From developing a spice blend as an homage to his late grandmother to being on the line at local Denver restaurants, Tajahi Cooke brings a sense of family and community whenever he finds himself in the kitchen. Cooke’s mission continues as he partners with other local industry greats to propel the food scene forward with one stellar supper each month.
Prior to these pop-ups, Cooke is known for his community engagement. His passion for being an advocate for others in the industry is readily seen in his recent project Advocacy Kitchen that connects Denverites with local chefs, farms, and purveyors. All of his work is brightened by his philanthropy, where he currently promises 30% of his curry blend sales to local organizations, Ms. Betty’s Harvest Madsgiving and Mile High Holiday Haircuts.
The Supper Club series has a home base at Frank Bonnano’s restaurant French75, which has yet to reopen fully since its COVID closure. But the lights flicker back on for one special night each month for Cooke to bring high-quality, technique-driven dinner that patrons can count on from a Bonanno spot.
Each dinner has two seating times, 5:30 and 8 p.m. This club retains its exclusivity as reservations are required. Social media has been the main constituent to garnering attention, with more people hearing about this event has led to continual sell-outs. The excitement continues as chefs, menus and experiences change from month to month. Being a lucky attendee at one doesn’t mean that’s the entire show.
The three pillars that streamline all the dinners derived from the atmosphere that propels honest conversations, community and authenticity. This pop-up began with the help of Fireside at Five, an empowering organization that seeks to forge the community in the face of COVID. It began as Happy Hour virtual chats have developed into inspiring experiential events to bring others together. Nothing is more communal than sharing a meal, which is at the core of Cooke’s mentality.
It was fitting to have Bonanno be his right-hand man for their first go at such an event. Together they were able to prepare a six-course meal showcasing both their visions for food. They both utilized the provisions that are famously Colorado by sourcing from local farms.
Cooke’s squash ravioli relied on the freshness of Miller Farm and brought together the sweetness of the squash, the sourness of pomegranate molasses and smokey saltiness from pork belly package perfecting inside homemade pasta. It was an unexpected rendition to a traditionally fall favorite.
For a tribute to Colorado, Bonanno charred a lamb lion for a main dish. He also gave a nod to Cooke by utilizing Indian spices, similar to the Ms. Betty curry spice blend, in his croquette of potatoes and chickpeas.
After selling out his first supper, it enhanced the excitement for round two featuring Chef Natascha Hess by his side. The same mentality allowed both chefs to create a multi-course meal to bridge their culinary minds to showcase what the Denver food scene has to offer.
This menu leaned on Hess’s passion for Asian cuisine with Thai snow crab and shrimp wontons topped with an aromatic nam jim sauce. It reflected flavors that Cooke is familiar with like the acidity of lime and umami of fish sauce.
The next dinner features chef Jesusio Silva, a well-known sushi chef around Denver who has recently expanded to Golden. The undisclosed menu is a highly anticipated surprise. However, the one thing to count on is creativity from the soulfulness of Cooke and the artistic nature of Silva.
Dinner time is served on May 13, reservations are made through Tock. Parties of two to eight are eligible for reservation. A six-course dinner costs $125 per person. This includes drinks curated especially for the event courtesy of Mythology Distillery Spirits. The Supper Club invites inquiries for new locations to partner with and new chefs to invent with. Their club is ever-expanding. The link to submit an application is here at the bottom of the page.