Chef John Broening , who co-owns Spuntino along with his pastry chef wife Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, has joined Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar as executive chef. Broening will also serve as culinary director for all upcoming Seasoned Development (the restaurant group behind Le Grand and Punch Bowl Social) concepts in Denver, including the upcoming reopening of Argyll, a successful gastro-pub that shuttered in its Cherry Creek location two years ago.
Restaurateur Robert Thompson owns Seasoned Development. Thompson and Broening have previously collaborated on Brasserie Rouge, a short-lived but highly acclaimed restaurant in LoDo that was named, among others, Best New Restaurant by Westword, Best French Restaurant by the Denver Post, and listed among the Nation's Best New Restaurants by Gourmet Magazine. Thompson mentioned his desire to revive Brasserie Rouge in an Eater interview nearly a year ago and it seems like he finally found a way to make that happen: rebuild the team.
"We are proud to announce the John Broening addition," Thompson said through a press release. "Chef Broening's passion, experience and culinary dexterity have, for a long time, needed a larger stage from which to speak," he added.
For his part, Broening said, "French food has been a passion for me since I was very young: I grew up in France, worked there early in my career, and cooked French at Brasserie Rouge with Robert [Thompson], which many people still tell me is one of Denver's most-missed restaurants. What French people eat is much lighter, fresher, more vegetal and a lot less fussy than the popular stereotype. At Le Grand, I look forward to cooking the everyday food that French people eat."
What to expect from the chef at Le Grand Bistro? The focus of the dishes will change according to the seasons to allow for clean Mediterranean flavors of Provence - tomatoes, lamb, olives, artichokes, goat, cheese, olive oil- in the spring and summer, taste notes from Brittany and Normandy - apples, crepes, great seafood, mussels- in the fall, and the cuisine of Burgundy, Perigord, and Alsace Lorraine -think coq au vin, duck confit, cassoulet and the great brasserie dishes like choucroute- in the winter months.
Le Grand Bistro will release a series of new menus, starting with a dinner menu on Thursday, July 11. A new lunch menu will follow on July 16 with the brunch menu being launched on July 20. Le Grand Bistro will also extend this model to the mixology program, fine tuning artisan cocktails with fresh squeezed juices, light and fresh ingredients, and a rotating seasonal menu of cocktails.
A new Argyll location is near and the Seasoned Development group is working on two other concepts. Broening will direct the culinary effort in each new location in the Colorado market. Sergio Romero, the opening chef at Le Grand Bistro, will take on the position of culinary director of Punch Bowl Social Food & Drink's national enterprise.
· Robert Thompson and The Revival of Brasserie Dining at Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar [EDen]
· Chefs and Servants: John Broening of Spuntino On How Those in the Service Industry Are Treated [EDen]
· John Broening of Spuntino on Originality and Copyrights in the Food Business [EDen]
John Broening [Photo: Courtesy of John Broening]