The Pinyon's Theo Adley opens the coop on fried chicken, clucks about despicable Yelp "foodies" and reminisces about his time in "Le Weeds"
This is part one of my interview with Theo Adley, executive chef/owner of the Pinyon in Boulder. Part two of my chat with Adley will run in this space tomorrow.
Theo Adley failed algebra three times in high school. As further proof that the traditional classroom curriculum wasn't his thing, the Dallas native dropped out of the University of Colorado during his junior year in Boulder to pursue a career at the Culinary School of the Rockies. "I had this crazy attraction to doing things with my hands as opposed to cracking books, dealing with homework, grades and teachers, and I wanted to develop a craft," explains Adley, now executive chef/owner of the Pinyon.
With an eye to cooking professionally, the 28-year-old wunderkind trained in some of the most illustrious kitchens in Colorado, including the Flagstaff House, Frasca Food and Wine, Radda Trattoria and the Little Nell in Aspen, before becoming the master of his own domain. Last December he opened the Pinyon, a "uniquely Colorado" restaurant that he says juxtaposes simple, straightforward American cuisine with esoteric deviations. "Our logo is a guy who's riding backwards on a horse, the idea being that the horse is charging forward and the guy is looking backwards, which, for us, symbolizes that we're constantly trying to be at the top of our game with modern takes and innovations -- but always paying respect to our culinary pasts and traditions," Adley explains.
The idea behind the Pinyon is "to bring more of a foraging- and wilderness-focused restaurant to the forefront of Boulder," he adds, one that utilizes a full bounty of ingredients that aren't just local, but responsibly sourced and produced. "We can call ourselves farm-to-table, but the reality is that that term gets sprayed around it a lot -- so do 'local' and 'sustainable' -- but they're all just buzzwords and marketing terms. Our job is to rise above the buzzwords and stay true to our craft by purchasing our products from purveyors, farmers and producers who we know personally -- we don't want any guesswork involved -- and preparing and executing our food responsibly."
In the following interview, Adley opens the coop on fried chicken, takes major exception to Boulder's title of "America's foodiest town," calls Thomas Keller a blabbermouth, and muses about his desire to open a new cocktail and craft-beer bar.