Biz buzz, Jan. 16, 2014

Lee Mathis of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes, in conjunction with Duncan’s Gourmet Food Truck, brings his mobile “flash restaurant,” En Fuego, to Grand Junction for the first time on Jan. 23.

“This has been going on for years on the East and West Coast,” Mathis said. “In the normal tradition, it’s where a chef or a cook takes over a place for a night with a special menu. We’re doing everything with heat Thursday night.”

Mathis’ eye-watering, nasal-draining selection of foods are spiked with ghost peppers, Trinidad scorpions and habaneros, all flavorful peppers guaranteed to generate some steam.

En Fuego will be open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, 1404 Ute Ave.

■ This year, an avid outdoorsman and his wife, both of Grand Junction, mark 28 years as partners in a venture that teaches four-wheel driving safety while preserving nature. They recently moved their base of operations from Fruita to Grand Junction.

Bill Burke and Rachel Budman launched Burke’s 4-Wheeling America in 1986. Burke held many different jobs before deciding to pursue his passion for recreating in the great outdoors by teaching others how to properly operate a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

“I always wanted to be an outdoor educator,” Burke said. “I (was) using a vehicle to get to the climbing and backpacking that I loved to do. People realized that I had skills and said to me, ‘Why don’t you teach something like this because people are messing up out there?’ “

Burke and Budman are offering two classes during the next two months, including a hands-on recovery class on Feb. 1 and 2. By the end of the recovery class, drivers will have practiced several rigging scenarios using the winch, Hi-Lift Jack and all the recovery tools.

A two-day On the Road class tours the desert and hills around Moab, Utah, on March 1 and 2. 

“Find out why Moab is so popular with us 4-wheel drive enthusiasts,” Budman said. “This class will give you the skills and confidence to drive the Slick Rock surface, climb the steps using the Moab-bump and learn about the historic and natural history that make Moab a world-wide destination.”

Each course includes handouts, technical discussions, hands-on skill building with several scenario teaching moments and plenty of seat time on the trail.

Burke’s favorite part is watching his students enjoy the outdoors experience.

“I get to take people out and see the smiles on their face when they get out of their home environment, out of their offices, out of their comfort zones and see the stars and the moon and the bunny rabbits,” he said.

Protecting the environment is also high on the syllabus for Burke’s class.

“The key factor is to go out there with a heart that says, ‘I’m responsible for my actions in wild lands,’ ” he said. “Where I take that is to tread lightly and leave no trace. It’s about camping in appropriate spots, paying attention to the land and being able to pass it on to our children’s children’s children.”

Call 858-3468 for more information.

Waramaug LS Hotels, a privately held investment group, announced it has acquired the 92-room Hampton Inn & Suites in Rifle.

The hotel, located at 499 Airport Road, is situated in a narrow box canyon, which boasts views of scenic Colorado mountain landscapes. Guests who like to explore can discover world-class fishing, hiking, rafting, kayaking and skiing, all within easy accessible distance from the hotel. Rifle is the perfect hub for an adventure in the White Rive National Forest and Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

“We identified the Hampton Inn & Suites as an ideal opportunity to expand our footprint in Colorado,” said Paul Nussbaum, Waramaug’s founder and managing partner.

The Hampton Inn & Suites Rifle was recently awarded the 2013 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award. The honor is bestowed on establishments achieving outstanding traveler reviews on the site.

The hotel will remain a Hampton property and will be managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts.

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