Round two with Joe Freemond, exec chef of the Cellar Wine Bar
Most humbling moment as a chef: Being an executive chef and cooking my own food for my parents was an incredibly humbling moment. Seeing how proud they were to be here and to experience my culinary dream come true was priceless. I was also able to cook dishes from my new menu for Village Cork chef Samir Mohammad, which was a wonderful moment for me. When I was working with him, he taught me so much about how to make wonderful food in a non-conventional kitchen and how to make limited storage and lack of normal equipment work to your advantage. He calls it "combat cooking." I'd like to think that I'm carrying that legacy onward.
Greatest accomplishment as a chef: Designing and perfecting my menu, buying equipment, hiring my crew and getting the kitchen set up and ready to rock at Cellar Wine Bar in under a month -- and then seeing totally clean plates come back to the kitchen -- has been my greatest accomplishment.
What's your dream restaurant? I'm pretty close to my dream restaurant right now, actually. I have a small, intimate setting where I can actually cook the food and then personally serve it to my customers. My restaurant is small enough that everything is still very personal and hands-on, and its small scale allows my cooks and me the creative freedom to change the menu as frequently as we'd like. I'm blessed in this situation because I have the type of creative freedom and hands-on interaction that many chefs would kill for. All I could really ask for would be a slightly larger kitchen and my own garden dedicated just for the restaurant. I guess the Highland farmers' market will have to do for now.
What's next for you? I am going to pour everything I have into making the Cellar Wine Bar one of the best places to eat and drink in Denver. I can see myself being happy here for a while.