Two local chefs have cast an international spotlight on the Springs’ dining scene.

Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling, and Luis Young, chef de cuisine at the Penrose Room at The Broadmoor, have been named semifinalists for James Beard Best Chef Award: Mountain region.

“It was a total surprise,” Luck said. “Amazing. I’m still in shock. The best part is that when I opened my first restaurant all I wanted was to get Colorado Springs recognized and let the world know what Colorado Springs has to offer from our culinary community. We have Franco (Pisani), James (Africano) and Jay Gust, and so many more talented chefs. It’s time they get a nod, too. And it’s so great that Luis is on the list, too. He has worked at top-notch, multi-starred restaurants.”

Young has much the same feelings about being selected for this prestigious award.

“The day the list came out I was in the kitchen prepping for dinner service,” he said. “The manager of Summit sent me an email congratulating me. I didn’t understand why the congratulations. When she explained, it took me a couple of days to process what was happening. By the third day I was very humbled. It’s not just my name, but an honor for our team. We know we’re on the right track.”

He couldn’t believe how fast the news spread.

“When I told my mom, she let me know that the news was already on the radio and in newspapers in Panama. I was so surprised at how rapidly the news had spread,” he said. “It’s very humbling.”

Young attended the Culinary Arts Academy in Panama City, Panama, where he grew up.

So why hasn’t the Centennial State been shown love from the JB organization before?

“This is the first year of the new boundaries and I think it just goes to show you how far our country is advancing with great dining experiences,” Luck said on a Facebook post. “I’m just proud of all the hard work and sacrifice everyone’s committed to the restaurant. This list is full of deserving people and I’m honored to stand beside them as we all head into the finals.”

Last fall, the Beard Foundation announced a change of Best Chef award regions to “recognize changing population data, restaurant demographics, and culinary trends.” For Colorado, that meant leaving the Southwest regional category and moving into the new Mountain category, along with Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. And in this first year of the new region, there were 10 Colorado chefs among the 20 Mountain semifinalists.

The foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during a live press conference in Philadelphia on March 25. Winners will be awarded their medals May 4 at the annual awards gala at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. Visit jamesbeard.org/awards for a complete list of semifinalists in all categories.

Keep on trucking

The Pikes Peak Region Small Business Week Food Truck Cook-off takes place at The Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 3. For $25, get 10 coupons for food samples from more than 40 food, drink and dessert vendors (additional sampling tickets are $1 each.) Tickets can be purchased at broadmoorworldarena.com or at The Broadmoor World Arena box office.

Chocolate, please

Kidpower’s Chocoholic Frolic takes place at The Pinery at the Hill, 775 W. Bijou St., 7 to 10 p.m., May 2. For $80, eat to your heart’s delight chocolates from the area’s finest bakeries, candy makers and caterers. Savory hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and a silent auction will also be featured.

Kidpower of Colorado, is a nonprofit personal safety education organization for children. Visit tinyurl.com/r8ndzcp for tickets.

Contact the writer: 636-0271

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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