Social media has changed many things in life and eating out is no exception. Restaurants are now using platforms like Instagram to entice guests with photos of cheese pulls and the latest seasonal specials. News about wine dinners and new opening times fill Facebook feeds. Influencer culture continues to dominate, and diners look for the latest on trending foods by scrolling their phones.
But while you can collect a lot of information on social media by following your favorite restaurants and finding local foodies who post regularly, these platforms also offer a new way to connect with the people behind the food on your plate. Lots of local chefs are active on Instagram, where they post a variety of content – from snapshots showing the research and development process to pictures of their travels while finding inspiration to try their own local menus.
Here are seven Denver chefs to follow:
Since opening her first restaurant, Annette, on the Stanley Marketplace in 2016, Caroline Glover has been named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs in 2019 and, among other things, was a 2020 finalist for the Best Chef: Mountain Award from the James Beard Foundation. Throughout the pandemic, she has been speaking on social media about the challenges restaurant owners face, and she continues to highlight the realities of running a restaurant in 2021 while sharing tasty bites from her free time, including an enviable crab festival.
Biju Thomas launched Biju’s Little Curry Shop in 2014 and quickly became a go-to place for quick, casual, healthy Indian cuisine. But after expanding and then reducing it to one location in late 2019, Thomas’s business was hit hard by the pandemic and he finally closed it in May 2020. Now, Thomas has made a fresh start as Senior Content Producer for Nutrition and Cooking Outside the Media, a job that combines his passions for food and fitness and offers him a national platform for creating food content – which he also shares on Instagram Shares tips, recipes, and more.
This chef was considered the king of meat in Denver for years, a reputation largely due to the success of Old Major, his highland neighborhood restaurant that specializes in whole animal slaughter and an in-house sausage program. But in 2020, Justin Brunson closed Old Major to focus entirely on his growing meat production company, River Bear. Brunson may no longer work full-time in a professional kitchen, but his contributions provide an insight into River Bear’s products and how they source the meat the company produces, which is served in many restaurants around town.
Max MacKissock has been one of Denver’s top chefs for years. He is now a partner and culinary director of Culinary Creative, the restaurant group behind Bar Dough, Señor Bear, Mister Oso, Forget Me Not and more, including the upcoming A5, a steakhouse soon to open in the former home of the Wazee Supper Club and more recently Morin. The Chef’s Instagram feed gives a glimpse into menu evolution and insight into the process behind opening a new restaurant, as well as a glimpse into the ingredients that inspire them.
Jennifer Jasinski / Instagram
In 2013, Jennifer Jasinkski became the first Denver chef to win a James Beard Award. Their crafted concepts are behind some of Denver’s top restaurants, including Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Ultreia, and Stoic & Genuine. She is also the consultant cook for the Ponti, the restaurant that opens at the Denver Art Museum on October 24th. And she happens to be married to Max MacKissock, which makes the two a powerhouse in the local restaurant scene. Follow her for inspiration on seasonal ingredients, fresh pasta pictures that whet your appetite for Italian, and greetings to the people behind the scenes in their restaurants.
When Thach Tran took over the kitchen at Uptowns Ace Eat Serve in August 2017, the ping pong table Asian restaurant really stepped up its food game with additions like the Peking Duck Experience on Sundays and Thursdays. Today Tran is the head chef of the Secret Sauce restaurant group and directs the culinary programs of Ace and Steuben’s next door. But when he’s not working in the restaurants, Tran has some fun hobbies that he writes about, like beekeeping, gardening, and his newest side project, mushroom growing.
Michael Kurowski / Instagram
Tran isn’t the only Secret Sauce team member whose Instagram feed is filled with fun food content. Michael Kurowski joined the team in 2021 as senior pastry chef; His seasonal creations include the Mango Tango Foxtrot, a coconut cake with sake-infused pineapple, dragon fruit, mango mousse and candied almond. If you have a sweet tooth, be warned: Kurowski’s food will whet your appetite for something sweet in no time.
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