Many of us know Kelly Liken from season 7 of Top Chef. Making it to the final four, Liken was known as a competitor to be reckoned with, racking up a large number of victories and consistently cooking things that made audiences say, “What’s the recipe for that?!” Chef Liken’s reputation extends much further than Top Chef. Known as one of the country’s most promising female chefs, Liken has never sacrificed her own plans to work under someone else. After being offered careers from icons like Daniel Boulud and Charlie Trotter, Liken chose to stay in Colorado, where she serves locally sourced American cuisine at Restaurant Kelly Liken – a regional favorite. Liken is dedicated to letting great ingredients speak for themselves. The simplistic yet sophisticated menu at her restaurant was something we were drawn to – that and the fact that her go to recipe includes new potatoes…
What’s different about your food?
My food is very vegetable centric. Not vegetarian by any means, but I am passionate about growing at high altitude and therefore tend to design a dish around showcasing the veggies rather than the protein. I think this makes my food creative in a special and authentic way.
Are you constantly making changes? How so?
Constantly. When you are dependant and reliant on local high altitude farmers you have to be willing to change a menu item at a moment’s notice. This keeps me on my toes and makes my job fun!
What’s special about your seasonal American cuisine?
I would say the authenticity that I spoke to before. Being able to create a conversation with foodies from all over the world about a region that might just surprise them.
How do your travels and experiences play into your restaurant?
Travel is so important for research. When I have the opportunity to travel, it always sparks a new burst of creativity. Seeing different ways of doing things is always a great education.
Your go-to recipe when cooking outside the restaurant for family and friends…
Pot Roasted Chicken with Wild Mushrooms, Roasted Shallots and new potatoes
Can you share some menu favorites from Restaurant Kelly Liken?
My signature dish is Potato Crusted Trout Filets with Carmelized Brussels Sprout Leaves, Toasted Pecans and Plump Golden Raisins.
People love the Elk Carpaccio with Bulgur Tabbouleh Salad and Mustard Cream.
What are your favorite cities to travel for food?
Denver – the scene is exploding! It’s so exciting to watch and always a pleasure to explore it’s deliciousness.
What spots do you go to in each?
Where do you go for inspiration?