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New Chefs Take the Reins at Wayward, Centro, Panzano, and More

The recent Denver kitchen changes to know about

Talia Diele is the new head chef at Wayward restaurant in Riverfront Park
Ryan Dearth
  • Chef Talia Diele has joined the Wayward team following chef Patrick Kelly’s departure, just three months after opening the restaurant, in October. Diele comes to Wayward most recently from Via Perla and River and Woods in Boulder. Originally from Denver, her background is Italian-focused, with stints at Bella Bistro in Arvada and Terra & Acqua in St. Augustine, Florida. At Wayward, she has created menu items such as a potato agnolotti with broccolini pesto, for dinner, and beet-cured lox with an everything cracker, for brunch. Watch for breakfast and lunch menus in the new year.
  • In Boulder, Johnny Curiel has taken over as the chef de cocina at Centro Mexican Kitchen. Curiel comes most recently from Tag Restaurant Group (Guard and Grace, Los Chingones, and Mister Tuna), and he previously worked with chef Richard Sandoval. Originally from Guadalajara, Curiel has traveled to almost every state in Mexico. His new menu at Centro brings everyday dishes from the Yucatan, Nayarit coast, and Oaxaca to Colorado. On it, find mole negro, shrimp and scallop tumbada, and slow-roasted lamb tacos.
  • A new team of chefs, led by Greg Lucero, has moved into Charcoal Bistro in Wash Park. The 1-year-old sister restaurant to Charcoal in Golden Triangle is switching up its staff in a big way, starting with Lucero, who helped open Charcoal Restaurant, worked under chefs Frank Bonanno and Jennifer Jasinski, and trained for stints at La Folie in San Francisco and Quintonil in Mexico City. Lucero brings to the bistro more new talent in sous chef Ryan Higgins, who previously worked at Mizuna, Bones, and Green Russell, and most recently comes to Charcoal from The Nickel. Finally, Brendan Scott will join them on the line. He worked with Lucero in San Francisco and has staged at Eleven Madison Park, Momofuku Ko, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Atera.
  • Panzano has launched successful culinary careers for Denver chefs such as Jennifer Jasinski and Elise Wiggins. Now Nic Lebas, orginally from France, takes the reins of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco’s classic Italian restaurant with plans to update the menu starting with daily specials. Lebas’ career began in a hotel near Marseille and continued at San Antonio’s La Cantera, followed by The Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, and Kimpton’s Hotel Zamora in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Denver native Joy Williams is the new executive pastry chef for Tag Restaurant Group’s eight concepts. Trained at Johnson and Wales as well as Alain Ducasse’s École Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie, Williams now has a decade of pastry experience. She has worked at Denver restaurants from Frasca, to Charcoal, ChoLon, Cho77, and, most recently, all of the Bonanno Concepts. Watch for her desserts across menus at Tag, Guard and Grace, FnG, and more in the coming weeks and months.


1610 Little Raven St., Denver, CO 80202 Visit Website

Charcoal Restaurant

43 West 9th Avenue, , CO 80204 (303) 454-0000 Visit Website


909 17th Street, , CO 80202 (303) 296-3525 Visit Website

Centro Mexican Kitchen

950 Pearl Street, , CO 80302 (303) 442-7771 Visit Website

Tag Restaurant

1441 Larimer Street, , CO 80202 (303) 996-9985 Visit Website