Ambria exec chef Jeremy Kittelson gets fired...at the Cheesecake Factory

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Lori Midson
Some of the best food I've had this year came from the kitchen of Ambria, a Mediterranean-New American restaurant on the 16th Street Mall, whose line was built -- and quarterbacked -- by Jeremy Kittelson, a brilliant kitchen magician whose culinary background is more than impressive: He cooked at Vong, a now-shuttered Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant in Chicago, and he was the sous chef at Blackbird, also in Chicago, before moving to Colorado to open Avondale in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. He left and was offered an exec-chef position and part ownership of Ambria, "a chef-driven concept, which is exactly what I wanted," he told me when we sat down a few weeks ago for a Chef and Tell interview.

But yesterday, Kittelson was fired. During the height of Denver Restaurant Week. And the news, ironically, was handed down at the Cheesecake Factory, of all places.

"I was called in on my day off and let go at the Cheesecake Factory," says Kittelson, whose sous chef had been fired just moments before. "I was relieved of my position -- told, simply, that it wasn't working out -- and I'm really saddened, because I put my heart and soul into this restaurant, my family invested money to open it and I really cared about what I was doing at Ambria. It was my dream to be a part of this great Denver culinary community."

His cooks, along with a second sous chef, put down their knives when they heard the news. "I want to make it clear that I did not walk out, and nor did I take my staff with me. I was fired and my staff, all of whom have worked with me in the past, left because they wanted to," Kittelson stresses. "I'm concerned about my staff, a few of whom came here from the East Coast just to work at Ambria," he adds. "I worked with a lot of talented people who are now looking for jobs, and my priority is making sure that I can help them find them."

As for Kittelson, he, too, is looking for a new space to cook. "We're all going to be fine, but I need to let the gravity of the situation sink in and mellow out, and then I'll start making phone calls and sending e-mails," he says. "I really want to find another restaurant, where we can do the same caliber of great cuisine that we did at Ambria. I love it here in Denver, and I'm ready to move on and embrace the next challenge."

We're equally excited about what the future holds for Kittelson -- and Denver.

Location Info

Ambria - CLOSED

1201 16th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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21 comments
Tj
Tj

Seriously? What difference does it make where Kittleson was fired? I wouldn't want to be fired in front of everyone at my own restaurant. And hoping/trying to get the to restaurant close?. Be big boys and girls. If you have never been fired/let go, you probably will at some point like the rest of us. Try to act like someone else should want to hire you.

believe
believe

Rich Manzo, GM of Ambria will bring this place to a close!

Supacoo
Supacoo

Jeremy rocks. Screw you, Ambria!

Citizen Jenn
Citizen Jenn

Fired at the Cheesecake Factory? Jaysus, Ambria! Did you have to fire him AND lob him in the cherries at the same time? 

-WFK-
-WFK-

hey Ambria cooks, i am looking for some self motivated line cooks for a tiki restaurant opening soon... it is going to kill it. I want people who love food and love cooking without an attitude... if that sounds like you then please e-mail your resume to me at headlessmonkey@hotmail.com    Chef Jeremy, i wish you the best...

JB
JB

Just cancelled my reservations!!

Davelovelace
Davelovelace

At least the 16th mall still has Marlowe's

Kevin
Kevin

What a shame.  I've ate at Ambria twice and both times had excellent meals, was planning to return soon.  On the plus side, I don't have to venture to 16th St Mall anymore.

Ann
Ann

Crossing Ambria off my list - let us know where Jeremy ends up - that place going right on the list.

Claire
Claire

Sitting here shaking head in astonishment.

Jennifer Bryant
Jennifer Bryant

If anyone knows how to get in touch with Jeremy let him know I am recruiting for a new Denver concept that is looking for a Chef and GM.  Send resumes to jennifer@rmradvance.com.  www.rmradvance.com

Joey B
Joey B

:-O what the hell????  Everything I ever had there was perfect.  

Brian Melton
Brian Melton

info@leighsullivan.com - Always looking to help the industry in any way we can.  Send resumes and we'll see what we can do.

cmack23
cmack23

Wow ...Just Wow, wish I knew more, he was great, food was awesome. Been there a few times for events and dinners and lunch too, food was always on point and unique!  I know lots of their FOH staff as well, and hope they are safe where they are...wonder what influenced this decision, as they have been doing pretty damn well thus far.  Best of luck Jeremy and crew!!!

Craig
Craig

Why cancel your reservation?  Let them hold a table for you!

davebarnes
davebarnes

 Seriously?I have ate at...How about: I have eaten at...How about: I ate at...

Dishpr
Dishpr

I am handling inquiries, in part: Dishpr@gmail.com

JB
JB

No kitchen staff....especially the chef that is drawing alot of talk in the city.......I have no reason to check it out now! I wanted to see what someone from blackbird and "vong" would bring to Denver and he's done already! FOH isn't going to keep it open alone!

Kevin
Kevin

Seriously?

How about: You are a loser Dave.

grammar police
grammar police

SERIOUSLY? what a douche. what are you a fucking english teacher. piss off

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