Truffle Table chef Crickett Burns: "Have a good grasp of the rules...and then break them"
The Truffle Table
2556 15th Street
This is part one of my interview with Crickett Burns, chef of the Truffle Table; part two of our chat will run tomorrow.
"I can count on one hand the number of times we ate the same thing for dinner, mostly because my mom cooked something different every single night, and even if we wanted the same thing twice, we'd probably never get it, because she never wrote down the recipes," recalls Crickett Burns, the 31-year-old chef of the Truffle Table, a cheese-intensive restaurant in Highland that echoes Burns's childhood, inasmuch as it's always surprising guests with beautifully stinky new arrivals from around the globe.
But Burns's career path didn't surprise anyone. "I've always wanted to be a cook -- never anything else -- and my mom used to put me on the counter and let me add all the spices and seasonings to whatever she was making, and that marked the beginning of my love for food," says Burns, who's from Nebraska but moved to Fort Collins when she was eighteen. She got her first taste of a professional kitchen while working the line at Macaroni Grill, a gig she endured for two years before coming to Denver to attend culinary school at Cook Street. "I already knew the basic fundamentals of cooking and I had good knife skills, but I wanted to learn more about techniques and the history of food, so I went to culinary school and loved every minute of it," explains Burns, who met Goose Sorensen, the owner-chef of Solera, on graduation day -- a chance meeting that led to her first kitchen position in Denver.
"Goose gave the commencement speech, and when it was over, I introduced myself and then went to work for him as a pastry chef and a pantry cook," remembers Burns, who describes her time at Solera as an "incredible experience" -- and that was just the beginning of several incredible experiences to come. She worked with Jamey Fader, the culinary director of Big Red F, when Lola moved to Highland, then shared the line with Max MacKissock when he was the executive chef of Vita next door. And when MacKissock moved on, she continued to work by his side, cooking at Cafe Options, the original Squeaky Bean and then the new Squeaky Bean, with some interesting gigs in between. "When the original Bean closed and we were waiting for the new one to open, I had the pleasure of working at Euclid Hall and Rioja, Jennifer Jasinski's restaurants, and aside from the fact that Jen was incredibly gracious, it's one of the coolest kitchens that I've ever worked in," says Burns, who also put in time at Restaurant Kevin Taylor to brush up on her pastry skills.