Cafe Society

Chef and Tell, part two: Rachel Kesley on umeboshi vinegar, the traveling food cart and eating a buzz button

Rachel Kesley WaterCourse Foods 837 East 17th Avenue 303-832-7313 www.watercoursefoods.com

This is part two of Lori Midson's interview with Rachel Kesley, executive chef of WaterCourse Foods. In part one of that interview, which ran in this space yesterday, Kesley dishes on produce-driven menus, vegetarianism and her fascination with figs.

Rules of conduct in your kitchen: Respect is number one. Respect your team, respect your food and respect yourself. Cleanliness is also key. I have thirty staff members in the kitchen alone, and at any given time there are ten of us in there, cooking away. That's a lot of hands making a lot of food, and it can get messy. You must have a willingness to learn and be pushed. For a lot of the people coming into the kitchen, this may be their first time dealing with a vegetarian -- even vegan -- menu, as well as all the different ingredients that we use on a more regular basis than most restaurants. And last, but certainly not least, you have to be able to work hard but at the same time keep it lighthearted. We have a demanding job, but we want to have fun without compromising the integrity of the food. If you don't enjoy what you do, the job becomes even harder. Through my experience, I've realized that in order to make great food, everyone needs a good laugh.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson