(Photo courtesy of Matt Selby)


Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver is known for its many sauces. Thirty-six dipping sauces altogether. We meet Vesta’s chef, Matt Selby as part of our series “Cooks in the Kitchen.” We’re talking with chefs who are divulging their secrets in new cookbooks. His is called “Beyond the Sauce.” Selby is also the culinary brains behind Steuben's in Denver.


Listen to last week's conversation with chef Jennifer Jasinski.


Ginger Chili Seared Tuna, Spicy Udon Noodles, Green Papaya Salad
Serves 4

This tuna marinade has changed very little, if at all, since early 1998. The sides have changed, but the tuna itself is just one of those crowd pleasers that is hard to touch. We sort of use it as a bench mark, or challenge to our chefs and cook…you can run specials,
and you can certainly take a crack at any preparation you want. But it better be better than what it is now to go on the menu.

For the tuna, you want to buy thick blocks, rather than large, almost round thin pieces. Don’ t be afraid to make nice with your butchers and fishmongers…they will certainly be open and receptive to the friendly regular, over the demanding newcomer!

Green papaya is unripe papaya…so it is green both in color and age. It’ s used mainly in Thai cooking, but can also be found in other Asian, and sometimes Latino cuisines. You can find it in Asian markets. Now if you can’ t find it, purchase fresh and ripe papaya, and skip the poaching process. Most of the time green papaya is blanched, and then seasoned with oil and vinegar for a light salad. I did have it raw once, at Fatty Crab in New York. The papaya was cut into large rectangles, and served with a dry chili salt and sugar dip.

-4, 7 ounce #1 grade tuna fillets, about 1 1/2” thick
-Sweet chili ginger sauce
-6 Tbl. Sesame oil
-8 ounces udon noodles (prepare following package instructions)
-Yuzu syrup
-Green Papaya Salad

-One day in advance, combine tuna fillets with sweet chili ginger sauce to marinate overnight.
-Heat 2 Tbl. sesame oil in a sauté, and add udon noodles. Toss to heat through, and then add yuzu syrup. Toss again, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
-Heat a separate sauté pan, and add remaining sesame oil. Heat oil until smoking.
Generously season all sides of tuna fillets with salt and pepper, and carefully place fillets into hot pan. Sear all sides of fillets for 2 minutes for rare tuna. Remove from pan.
-In the center of each plate, place udon noodles. Slice tuna fillets in half, on the bias, and place over udon noodles. Place green papaya salad over top of tuna and serve with three dipping sauces.

Sweet chili ginger


Soy sauce
Ginger (peeled and sliced)

1/2 C
1 btl
1 1/2 C

Rice wine vinegar
Sweet Thai chili sauce *
Sesame oil

Combine all ingredients except sesame oil in a blender. With blender running slowly add sesame oil into sauce until the sauce is emulsified.

Makes 5 cups.
store chilled for up to 30 days.

*can be found in Asian market

Green Papaya Salad

1 Each
2 Quarts
2 Tablespoons
2 Tablespoons
1/2 Head
1/4 Cup
1/4 Cup
1/2 Cup
2 Tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon
1/2 Each
to taste

*With a pairing knife, peel the green papaya, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (discard the seeds). Use a mandolin with a the wide julienne attachment to slice the green papaya.
*Bring the 2 quarts of water to a boil, and season the water with the sugar and salt.
*Plunge the julienned papaya into the boiling water, and poach for about 6 minutes. Strain the green papaya, and place the julienned papaya in the refrigerator to chill through.

Green Papaya
Bok Choy
Packed Mint, Roughly Chopped
Packed Cilantro, Roughly Chopped
Kewpie Mayonnaise
Sriracha Hot Sauce
Dashi Powder
Lime, juiced
Salt and Pepper

*Slice the bok choy into 1/4" strips, all the way up the white bulb end. Combine sliced bok choy with chopped mint and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add the chilled green papaya, kewpie mayonnaise, sriracha, dashi and limejuice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.