After two and half years spearheading the line at Jonesy's EatBar, chef Beau Simmons is no longer in the kitchen. It all went down last week, he says, when owner Leigh Jones pulled him aside and suggested that it was time for the two to part ways, a decision, he emphasizes, that was mutual.
"It's disappointing, but it's inevitable sometimes that you have to go your separate ways in order to grow and move onward," says Simmons, who's on his way up to the mountains today to commune with nature. "We'd been talking about some changes for a while," he adds, "and while I'm bummed, it was a great opportunity for me, and I learned a lot from Jonesy's, and I think Jonesy's learned a lot from me."
And Jones, for her part, agrees. "It was a great two years," she says, "and Beau really helped to round out our 'make regulars' philosophy, and we foresee a bright future for him in whatever he chooses to do next."
Since Simmons's departure, Jones has promoted Alexandria White and Joel Rubin, Jonesy's former co-sous chefs, to co-executive chefs. "They were taking care of the daily operations in the kitchen, and we've always striven for a very collaborative atmosphere, and this is a team that will continue that tradition," she says, adding that it's a duo that's "excited, dedicated, passionate and ready to step up to the plate and be a part of the Denver community."
And what will Simmons do next? "I'm going to take a break for a little while and re-evaluate what I want to do with my life," he tells me. "I have a passion for cooking like no one else, and I love being in the kitchen, but it might be time to do something else."
Springing for seeds and textbooks, for example. Simmons, who adopted the nickname "Farmer Beau" during his time cultivating the stunning vegetable garden in the back yard of Jones's house in Highland, may ditch the kitchen entirely, at least for the short term, to return to the classroom. "I love gardening, and I may go back to school to learn about botany and horticulture," he reveals. "I'd like to find a way to make the farm-to-table movement more accessible to the Denver culinary scene, so that we can take advantage of our local bounty without having to go all the way to Palisade or Fort Collins to get our produce."
In the meantime, says Simmons, "I just got a new house and have an amazing back yard, so I might start doing some gardening at home and host a few garden parties."
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Oh...and Matt Selby, if you're reading, Simmons says he'd still be willing to wash your dishes.