Jon Robbins, the chef de cuisine at Mizuna, who shares the line with chef/owner Frank Bonanno, is departing that kitchen after four years to open his own. Robbins, whose last day cooking with Bonanno is March 9, is leaving to pursue a pop-up supper club called Gypsy Kitchen.
Robbins, whose nickname in the Mizuna kitchen is "Beurre Blanc," hasn't solidified a space, according to Bonanno Concepts public relations and marketing coordinator Lauren Hendrick, but he's close, she says, to "inking a deal." (Our best guess is the former Venue space, in Highland). The supper club, which will be a full-time endeavor, adds Hednrick, will "transition from a bi-monthly pop-up concept to a full restaurant featuring elaborate tasting menus."
Numerous chefs who have cooked with Bonanno have gone on to open their own restaurants or food-related retail shops, which suggests that Bonanno knows how to teach his staff a thing or ten about cooking -- and running a business. Since Bonanno opened Mizuna in 2001 -- his first restaurant -- eight of his chefs have gone on to pursue successful culinary careers in Denver: Justin Brunson (Old Major and Masterpiece Deli); Stevie Allee (Masterpiece Deli); Alex Seidel (Fruition and Fruition Farms); Jean-Philippe Failyau (Park Burger); Rob Lawler (The Truffle Cheese Shop); Joe Walker (Curtis Park Deli); and Brett Shaheen, exec chef of The Wooden Table.
And now, Robbins, too, will have the same opportunity to start his own legacy. And, if you want to see what Robbins may have in mind for his future permanent pop-up, he's actually hosting two pop-up dinners this month -- March 9 and March 24 -- at Mizuna. The dinners, which include ten courses, plus wine pairings, are $100 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. To snatch up a reservation, go to www.gypsykitchendenver.com/upcoming-events/.
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