Annabelle Forrestal, exec chef of Vine Street, Mountain Sun Pub and Southern Sun, on food critics, the French Laundry and hot sauce

Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: Root Down. It's not too often that my girlfriends and I have coordinating days off, so when we do, we indulge in Root Down's brunch and mimosas. It's important to have a life outside of work, and I rely on my friends for that balance. My motto is work hard, play hard, and eat well.

Last restaurant you visited: I recently checked out Lou's Food Bar for the first time. I love the location, the decor and the lighting. The pâté was unbelievable, and our waiter was extremely knowledgeable and attentive. I felt well taken care of, and I even took a menu home.

Are you affected by reviews at all? What's your opinion of food writers and social-review sites like Yelp, OpenTable and Urbanspoon? A lot of the reviews and critics remind me of the people in the world who just like to hear themselves talk: They just don't get it. Some reviews are helpful and you can learn from them; others are misguided and arrogant. I don't take those personally.

What's one thing about you or your restaurant that people would be surprised to know? I redesigned the Missouri license plate in the fourth grade.

Hardest lesson you've learned, and how you've changed because of it: I can't do it all alone. I have to ask for help when I need it. I tend to be very stubborn and determined sometimes, but at the pubs, we have a very communal aspect where everyone does everything. The same goes for the management. Will, the general manager, and I pretty much grew up together working on the floor at Mountain Sun Pub. We've been working side by side for about five and a half years now, even transferring restaurants together. He's always supported me in my journey and encouraged me to rely on him, forcing me to ultimately realize that I'm not in this alone, that we're a team. Since realizing that and checking my stubbornness at the kitchen door, my creativity and confidence have grown and my anxiety has declined. I feel supported in my journey and have learned that by asking for help, I'm a much more capable, solid leader.

Read the rest of Lori Midson's interview with Annabelle Forrestal.

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15 comments
Everyone and my dog is a chef
Everyone and my dog is a chef

Not to be rude be she is NOT a chef. Just like the janitor at the hospital cant work his way up to doctor. Be properly trained if you want the title or just be straight forward and call yourself a "kitchen Manager". Really she is not a chef, she just found out what fresh pasta taste like for Tebow sakes...........

cook1
cook1

I thought she mode some valid and some silly points. They way she speaks about food is genuine but some of her answers like the one about having the cooks think for themselves sound inaccurate. As a chef it is her job to think for her cooks, or at least know what they're thinking. That being said she had some cool stuff to say and I've enjoyed all the beer and food I've have at vine street.

BoogerEater
BoogerEater

Calling yourself a chef by working at those places is to put it mildly , "a stretch."  Regardless of what the chef's does, the chef's food is not on the plate.  Essentially a some what well written article about a over glorified prep cook.  Ugh.  Exec. Chef my butt.

mattyselby
mattyselby

Chef Annabelle prepared some of the best gnocchi I've ever had at her Harvest Week dinner...I never got the chance to tell her!

A Chef
A Chef

I don't understand this.  I don't know whether or not she is a chef.  That term, whether defined by Webster or not, means that you have received some sort of training and now run a kitchen.  Kitchen manager, chef, head cook, really there is not much difference when you are at a restaurant of this caliber.  The pubs are not looking to have 4 star food, but they do have 4 star service.  If they mess up, they ALWAYS make up.  Burgers they serve, beer they pour, Booger Eaters not welcome.  Besides what other pubs do you see where when you walk in you are not assaulted by TV?  The pubs rock.

TinaBurgerMunch
TinaBurgerMunch

BoogerEater...Go eat some more boogers! Annabelle is one of the hardest-working people I know. She's very passionate about what she does, and I enjoy eating everything she creates. Who are you to say she is not a chef?! 

toeachtheirown
toeachtheirown

the opinion of this self-proclaimed "booger eater" is hardly worth noting, except for it's absurdity. on the contrary, chef annabelle has been an inspiration to the menu at all three pubs. cheers to her great food!

PCR
PCR

@fa0bb4899de4012151968d180b2b3147:disqus . Whether you call her a prep cook or a chef, the fact of the matter is that Chef Annabelle oversees 3 very busy bar/restaurants where the food is consistent and real. Perhaps executing someone else's menu is not what you call a "chef", remember, chef means nothing more than "boss". Finally, Ive had the pleasure of working sise by side w Chef Annabelle, and the gal can cook.And their wings rule, too

BoogerEaterLove
BoogerEaterLove

Over seeing three pubs makes you a chef?  The food is consistent and real at McDonalds too, but the head kitchen person in there does not call themselves a chef. So, to reply to that being some sort of qualifying criterium...NO.  Busy or not. It does not matter.  Chef is too fast becoming a bastardized term that is applied loosely to burger flippers, kitchen managers and the like.  This 'chef' does not order the food but for one place, does not develop recipes except on the 'special' board.  The kitchen is literally built around burger flipping and cutting french fries.  That's it.  ANYONE can write a menu and make is sound good and taste good.  That is NOT what defines you as a chef.  I was not picking on her, but her title.  As far as cooking a burger to temp.-well that is what you get when you have mildly culinary minded people cooking the food.  The pubs (all 3) are great, but if you go there for a 'gastro' pub type experience. You will be disappointed. Have a beer, it will anything taste good.

PCRisanidiot
PCRisanidiot

Chef means nothing more than boss.  You are an asshole.  Try to order a burger to temp at this "chef's"  Vine St. location.   

Santa
Santa

If anyone can do it than why aren't you? Oh thats right you were let go because your skill level was less than most that work at McDonalds. Don't hate. Grow Up. Remember Santa knows everything!

tooter
tooter

BoogerEater - What do you do for a living?  Have you ever worked in a restaurant or kitchen?  I did not see anything in this article that lead me to believe that the "pubs" are trying to be Gastro by any means.  Maybe you should apply to one of the pubs and try flipping burgers yourself.  BTW - Merriam-Webster defines 'chef' as: chef noun \ˈshef\Definition of CHEF1: a skilled cook who manages the kitchen (as of a restaurant)

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