In memoriam: Curtis Caldwell, sous chef at Vesta Dipping Grill, passes away

"Curtis is a great example of the many unsung heroes that make a successful restaurant tick," says Wolkon, "and while he wasn't in the spotlight, for five years he kept the sauces fresh, the desserts creative, and he was responsible for countless other intangible details of keeping a restaurant kitchen running."

Selby expresses those same sentiments -- and more. "After I said my goodbye, I was a wreck all day, but I still had so much to say, so I sent him an e-mail even though I knew he'd never read it....I needed to talk to him," says Selby, fighting back tears. "I thanked him for being a such a good friend and I thanked him for teaching me about food, for being so creative and innovative and bringing so much to the table -- he made the rest of us shine."

Selby, now the chef of the Corner House, remembers his friend as "one of the most genuine, pure and real people I've ever met," and while Selby -- and everyone else -- tries to heal, he's still reeling from what none of us could have remotely predicted -- that a young, strong, vibrant life would be taken from us so soon. "I'll miss hanging out and messing with him, and I'll miss him tolerating my obnoxiousness and silly humor...It just doesn't seem fair that this world has to go on without someone as awesome as Curtis," he says. "Still, I'd like to think that he taught us so much about being real that we can carry on for him, because it's not everyday that you run across someone like Curtis -- someone so tolerant and vulnerable and yet so strong. Everyone misses him so much. This has ripped everyone apart."

But the outpouring of support -- "the outpouring of calls from the restaurant community validates his positive affect on people and the Denver community," stresses Wolkon, recalling an old photo of Caldwell wearing one of his favorite t-shirts that simple reads "Free Your Mind."

"He definitely leaves this world having made a difference, and his sweets will continue to put smiles on people's faces," affirms Wolkon. "The Vesta family will miss our friend and brother dearly, and we're incredibly grateful that we belong to such a genuinely supportive restaurant community."

Caldwell will be laid to rest on Friday in Warsaw, West Virginia, his hometown, and there will also be a memorial service in Denver. "We all want to celebrate the beautiful life Curtis lived," says Wolkon.

To honor Caldwell, we put together a gallery of photos -- they're on the following pages -- that will always remind us of the love he bestowed on everyone he touched.

We'll miss you, dear friend.

Location Info

Vesta Dipping Grill

1822 Blake St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
13 comments
divis10nbeee
divis10nbeee

great guy...keep cooking up there buddy...

gustov
gustov

Life is short, you never know when your ticket will be punched.  The pictures portray that Curtis made great use of his life, which is the whole point of life.  Thats an inspiration.  RIP Curtis

Jack Goldsmith
Jack Goldsmith

Thank you for the beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Curtis touched many with his class, humor and cuisine. He will be missed. Peace, Prayers and Blessings. RIP Chef CC!

joehowell31
joehowell31

Thank you for this wonderful and heartfelt article - Curtis was my nephew and he was loved by many - thanks

ajns155
ajns155

Thank you for a wonderful tribute. So many hearts are broken right now and it's words like these that help us all heal.

Bekki Marsh
Bekki Marsh

RIP Curtis, prayers to you and your family.

Lee Goodfriend
Lee Goodfriend

Lovely article on a lovely man. He will be greatly missed. he touched our hearts. RIP Curtis.

Grace Castellanos
Grace Castellanos

My heart goes out to his family and friends. What a sad loss. In honor of Curtis, we will make the jalapeno tofu recipe that he kindly sent us after we ate at Vesta.

Elizabeth389
Elizabeth389

Thank you Lori for such a wonderful tribute!


ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

In Memoriam:  God be with you.

bmelt
bmelt

Thank you, Lori. This was a necessary tribute. 

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...