ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Caroline Glover is proud to represent the host state of the 2019 Food & Wine Classic as one of the magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs and bring more recognition to the City of Aurora where her restaurant is located.
“It’s been nerve wracking,” Glover said. “It’s been super exciting.”
The new class of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs each got the chance to serve their own food at the Grand Tasting tents inside Wagner Park. It was her first experience as a chef presenting at the food festival.
“Being from Colorado and representing the state in Aspen at this really big festival,” she said, “It’s been way cooler than I thought it would be.”
Her restaurant Annette inside the Stanley Marketplace has already received national recognition, including making the semi-finalist list for the James Beard Awards. The 2019 class of Best New Chefs were announced in April but the group only saw the cover this weekend in Aspen.
“It just doesn’t feel real,” she said. “The class is incredible. It’s super diverse.”
She said the class is special because it is a lot of people who only own one restaurant like her. One of the appeals of the Stanley Marketplace for Glover, joining a group of first-time business owners when she opened Annette in Aurora in February of 2016.
Glover is the only chef from Colorado in the current class and she is the closest geographically to Aspen, but it can feel like her city and state can seem much farther away than other chefs from both coasts.
“I think having it in our home state, it makes it even better,” she said. “Our state is so beautiful. This is the most beautiful time of the year. There’s a lot of pride.”
She is enjoying the attention that all of Colorado and its culinary scene have experienced over the past several years. It even has impacted what is happening locally, requiring her to explain where she is located less often.
“I used to say we’re East Denver, we’re on the border of Stapleton and Denver. Now I can say Aurora.”
She wanted a small restaurant in a quiet neighborhood and did not find what she wanted in Denver. Even though she represents the metro area and entire state as a chef, she still makes sure to clarify and even correct anyone so they know Annette is in Aurora.
“It’s been so meaningful,” she said. “I do have to make a point.”
Her experience in the industry has taken her from New York City to Vermont and Pennsylvania. She also lived in Texas and Carbondale before settling in the Front Range.
“I love the people, I love the outdoor lifestyle,” she said of Colorado. “When you work in kitchens, it’s hard, it’s grueling, and you don’t get out that often.”
Colorado has given her the work-life balance she has always believed in for this industry. She enjoys the proximity to the mountains and exploring the outdoors, along with the resources nearby farms give her as a chef.
“There’s a laid-backness to it but it’s also an up-incoming place right now and there’s competition,” Glover said.
While the restaurant scene in Denver has kept many diners in certain neighborhoods, she encourages food lovers to take the 15 to 20 minute drive beyond that city and visit her in Aurora.
“My idea was always to have a tiny spot that people thought they were eating in my house,” Glover said. “In my living room.”
It is a small crew that runs the restaurant and many have been with her since she started three years ago. She has an open kitchen concept.
“You kind of get to get out, you get a new experience,” she said. “It’s a really homey vibe.”
The food at Annette is driven by seasonal produce and some of her inspiration comes from her time working under April Bloomfield, a chef with an Italian and British mix of cuisine. She says there are even elements of Mediterranean food in her training.
Before she opened the restaurant, she was working at Acorn in Denver. The time she spent around a wood fire has also influenced her food at Annette. For now, she is focused on keeping up the experience she has there and does not plan to open any other restaurants anytime soon.
“This is my baby and I don’t know how it would run if I opened multiple restaurants,” Glover said. “I don’t know how it would run if I opened multiple restaurants, so for right now, staying focused and making sure quality is good is really important.”