Food News

Seven Denver Chefs You Should Be Following on Instagram

Seven Denver Chefs You Should Be Following on Instagram
Caroline Glover/Instagram
Social media has changed a lot of things about life, and going out to eat is no exception. Restaurants now use platforms like Instagram to entice guests with photos of cheese pulls and the latest seasonal specials. News about wine dinners and new hours fill Facebook feeds. Influencer culture continues to dominate, with diners scouring to find the latest trendy eats by scrolling on their cell phones.

But while you can glean a lot of information on social media by following your favorite restaurants and finding local foodies who post regularly, these platforms also offer a new way to connect with the people behind the food on your plate. Many local chefs are active on Instagram, where they post a variety of content — from snaps that show the research and development process to images from their travels as they find inspiration to flavor their own local menus.

Here are seven Denver chefs you should follow:

Caroline Glover

Since she opened her first restaurant, Annette, at Stanley Marketplace in 2016, Caroline Glover was named one of Food & Wine's best new chefs in 2019 and was a 2020 finalist for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: Mountain award, among other accolades. Throughout the pandemic, she has been vocal on social media about the challenges that restaurant owners have faced, and she continues to highlight the realities of running a restaurant in 2021 while also sharing tasty morsels from her time off the clock, including an enviable crab feast.
Biju Thomas/Instagram
Biju Thomas

Biju Thomas launched Biju's Little Curry Shop in 2014, and it quickly became a go-to for fast-casual, healthy Indian cuisine. But after expanding, then paring down to one location in late 2019, Thomas's business was hit hard by the pandemic, and he closed it for good in May 2020. Now Thomas has made a fresh start as the senior content producer for nutrition and cooking for Outside media, a job that pairs his passions for food and fitness and gives him a national platform for creating food content — which he also shares on Instagram with tips, recipes and more.
Justin Brunson/Instagram
Justin Brunson

For years, this chef was considered the king of meat in Denver, a reputation driven mainly by the success of Old Major, his Highland neighborhood eatery that specialized in whole animal-butchering and an in-house charcuterie program. But in 2020, Justin Brunson closed Old Major in order to concentrate fully on his growing meat production company, River Bear. While Brunson is no longer in a professional kitchen full-time, his posts give a glimpse into River Bear's products and sourcing for the meat that the company produces, which is served in many restaurants around town.
Max MacKissock/Instagram
Max MacKissock

For years, Max MacKissock has been one of Denver's top chefs. Today he's a partner in, and the culinary director for, Culinary Creative, the restaurant group behind Bar Dough, Señor Bear, Mister Oso, Forget Me Not and more, including the upcoming A5, a steakhouse that will open soon in the former home of the Wazee Supper Club and, more recently, Morin. The chef's Instagram feed gives an inside look at menu development and sneak peeks at the process behind opening a new restaurant, as well as a glimpse of the ingredients that inspire him.
Jennifer Jasinski/Instagram
Jennifer Jasinski

In 2013, Jennifer Jasinkski became the first Denver chef to win a James Beard award. Her Crafted Concepts is behind some of Denver's top restaurants, including Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Ultreia and Stoic & Genuine. She's also the consulting chef for the Ponti, the restaurant opening October 24 at the Denver Art Museum. And she just so happens to be married to Max MacKissock, making the two a powerhouse couple on the local dining scene. Follow her for seasonal ingredient inspiration, fresh pasta pics that will have you craving Italian, and shout-outs to the people behind the scenes at her restaurants.
Thach Tran/Instagram
Thach Tran

When Thach Tran took over the kitchen at Uptown's Ace Eat Serve in August 2017, the Asian restaurant outfitted with ping-pong tables really stepped up its food game with such additions as the Peking duck experience, available Sunday and Thursdays. Today Tran is the corporate chef for the Secret Sauce restaurant group, overseeing the culinary programs at both Ace and Steuben's next door. But when he's not working at the restaurants, Tran practices some fun hobbies that he posts about, such as beekeeping, gardening and his latest side project, mushroom growing.
Michael Kurowski/Instagram
Michael Kurowski

Tran's not the only Secret Sauce team member whose Instagram feed is filled with fun food content. Michael Kurowski joined the team as executive pastry chef in 2021; his seasonal creations include such items as the Mango Tango Foxtrot, a coconut cake with sake-infused pineapple, dragon fruit, mango mousse and candied almond. If you have a sweet tooth, be warned: Kurowski's feed will have you craving something sugary in no time.
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin