This is part one of my Chef and Tell interview with Antonio Gorjoux, kitchen manager of the Cherry Cricket. Part two of that interview will run in this space tomorrow.
"Chef is a big word," insists Antonio Gorjoux, "and I am not a chef."
Minutes after saying this, he makes a beeline for the kitchen, pausing to check the schedule, a clipboard of papers jotted with the names of more than three dozen employees -- line cooks, prep guys and dishwashers -- the majority of whom seem to be working this Tuesday, one of the coldest days on record for Colorado. And they all report to Gorjoux, the kitchen manager of the Cherry Cricket, which, as usual, has a packed house, despite the frigid temps.
But inside Gorjoux's kitchen, it's hot with the sizzle of burgers on the grill and frings in the fryer, and Gorjoux seems very much at ease, joking with his crew, poking fun at himself and posing for photos. "One day," he says, "I want to be a chef, and I want to have my own restaurant -- maybe a Cherry Cricket in Cancún -- but this isn't a fancy restaurant, and I'm not a chef, although I am very, very proud of what we do here.