Late last month, Wade Kirwan, an eleven-year veteran of Vesta Dipping Grill, 1822 Blake Street, made the difficult decision to pull himself off the line. Kirwan, who had spent the last five years as the executive chef of the LoDo hot spot, alongside chef Matt Selby and cohorts Kenny Turk and Brandon Foster, said he was "burned out" and needed to take a step back from the restaurant scene to contemplate his future.
Now Foster, Kirwan's former sous chef, has taken over the burners. An alum of the sorely missed Fourth Story and Mel's Bar and Grill in Cherry Creek, Foster joined the Vesta team in 2005, where he was quickly promoted to sous chef. "Vesta has been blessed to have loyal sous chefs, and while these chefs are totally capable of taking an executive chef position elsewhere in town, they've stayed with Vesta and filled vital roles," says Vesta owner Josh Wolkon. "Given chef Foster's history with the company, it makes this transition an easy and exciting one. We'll miss Wade dearly but he left us in great hands, and I look forward to seeing where Wade surfaces next and what chef Foster creates with this opportunity."
A new menu, for example, which Selby, Foster and Turk, now Foster's sous chef, have just completed, and according to Wolkon, it's the largest menu overhaul in Vesta's thirteen year history. "There are a variety of new small plate and shared appetizers, a daily chef's tasting menu, new sides, and an entirely new menu format," he says.
Foster, whose food fetishes include charcuterie, morel mushrooms, ramps, and root vegetables, insists that respect for the ingredients is vital. "The quality of your product should be of the utmost of importance," he says.
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The new board, which looks fantastic, hasn't done away with its nearly 40 signature dipping sauces (and likely never well), but we're excited about several new dishes, too, including the pecan pie salad dressed with a maple bourbon vinaigrette, the Chinese barbecue pork belly, maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, smoked venison sausage and the jalapeno-grilled pork tenderloin with corn spoon bread, tasso ham gravy and mustard greens.