Word of Mouth

A Bird or a Plane? No, Just the Pierce Brothers at Stoic & Genuine

Chef Jorel Pierce of Stoic & Genuine is no stranger to publicity, with an appearance on season ten of Bravo's Top Chef as well as additional camera time as Jen Jasinski's sous chef on Top Chef Masters. But if you've been to the new oyster house in Union Station, you may have been confused by a sighting of Pierce -- or someone who looks enough like him to cause a double-take -- working the front of the house. It's actually his brother Kael, who's on the waitstaff there and was also on the opening team at Euclid Hall and at Rioja before that. Fans of the Superman comic book and movies franchises may also notice their names have a familiar ring.

See also: Wall Street Journal's "Insider's Guide to Denver," with Jen Jasinski and Adam Lerner

That's because Jorel and Kael's parents intentionally named them for Superman characters: Kal-El and his father, Jor-El. (Kael was originally named Kalel, but that was one too many Ls for a toddler).

While the comic books inspired their names, that's about as far as the Superman story went in their family. "I never wore tights," says Kael. Jorel adds that they never collected the comic books or action figures, but they did have a German Shepard named Korel.

Jorel and Kael aren't twins, although the family resemblance is strong; Jorel says they were born exactly fourteen months, fourteen days and fourteen hours apart -- at least according to the story their parents like to tell. Growing up, they did get lots of questions about their names, at least until Superman Returns hit theaters in 2006, putting the Superman mythos back on the pop-culture radar. Kael says the new Man of Steel looks like it might be the best of the movies so far; Jorel also picks Russell Crowe as the better version of Superman's dad (over the puffy-haired Marlon Brando).

In terms of hidden powers, Kael is just back in the restaurant business after a three-year stint in heating and air conditioning. And Jorel's kitchen kryptonite? "Green peppers and dirty towels," he says without hesitation.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation