Paxia, the Mexican eatery opened a year ago by the Leon family (owner of the popular Los Carboncitos), just hired Sharif Villa Cruz as its executive chef.
A family-run business, Paxia brings sophisticated Mexican cuisine to North Denver in a physical setting and with a food menu that is much more polished than what Denver has been used to from the Leon brothers at Los Carboncitos. Polished is what Sharif Villa-Cruz does best.
Villa Cruz, a 29 year-old native of Mexico City, comes to Paxia from Row 14 where he spent the last year cooking alongside executive chef Jensen Cummings. This was not the first time that these two cooked together: Cummings had Villa-Cruz on board in his previous kitchen at TAG. There, Cummings recalls, Villa Cruz was quickly entrusted with lunch service. "That was when I realized how good he was. He is very technique-driven and truly takes care of the ingredients," says Cummings of his now departed sous-chef. Cummings is excited for him: "Any time people can move up, I am happy," he says.
For his part, Villa Cruz is very excited. Yesterday was his first day as executive chef at Paxia and he felt like he was just learning everything. But in a couple of weeks, he predicts a revamping of the menu, something he will take on in collaboration with the owners of Paxia.
· More Paxia Coverage [EDen]