The Denver Health Foundation kicked off the summer barbecue season with flair on Wednesday evening with their fifth annual Hot Rocks Griller Challenge. Since the top ten threats to men’s health are mostly preventable conditions, this ultimate man-party of a fundraising event was held to raise funds and awareness for men’s health programs at Denver Health. Fifteen top chefs from around Denver came together on the patio outside of Elway’s Cherry Creek and served up a myriad of savory sliders that could satisfy even the most adventurous of palates (wild boar, anyone?).
Chris Daniels and the Kings provided the musical entertainment for the event; they were joined by former Freddi-Henchi Band front man Fred Gowdy. Together they all kept the party rockin’ from start to finish as representatives from the kitchens of Solera Restaurant, Elway’s Downtown Denver, Panzano, Beast + Bottle, Steuben’s, Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs, Elway’s Cherry Creek, Lola, Rioja, the Squeaky Bean, TAG, Barolo Grill and City Bakery donated their time and culinary expertise to tantalize every taste bud in hopes of having made the best sliders.
Attendees were each given a poker chip upon checking in at Hot Rocks in order to vote for their favorite sliders and sides. Additional poker chips were available for purchase in order to cast additional votes. Even as strong winds threatened to upend the chefs’ tents and cooking stations, the chefs kept grilling in anticipation of raising the most funds for the Denver Health Foundation (and all the bragging rights that would come with being the crowd favorite). Tyler Wiard and Aniedra Nichols of Elway’s Cherry Creek had the favorite sliders among attendees with their Korean barbecue bulgogi sliders served with sweet and sour cucumbers. Meanwhile, the favorite sliders among the chefs belonged to Troy Guard of TAG for his Godzilla sliders served with a 5-grain salad.
In addition to ticket sales and casting votes for the tastiest sliders, a silent auction helped raise funds by making items such as a team-signed Denver Nuggets jersey, a football signed by Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, a pair of tickets to a Justin Bieber concert, a weekend-night stay-cation at the JW Marriott at Cherry Creek and more available for bids. Overall the evening was a resounding success, but if you missed the event or would otherwise like to support Denver Health, donations can be made to the Denver Health Foundation on their website.