Executive chef Kyle Mendenhall, who has been part of the Kitchen family for some eight years, is no longer with the Boulder-born company. The break-up was described by company insiders as shocking and entirely unexpected.
"We love Kyle and he has been a great part of our family for a long time," co-owner Kimbal Musk said. "We'd rather not comment on his departure. Any time a member of a family moves on, it is hard for those left behind but the reality is that it isn't that unusual for people to move on in the restaurant world. We continue to support Kyle; he will always be a member of the Kitchen family," he added. When asked whether a non-disclosure/non-disparagement agreement was in place, Musk confirmed and added that is was "nothing out of the ordinary."
Mendenhall confirmed his departure and shared that he will miss the people he worked with. "I have a lot of love for the Kitchen. Those guys were great mentors to me for a long time and I am proud of what we built together. For nearly eight years, more than five days a week, I gave 110% of everything I've had and I don’t regret a single day."
Without a replacement for Mendenhall in place, the Kitchen is on its way to expanding both in Denver and out-of-state, while simultaneously engaging in a battle for its own name with culinary giant Wolfgang Puck. The chef's profile on the Kitchen's website is still active. Here's what it says:
Executive Chef, The Kitchen
Kyle is a former musician turned chef, originally coming to Boulder in 2000 to pursue a Master's Degree in Music and a career as a classical musician. After finishing his degree he began spending time in many of Colorado best restaurants and ultimately became consumed in the culinary world. As he continued to work in restaurants, it became clear to him that being a chef and his passion for musical performance share common themes - artistic expression, passion, pressure and performance are all similar in the two professions.
As Executive Chef, Kyle oversees back of the house operations for all The Kitchen restaurants. He believes in "Community Through Food" and that all great restaurants start with relationships. Whether it be with farmers, ranchers, bakers or fellow chefs, all work together to make our food system better.
In retrospect, Kyle believes his passion for food comes from the simple yet hearty dishes his Mother and Grandmother cooked for him as a child. Many of us share similar memories and they are the backbone of what The Kitchen stands for and strives for.
Kyle holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in music performance from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado, respectively.
Community Through Food Means...
"People must eat food to sustain life. Food alone does not create a sense community. The Kitchen is a vessel responsible for hosting the most important building block of a community, serving others."