Stem Ciders restaurant and cider house brings on 2 top chefs

LAFAYETTE — Stem Ciders’ upcoming cider house and restaurant in Lafayette has brought on two renowned area chefs.

Kelly Whitaker, chef and owner of Basta restaurant and co-founder of Id Est Hospitality group, and Daniel Asher, chef of River and Woods, have signed onto the project.

The two chefs will create the menu for Acreage, the 200-seat restaurant that will be part of the cider house, production facility and administrative offices Stem Ciders is building in an apple orchard in Lafayette.

“When we first started looking for a culinary partner, Kelly really came to mind first,” said Courtney O’Rourke, a spokesperson for Stem Ciders. “He and his team had recently gone on a trip to the Basque country of Spain, which was part of the inspiration of Acreage. We wanted a community space that would be all-inclusive to everyone and welcoming for any type of gathering; that’s something we wanted to do from the beginning.”

O’Rourke said Whitaker and Asher had known each other for years, were part of the Colorado Chefs Collaborative together and were a good fit to work together on the project.

“I’ve known Kelly for years; he and I oversee the Colorado chapter of Chefs Collaborative,” Daniel Asher told BizWest. “He was talking to me about this opportunity and I thought it sounded fantastic. I’m into creating culinary and hospitality spaces that really connect the community, and the Acreage project deeply defines that.”

Asher added that the location also added to him wanting to do the project.

“Having an apple orchard on site speaks to the transparency within their food system,” he said. “Integrating a culinary experience that matches that is tremendous to do.”

Asher added that, while the menu is still being developed, it will be Basque-inspired and will source from local ranchers. What is more, all the cooking will be done not on stovetops or in ovens, but over live fires, something that will make the food delicious but will be technically challenging for chefs.

“The beautiful poetry of live fire cooking is it really needs to have your full attention and you need to be present in the moment,” Asher said. “Cooking over an open flame is an art; it’s ancient, it’s rustic, it’s beautiful. You really need to know how to maneuver and adapt to what the fire is doing; it’s very much a living organism. It takes a higher level of finesse and training. It takes time and a deep level of attention and thought. That level of attention and thought is how we will do everything there.”

The $7 million cider house and eatery will open at the end of January, O’Rourke said, and Stem Ciders will relocate to be out of Lafayette. She added that the cider company’s current RiNo location in Denver will be remodeled to host events and be used for experimental projects.

 

LAFAYETTE — Stem Ciders’ upcoming cider house and restaurant in Lafayette has brought on two renowned area chefs.

Kelly Whitaker, chef and owner of Basta restaurant and co-founder of Id Est Hospitality group, and Daniel Asher, chef of River and Woods, have signed onto the project.

The two chefs will create the menu for Acreage, the 200-seat restaurant that will be part of the cider house, production facility and administrative offices Stem Ciders is building in an apple orchard in Lafayette.

“When we first started looking for a culinary partner, Kelly really came to mind first,” said Courtney O’Rourke, a spokesperson for Stem Ciders. “He and his team had recently gone on a trip to the Basque country of Spain, which was part of the inspiration of Acreage. We wanted a community space that would be all-inclusive to everyone and welcoming for any type of gathering; that’s something we wanted to do from the beginning.”

O’Rourke said Whitaker and Asher had known each other for years, were part of the Colorado Chefs Collaborative together and were a good fit to work together on the project.

“I’ve known Kelly for years; he and I oversee the Colorado chapter of Chefs Collaborative,” Daniel Asher told BizWest. “He was talking to me about this opportunity and I thought it sounded fantastic. I’m into creating culinary and hospitality spaces that really connect the community, and the Acreage project deeply defines that.”

Asher added that the location also added to him wanting to do the project.

“Having…