Cooking started at a young age out of necessity for chef Jennifer Jasinski. Growing up in a single-parent household with two siblings who all took turns cooking, she developed a knack for following recipes and creating her own, until eventually it was always her turn to cook. As her culinary career unfolded, she travelled around the USA for Wolfgang Puck for 10 years, helping to develop and open restaurants, create menus and train staff. Eventually, Jasinski settled in Denver, Colorado, opening Rioja (Mediterranean), followed by Bistro Vendôme (a classic French bistro), Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen (an American tavern) and Stoic & Genuine (a fish house, opening in July 2014).
Q&A Jennifer Jasinski
Describe the West: Mountains and fun.
What is your favourite ingredient to cook with? I don’t really have a favourite ingredient. It’s whatever is perfect and in season, so now perhaps English peas and morels.
What is your favourite regional dish? I don't think I have a favourite regional dish.
What tasty bite should travellers to the West not miss? I might say all our craft-made beer – it’s unique and diverse. We now have over 200 breweries in Colorado. Next, I may say the lamb or the cheese dairies in Colorado.
What inspires you about your work? I am inspired by the people – the guests who come in to my restaurants and enjoy what we create every day and how happy we can make them if everything goes right. I am also inspired by the people here who grow the vegetables, brew the beer, work the farms and raise the lambs. They are very real and dedicated to delicious products.
What’s your favourite place to visit in the US? I like to go home to Santa Barbara, California. I miss the beaches and love the wine, seafood and beach community where I grew up – and my mom is there!
Where is your favourite city to eat in the US? I have so many favourites, but I went to Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time last year. I had a great experience and really loved our meal at the Catbird Seat.
Who/What inspired you to become a chef? The love of food and watching it grow in Santa Barbara, California, where I grew up.
How are you inspired by your environment and the seasonal foods in the US? As I stated before, this is what really drives me and my passion to create – to see what is being grown and play with it.
How has American culture shaped the way you cook? American culture is a melting pot, and that is true to how I cook. I use techniques and ingredients from many types of cuisines.
What international influences have inspired your cooking? Many. Japanese is one – their precision and ingredients are vast, and I love learning their techniques.