Food News

Kimbal Musk Talks About the Newest Member of the Kitchen Family

On Monday we shared the news that The Kitchen restaurant group will be moving into Cherry Creek with a new restaurant slated for a late summer opening. This will be the fifth Kitchen, including one in Chicago, for founders Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson, who got their start in Boulder in 2004. While tracking down the busy Musk, whose restaurant empire also includes several branches of Next Door and other out-of-state-projects in the works,  proved tricky, we eventually caught up with him to fill in a few details of the impending Cherry Creek opening.

Musk doesn't just run restaurants; his company also oversees the Kitchen Community, which helps spread the message of locally grown food through its Learning Gardens at elementary schools around the country. We asked him about the Kitchen's community approach and how the newest member of the family will help maintain the company's goals.

Westword: How will the community-centered aspects of the Kitchen take shape at the Cherry Creek location?

Kimbal Musk: The new Cherry Creek bistro has a large bar area - larger than our other restaurants. We'll also have our community table that will seat around 12 to 14 people — perfect for large gatherings of friends or for complete strangers to sit-down, break bread and get to know each other. Monday nights we'll continue our wonderful Community Night, a chef prepared, four-course meal served family style for $35. The large patio, which seats around 40 guests, will be another great gathering place for the community.

Are there any school gardens in the surrounding neighborhoods sponsored by the Kitchen Community or are there plans to create any?

Yes, we have several Learning Gardens in the surrounding Cherry Creek/Denver area including: C3 Elementary School, McMeen Elementary School, University Park Elementary School, Venture Prep High School,  [and] West Generation Academy.

What are the goals for the Cherry Creek culinary program that will be distinct from other Kitchen locations?

We will continue to locally and responsibly source all ingredients. The goal of the culinary program will be the same as it is with our bistro locations: delicious, honest food, thoughtfully prepared with super, high-quality ingredients. The space features an awesome wood oven - which is new for the bistros but we've had great success with at The Kitchen Upstairs in Boulder. There will be a lively bar scene with al fresco dining.

I also just learned about chef Kyle Mendenhall's departure. I'm sure it's a difficult transition, but how soon do you plan to hire/promote someone to the position? What qualities are you looking for in a chef and leader?

We are currently hiring a Head Chef to lead our Cherry Creek bistro. We are looking for leadership and great restaurant operators that have a palate, understand simple food and hidden technique. Someone who can create delicious, exciting dishes under the premise of simplicity. [For information about the open position, see The Kitchen's website.]