Topping two-dozen of the region’s best chefs is no easy feat, but that’s just what Paul Nagan, executive chef of Denver’s Range restaurant, accomplished at the 34th annual Great Chefs of the West event on March 16. Nagan’s winning dish—decided by popular vote—was a delicious coffee-rubbed venison loin with rhubarb-ginger chutney and garlic-sunchoke purée.

Nagan and other regional chefs donated their time, expertise and resources to benefit the National Kidney Foundation. The downtown Denver event, which included both a silent and a live auction, raised $134,000 for the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. Channel 2 meteorologist Matt Makens served as the emcee, while The Teresa Carroll Jazz Trio provided live music.

Here’s a taste of the Live Naturally staff’s other favorite dishes of the evening:

  • Pork belly with pickled cherry and watercress by The Oceanaire Seafood Room executive chef Jodie Valenzuela
  • Salmon aguachile with avocado mousse & micro-cilantro by Work & Class chef/owner Dana Rodriguez
  • Brussels sprout slaw, pine nuts and pork belly by Rioja executive chef Tim Kuklinski
  • Horchata pot de crème with churros by Mizuna executive chef Ty Leon
  • Mango & Madagascar by D Bar chef/owner Keegan Gerhard

Facts about Kidney Disease: 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease.  26 million American adults have kidney disease—and nearly 90% aren’t aware of it.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, and age 60+.  People of African American; Hispanic; Native American, Asian; or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 ½ times more likely, and Hispanics 1 ½ times more likely, to experience kidney failure.  

Photo by Rick Louie Studios