Having just returned from a "media tour" of Tuscany and Le Marche I feel inspired to share the pride I feel about what and how we eat in Colorado. The "farm to table" movement is all the rage here now (as it ALWAYS should be), but in Italy it is a concept they are desperately trying to hold on to. The people we met take immense pride in their traditions and culture. They hold to exacting standards that have been in place for generations. In many cases they are moving to bring back nearly extinct traditions, such as the Cinta Senese pig farm we visited and the ancient grains being re-introduced into Tuscan farms. They are really trying to get back to how things were when things were truly local. I expected to see a great difference in the mind set between here and there, but what I found was amazingly similar: use and take pride in what you and your neighbors produce first, and supplement what you have to. The food we ate was of course amazing at almost every meal, but not overly complex or convoluted. Very similar to the standards we hold in our own shop. The delicious local charcuterie was very similar to what Brian produces in our own kitchen. Again, quality ingredients produce quality products. Our growing consciousness as chefs in Colorado to be locally and ecologically responsible is a standard that has been working for them for generations. We are on the right path. I am reminded of the words of an old Mentor: "our job as chefs is to take the gifts God gives us and try not to f--- it up too much before we get it to the customer."