Throughout February, Eater ran a series of pay-it-forward notes of appreciation from peer to peer in Denver's food industry. The Spread The Love posts were launched by 5280 Magazine restaurant critic Stacey Brugeman who praised chef Mary Nguyen of Olive & Finch. From that post forward, fifteen other posts followed recognizing just as many chefs and restaurateurs. The last of those was authored by longtime Denver restaurateur Cliff Young who spoke highly of his former chef Mike Weist.
With the following note from Wiest, who recognizes Fruition's sous chef Matt Vawter, the Spread The Love series will turn into a monthly feature. Look for Vawter's post next month and in the meantime, here's a few words about him.
I had the pleasure to work with Matt Vawter in Breckenridge back in the mid 2000s. Matt had come from Keystone Culinary School at the time and had worked through the many fine establishments within the program. Although Matt had finished school, I believe that his first real kitchen experience came at the Cellar where I hired him as a pantry cook. At age 20, Matt quickly demonstrated his desire to learn, a strong culinary drive, and a professionalism not seen in most new culinarians his age. Soon, he had moved from the pantry to the grill, then sauté, and within a year he was running the hot line as my sous chef.
As with numerous budding young chefs, there is an uncertainty of passion and a definitive understanding of the hard work that they are about to embark upon. In Matt's case however, there was never any doubt that he was meant for the rigors of the kitchen and the demanding attention that great food must be given. Within the first year of working with him, I knew that he would have a tremendous career as a chef.
Although chef Vawter is behind the scenes at one of Denver's most renowned restaurants, Fruition, I know that chef Alex Seidel would agree that Matt's understanding of food and commitment to flawless execution continues to be a recipe for the restaurant's success. While working with Matt almost ten years, ago I knew then that one day I would see him on the cover of Food & Wine. I know that day has not yet happened but it is coming, just be patient.
· February Love: Restaurant Critic Stacey Brugeman on Olive & Finch [EDen]
· Chef Mary Nguyen on Marco's Coal Fired Pizza [EDen]
· February Is For Lovers: Chef Mark Dym on TAG [EDen]
· Chef Troy Guard on Twelve Restaurant and Jeff Osaka [EDen]
· Chef Jeff Osaka on Beast +Bottle [EDen]
· Paul Reilly of Beast + Bottle on Fuel Cafe's Bob Blair [EDen]
· Bob Blair of Fuel Cafe on Potager's Chef and Owner Teri Rippeto [EDen]
· Potager's Teri Rippeto on Rob and Karin Lawler of the Truffle [EDen]
· Karin Lawler of the Truffle Table on Brian Laird of Sarto's [EDen]
· Brian Laird of the Upcoming Sarto's on Darrel Truett of Barolo Grill [EDen]
· Alex Seidel of Fruition on Keegan Gerhard of D Bar [EDen]
· Keegan Gerhard of D Bar on Chef Jamey Fader [EDen]
· Chef Jamey Fader on Dave Query of the Big Red F Group [EDen]
· Dave Query of the Big Red F on Restaurateur Cliff Young [EDen]
· Longtime Denver Restaurateur Cliff Young Talks About Chef Mike Weist