Corey Cunningham moved to Denver from New Jersey to take the executive chef job at Baur's Ristorante (now Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar), but after a few years, he split and headed to Boulder where he stepped into Brasserie Ten Ten as a sous.
Now, he's manning his own kitchen again: Last week, Cunningham took over the show at The Mediterranean, a tapas spot under the same ownership as Brasserie, and a restaurant that's known for its packed happy hours.
The Med, which is going on two decades, updated its space last year, adding a second dining room and refreshing the interior.
Under Cunningham, the same treatment will be applied to the menu. The chef plans to change things, giving special credence to locally sourced ingredients while remaining within the Mediterranean culinary canon, but he's making his alterations slowly and methodically. "My first attack was our tapas menu," Cunningham says, adding that he rolled out a new list just last night that peddles dishes like a braised Long Farm pork rib, house-made chorizo and hash and a new collection of cold plates, including a marinated tuna and calamari salad.
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He'll work on the lunch and dinner menus next, though he won't say exactly which direction he'll be taking those until he's had more time to wrap his arms around the concept -- and he won't divulge when those new menus might come to fruition.
The Med's expansion also resulted in a second kitchen that has, thus far, sat silent, and Cunningham's other task is to get that kitchen up and running. "We're planning on opening it soon," he says. "We'll have the same menu out of both kitchens, but we'll be able to better serve the whole restaurant." That extension will also deliver turn out food to the restaurant's vast patio, which is why the chef hopes to have it cooking before warmer weather returns to Colorado.