Best Rising-Star Chef - 2011
Jorel Pierce worked the line at Rioja for nearly four years under chef Jennifer Jasinski (who owns Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendôme with business partner Beth Gruitch) before taking his maverick prowess to Euclid Hall, where he now mans the kitchen. Pierce is confident, brilliantly innovative and, at 26, one of the city's youngest kitchen kingpins to pioneer a line that turns out what may very well be the most ambitiously executed menu in Denver. His board, a witty, pithy digest of under-represented foodstuffs — blood sausage, for instance — dazzles, as does he. "This is my life, this is what I do, and I take it very, very seriously," Pierce says of his craft — a craft that's just beginning to shape a very bright future.