing in classic and innovative seafood cuisine.
At both locations, he worked under Chef Jennifer Jasinski. Chef Jasinski is a James Beard Foundation award winner for Best Chef Southwest 2013 and was a student of Wolfgang Puck. Hay spent the most time under the mentorship of Jorel Pierce, a student of Jasinski. Pierce has appeared on television’s Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. Once ready to implement his new skills, Hay moved to Telluride to work as head chef for The Butcher & Baker Café.
Hay pulls from a variety of international flavors while maintaining the restaurant’s reputation for cooking everything from scratch. At The Butcher & Baker Café, Hay has ample opportunity to remind customers what a home-cooked meal tastes like. “I am all about local ingredients and cooking sustainably. Cooking at this level is where the passion is for me and it is this passion that drives me to utilize different ingredients and play with flavors from all around the world.”
Hay shares a simple, delicious recipe with us: braised mustard greens. This mildly spicy, cruciferous vegetable is at its peak during winter and spring, and lends variety to a classic southern food side dish. It pairs harmoniously with braised or roasted meat for the holidays.
2 pounds local mustard green mix
1/4 pound pork belly (optional)
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2-1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
At The Butcher & Baker, we use our house-cured pork belly for this recipe, although bacon will work just fine*. To begin, cut the pork belly/bacon into lardons. Julienne the shallot and slice the garlic into thin strips. Place a stockpot on the stove and add the bacon lardons, cooking them until they begin to render fat. Add the shallots and garlic, and sweat them. Add the red pepper flakes and brown sugar. Stir constantly, then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add mustard greens to the pot. Stir and cook until wilted, then add the chicken stock. Cover pot and let the greens cook for a few minutes in the stock. Season and serve warm. Serves 3 to 4 (sides).
Julienne: Long, thin strips
Lardons: Small strips
Sweat: Instead of browning, cook on lower heat and let the moisture draw out. Sweating is completed right before they become translucent. This is a term used often when cooking aromatics such as garlic and onions.
*If desired, set aside extra pieces of crispy pork belly for garnish.