Cafe Society

Chef and Tell with Drew Middleton from Gaia Bistro

Drew Middleton Gaia Bistro 1551 South Pearl Street 303-777-5699 www.gaiabistro.com

"Cooking wasn't my passion; music was," says Drew Middleton, who moved from San Antonio to Denver in 2001 at the coaxing of a music producer who was interested in signing Middleton's former band, Medicine, after hearing a demo CD. "We were playing at the Bluebird, at Herman's and the Gothic, and we were doing all right, but I wasn't fulfilled," admits Middleton, who had briefly attended Baylor University before dropping out -- "It just wasn't for me" -- and heading to Denver. So he did what any wayward twenty-year-old would do under those circumstances: He went to culinary school. "I'd been working in kitchens on and off since I was seventeen, so it was something that was familiar to me, and I thought the experience would be helpful one day -- plus I needed to get a job to pay the bills," he remembers.

In between tackling the culinary curriculum at the Art Institute of Colorado and appearing on music stages to make ends meet, Middleton learned something about himself: "Even though it was a reach, cooking came naturally to me, and I was really good at it. The more I cooked, the more passionate I became."