After nearly ten years behind the line at Table 6, executive chef Scott Parker is leaving to open a yet-to-be-named restaurant in Platt Park from the crew behind Breckenridge-Wynkoop, who took over the former Izakaya Den space, which recently relocated across the street. Parker, whose last day at Table 6 is August 4, will be the executive chef of that concept, while his longtime sous, Carrie Shores, will command the Table 6 kitchen.
Parker, who started at Table 6 in 2004 as the sous, took on the exec chef role two years later, and during his tenure there, elevated the artsy neighborhood restaurant to one of Denver's most impressive culinary turfs, transforming it into a genuine nose-to-tail shrine that's nothing short of pure pleasure.
But ten years is a lifetime in the restaurant world, and while Parker admits that he's leaving behind a "family who's supported me every step of the way," the opportunity to spearhead a restaurant from the ground up was just too good to ignore. "I'm really going to miss everyone at Table 6 -- they're family and I love walking in there every day -- but I have to go where there are more opportunities and money, and I'm looking forward to doing something that's a little bit different and all shiny and new," says Parker.
His departure is refreshingly free of drama. "I love Scott -- he's like a brother to me," says general manager and sommelier Aaron Forman. "The change is a positive thing, certainly for Scott, and for Carrie, too, who's been with us for six years. They're both going to rock it," he predicts.
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Shores, who spent several years cooking in San Francisco, including a stint at A16 -- one of that city's top restaurants -- before landing at Table 6, admits that she's a bit apprehensive about the change, but, like Parker, is looking at the opportunity as a challenge that she's eager to embrace. "I'm nervous, but it's the kind of nervousness that makes me want to try harder," she says. "I remember staging for Scott and cutting off the top of my finger, but at the end of the night when we were talking, I saw this light in his face -- a chef that was so happy and positive -- and I knew that I wanted to work here," she adds, pointing out that what she'll miss most about Parker's absence is what she calls the "yin-yang" factor. "He just has this great energy about him, and we've always balanced each other really well," she notes.
She stresses, too, that not much will change once Parker leaves. "I envision things staying pretty much the same," she tells me. "I think my take on cooking might be a little more feminine than Scott's, and I imagine it'll naturally progress after the transition, but Scott and I have worked so closely together for the last six years that we have similar styles and goals, and I'm really fired up and excited."
And Parker is more than happy to leave the kitchen in the hands of a confident female -- and, in fact, prefers it that way. "I love that she's a mom -- a parent -- she doesn't whine; she just gets shit done, and there's an underlying work ethic there that really comes through. She's awesome and I want her to blossom and grow," emphasizes Parker.
"We're all so fortunate that we can have this kind of seamless transition," echoes Forman. "They both have amazing opportunities, and I'm really happy for both of them."