Film and TV

Brother Luck and Other Colorado Chefs Who Have Appeared on Chopped

Brother Luck is putting Colorado Springs on the culinary map.
Brother Luck is putting Colorado Springs on the culinary map. Will Rutledge
Having a name like Brother Luck is almost as much as any chef needs in the way of publicity. But Luck and a growing number of other Colorado chefs are getting additional attention from recent appearances on the Food Network's Chopped and other television shows.

Luck, who's the fourth generation to bear the name (although the first to have it listed on his birth certificate; the previous three generations were officially named Marcellus Luck), is the chef/owner of Brother Luck Street Eats in Colorado Springs, where the menu is inspired by street food from around the world. Luck appeared on the "Beast Feast" episode of Chopped, which first aired on November 22 last year. Although he didn't win, the chef says that the experience changed the way he felt about food television. After previously turning down a visit by Guy Fieri and his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives film crew, Luck continued to hear friends and customers tell him that he should be on television. Eventually he relented and was accepted by the producers of Chopped; he's also made an appearance on the network's Beat Bobby Flay. (Spoiler alert: Luck fares better here than on Chopped.)

Luck is using the increased exposure as a springboard to bigger and better things: In March he will close the tiny Street Eats and a month later will open IV by Brother Luck in a larger space at 321 North Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs. He says that he and his team have outgrown the street-food theme and that he wants to present his cooking in a way that isn't confusing to his growing number of customers. "We're taking all of the experiences — all of the mistakes and all of the successes — and getting a fresh start," he notes.

The name IV refers to the four generations of Lucks, the four seasons that will shape the restaurant's menu, and the four types of food producers Luck relies on. "The four key people are the farmer, the fisherman, the hunter and the gatherer," Luck explains. "My job is to not fuck it up."

Luck's episode of Chopped also showcased the talents of another Colorado chef, Chris Royster, chef de cuisine of the Flagstaff House, who went on to win the challenge. His winning dishes included chicken-liver rillettes with kale mostarda, pickled kale, and toasted sevkac; and spicy goat ragout with curry cashew-and-butternut-squash purée and yogurt raita. Dessert was ice cream made with roast pork and maple syrup.

This Tuesday, January 24, chef Thach Tran, who is opening Stella's on 16th later this week, will appear on a new episode of Chopped. Tran has also worked at Uncle Joe's Hong Kong Bistro and ChoLon.

Here's a list of other Colorado chefs who have competed on Chopped — just since August 2106:
Tyler Henderson of Plate in Durango ("Fried Chicken Time," August 7)
Shahin Afsharian-Campuzano of  the Ritz-Carlton Denver ("Cheap Eats," November 8)
Kathy Poland of Taste of the Philippines ("Cheap Eats," November 8)
Justin Goerich of Boulder's Zolo Grill ("Wild Times," December 29)
Mark Henry of Brother Luck's Street Eats ("Wild Times," December 29)
Jesse Vega of Central Bistro & Bar ("Taco Time," December 8)
Brian Paul Casey of Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, ("Battle of the Butchers," November 17)
Dasha Perez-Haney of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ("Whiskey and Wings," January 10)
Russell Stippich of the Nickel  ("Whiskey and Wings," January 10)
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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