Chef and Tell: Chef Brady Marcotte of Table Top

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Mark Antonation
Chef Brady Marcotte preps for dinner service at Table Top.
"If it's not right, it's wrong." Those are the words of wisdom that chef Brady Marcotte of Table Top, which opened this summer in Park Hill, learned from Steven Redzikowski, chef and co-owner of Boulder's Oak at Fourteenth and Acorn in Denver. Marcotte, who worked for Redzikowski for two years and helped open Acorn in the Source last year, says he strives for the same level of excellence in the kitchen at Table Top.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top

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Mark Antonation
The crispy pork ribs from Brady Marcotte's kitchen at Table Top.
Of course, there are ups and downs with both service and menu execution at any new restaurant, but Marcotte hopes that cooking to his strengths will get things on track quickly and that a tight bond with his crew, which he says is like a family, will keep the kitchen running at its best. Those strengths -- a focus on wood-fired cooking and a love of offal -- feature prominently on Table Top's menu, which Marcotte describes as "smokehouse-inspired New American." Spare ribs, pork loin and the Carolina-style pulled pork for his sliders all spend time over smoke, while organ meats pop up on both the Chef's burger topped with shaved beef tongue and a charcuterie board offering chicken liver pâté. He's even experimenting with cured meats: A recently added blue prawn dish receives a fatty boost from guanciale made with pork cheeks that Marcotte started curing before the restaurant's opening day.

Marcotte got his first restaurant job at fourteen at a Papa Murphy's in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas; by seventeen he was managing the place, entrusted with keys to the building and a hand in the accounting. But while he may have been driven to succeed at a young age, his passion for cooking was slow to build.

"All I ate was chicken nuggets and fries -- not even burgers," he says of his childhood eating habits. But his French grandfather and the meals cooked by his grandparents gradually won him over. "We had family dinners two or three times a month with twenty to thirty people," he remembers. That classical French aspect of cooking appealed to him and ultimately spurred his move toward a career in the kitchen. After working and traveling, his goal was to become the best saucier he could be, hopefully in a Michelin-starred kitchen in France.

Instead, he wound up in Lawrence, Kansas, and during a vacation in Boulder "realized that the food scene [there] is 100 percent better than Lawrence or Wichita," he says. He also realized there was more to cooking than just the precise attention to sauces and plating required of a saucier. So he moved to Boulder, where he first worked at Colterra doing classical French cuisine, and he also spent time learning vegetarian cuisine at Leaf and Latin American cooking at Aji. He even worked for a sushi chef with 42 years of experience -- mostly sharpening knives, he jokes. It was at the now-defunct Pinyon, though, cooking with chef Theo Adley (who today heads the kitchen at the Squeaky Bean), that the "creative fun," as Marcotte calls it, started to sink in. And at Oak and Acorn, he was able to delve deeper into creativity as well as work with wood-fired cooking.

Now Marcotte is combining what he's learned from his French grandfather with the modern American approach of his Boulder mentors -- with a little Kansas City barbecue inspiration thrown in -- to create Table Top's menu. The fare ranges from Midwestern homey (think cornbread muffins and buttermilk pie from pastry chef Cammie Thomas) to French-influenced (mussels braised in Black Shirt Brewing's red saison) to thoroughly modern and definitely Boulder-inspired (his vegetarian pistachio mushroom sausage).

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Location Info

Table Top

2230 Oneida St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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4 comments
annawilson202
annawilson202

Marie Callender's organic cornbread is to die for…. I've used this mix for several years and everyone in my family loves it!! Now, it's sort of a tradition for me and the little ones to have weekly baking sessions with MC’s cornbreads and muffins. You should visit their website today www.mccornbread.com to purchase your mixes. I’m sure you will enjoy the great taste!

purplesuns
purplesuns

glad they corrected name of pastry chef- Cammie Thomas deserves to be recognized.

davidjhuff
davidjhuff

Where did the interview portion of chef and tell go?  

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

Did you notice the chef's fuzzy face (as well as one of the other kitchen workers)?  If you find any face fuzz in your food there, then remember that every picture tells a story.

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