Round two with Shaun Motoda, chef de cuisine at TAG|RAW BAR

Which chef has most inspired you? I've always looked at Roy Yamaguchi as a role model. He opened Roy's in Hawaii and helped create Hawaiian regional cuisine. I really admire how he fuses bold flavors so that they truly blend.

If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? I'd love to cook with Chris Kajioka, who just opened up Vintage Cave in Honolulu. He's bringing small, clean, artistic plates to Hawaii. I'd also love to work in Mo-rimoto's kitchen. Oh, and Thomas Keller's kitchen. How many am I allowed to pick?

Most humbling moment as a chef: When I started working for Troy Guard at TAG, my first position was sauté -- and it was my first job coming out of Roy's on Oahu. Roy is one of Troy's mentors and friends, and I felt like I had something to prove. I remember messing up pretty big on a dish, and the whole kitchen was waiting on me -- and Troy didn't hesitate to let me know. I didn't make that mistake again. I want to be the best, and working in a TAG kitchen makes you the best.

Biggest moment of euphoria in the kitchen: When I serve the omakase chef's tasting menu at TAG|RAW, I really push myself to create dishes that not only aren't on our menu, but that aren't on any menu the diner has ever seen. Introducing people to completely new things like kangaroo and seeing their faces light up is incredible. That's what I love most about working at a TAG Concept -- I work hard because I choose to, and I'm not sure there's anywhere else where I'd have the freedom to create and make an impact like I do here.

Greatest accomplishment as a chef: It was a big deal to get to open TAG|RAW with Troy and chef Sam Freund. I'm pretty thrilled to be celebrating our two-year anniversary in March.

What's one thing that people would be surprised to know about you? I may seem quiet, but I have a pretty wicked sense of humor.

Last meal before you die: A multi-course sushi tasting made by Jiro Ono, the sushi chef who was the subject of the 2011 documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Location Info

The Diner

9670 W. Coal Mine Ave., Littleton, CO

Category: Restaurant

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