Scott Yosten, exec chef of Steakhouse 10, on politicians, food trucks and the weirdness of the customer who chewed the fat
This is part one of my interview with Scott Yosten, executive chef of Steakhouse 10.
Scott Yosten has seen it all: a maître d' who could acquire any drug you could ever want, another maître d' who had the social skills to get you the services of any woman you could ever want; lobbyists who would do whatever it took to get their bills passed through the legislature; and mob meetings with members of Denver's infamous Smaldone family.
Denver, says Yosten, the executive chef of Steakhouse 10, "was really wild and crazy in the '80s," which was the decade that Yosten, a Denver native, was the executive chef of the Quorum, an ooh-la-la French restaurant that was one of the top dining emporiums in the city during its heyday. And when it was at its worst, at least according to a former Denver Post food critic, it was a great place to take an ugly date, thanks to the dark lighting.
Yosten, who's done time on the line in numerous restaurants in Colorado, including the dearly departed Tante Louise, got the cooking bug when he was eight, while watching his mom play in her own kitchen. "I was young but enthusiastic, and I started taking notice of how my mom made sauces, and as I got older, she'd let me chop veggies, measure ingredients and stir sauces until she finally gave me free rein," recalls Yosten, who secured his first kitchen job in middle school. "I started washing dishes at a hotel restaurant, and by the time I graduated from high school, I was running the kitchen."
And he never looked back, apprenticing for two years at a Marriott hotel, where he was one of ten students out of a pool of hundreds who was chosen for the apprenticeship -- not that it was all rainbows and unicorns. "It didn't matter if you were a culinary grad from Cornell or a guy like me -- no matter what, you started as a grunt, working the graveyard shift, washing pots and pans," says Yosten, who ultimately graduated his way through every station before taking another chef job at a downtown hotel and then Tante Louise, working for legendary Denver restaurateur Corky Douglass. "He grilled the hell out of me," remembers Yosten. "He asked me everything from what the five mother sauces were to how you break down a strip loin to how to make a Béarnaise sauce." And Yosten passed the culinary quiz with flying colors.