Chef News

Part two: Chef and Tell with Kelly Liken of Restaurant Kelly Liken

Page 2 of 3

What is your favorite ingredient? Probably an artichoke. That's my favorite to eat. My favorite in terms of cooking: shallots. I put them in almost everything.

What do you think is the most undervalued ingredient? Vegetables in general. I'm crazy passionate about vegetables. Customers always tend to order dishes around a protein. And chefs, too: I'm gonna make a filet mignon and I'll figure out something to go with it. I think everything else on the plate besides the protein is where the skill and nuance comes in.

Is there a food you hate? I don't like meatloaf. Not even my mom's.

A food you can't live without? Heinz ketchup. Because without it you could never eat a hamburger. You could never have French fries, either.

What's never in your kitchen? Tomatillos. I'm allergic to them.

What is the weirdest customer request you've ever had? I had a customer once ask if I could make him shrimp scampi and pasta, and I didn't have shrimp on the menu. I wanted to ask why he was eating here, because there's a lovely Italian restaurant across the street. Turns out his wife is a foodie and wanted local and organic. So I ran across the street and got him some shrimp scampi.

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.
Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman