French-born and trained, New York-seasoned Pascal Coudouy buys Edwards microbrewery
Pascal Coudouy, executive chef of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s award-winning 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill, is shifting gears from fine dining to brew-pub fare. He had been with the Hyatt since 2000 and in 2008 was instrumental in the restaurant that is named after the resort’s elevation, but he has purchased the Gore Range Brewery in Edwards. Scott Mason, the Park Hyatt’s general manager, who oversaw the makeover of 8100 left the hotel late last year to Scott Mason, to become general manager at Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, which may or may not have had anything to do with Coudouy’s departure. Maybe it was just time for him to meet a different challenge.
And the microbrewery — any microbrewery, in fact — certainly is different. Coudouy is now the owner and operator of his own casual place, rather than being an highly placed employee of an upscale restaurant in a brand-name hotel. While the Hyatt’s clientele is visitors and meeting attendees, the Gore Range Brewery caters primarily to locals on the western end of the Vail Valley. Coudouy was quaoted as saying that “it is too soon to tell what changes are in store or whether the Brewery will see a face-lift or name change in the immediate future. Our first priority is to get the deck ready for summer, plant our herb garden and remain true to what patrons love: fresh, local, organic whenever possible, great ingredients. Time will let us discern the changes in the months to come.”
Coudouy grew up in a ski resort in the French Pyrenees, so the Vail Valley with its surrounding mountains has a familiar ambiance. His career began in 1976, first as a butcher in his family’s butcher shop, Boucheire Coudouy, in Laruns. Culinary school followed, and then at a succession of top French restaurants on both sides of the Atlantic, starting with a stint as comis tournant manning various stations as needed at Chez Pierre in Paris and executive sous-chef at La Belle Epoque in Nice. He was the youngest chef to work under noted chef André Daguin at his Michelin two-star restaurant at the Hôtel du France in Auch in the region Gascony, from 1984 too 1987. Coudouy crossed the Alantic to join New York’s renowned Le Perigord Restaurant. His resume also includes Chez Pauline in Paris, known for Parisian bourgeois cooking, back to New York from 1987 to 1994 at United Nations Plaza Hotel and then executive chef/owner of the Gascogne Restaurant, also in New York.
Eventually, the mountains called, and Coudouy came to Colorado. In addition to captaining the kitchen at 8100, Coudouy was a popular cooking instructor, demonstrating culinary skills to resort guests. He and chef Reese Hay also cooked at New York’s James Beard House in March 2010. Now, after more than a decade at Hyatt, he’s moved to the Gore Range Brewery whose menu tends to giant pretzels, onion rings and chips as starters, followed by salads, burgers, sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas and some entrees. There’s a decent kids’ menu too — and of course, beer, beer and more beer. Who knows what Coudouy will do with it: maybe upscale pub food, maybe a continuation of long-time favorite dishes, maybe bistro fare. Or maybe not much at all — though somehow, given the weight of French culinary tradition that he surely carries with him, I doubt that. in fact, I kind of hope he’ll return to his roots by adding the likes of moules frites, true French onion soup or a hearty authentic boeuf Bourguignonne or salade Noicoise in summer. Casual enough for a brew pub but classics that are fine enough for foodies.