Panzano Names New Executive Chef

Award-winning Bay Area chef to helm award-winning Denver restaurant.

panzano-logoWhen chef Jennifer Jasinski left Panzano in Denver’s Hotel Monaco to open Rioja, hers was a tough culinary act to follow. Elise Wiggins managed brilliantly, and now, she left earlier this year to establish her own restaurant, Cattivella in Stapleton, opening at some unannounced date but presumably soon.

Patrick Kelly
Patrick Kelly

Taking her place at Panzano is Patrick Kelly, who was at La Folie in San Francisco. In addition to this Michelin one-starred and San Francisco Chronicle 4-starred restaurant, he served as executive chef at Angèle before moving on to executive chef of culinary operations for the Au Bon Repas group that included Gitane, Claudine, Café Claude, Gaspar Brasserie and Café Claude II, as well as opening executive chef of Lure + Till in Palo Alto. I know that I just dropped a bunch of names that are familiar to Bay Area foodies but not to most of us in Colorado.

Kelly’s early years were not spent in places that foretell a sterling culinary career.  Born in Fremont Nebraska, Kelly and his family moved to Cheyenne when he was 12 years old, so in a broad sense, coming to Denver is a therefore bit of homecoming for Kelly. Between then and the Bay Area, he attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and worked at James Beard Award-wining Spiaggia. Moving West,  he was garde manger at Yountville’s Redd Restaurant), sous-chef  at Napa’s Angele Restaurant,  chef de cuisine at San Francisco’s La Folie (see above) and back at at Angele as executive chef (again at Angele). His wife Bridget is also an accomplished chef, but as far as I can tell, she’s not cooking professionally in Colorado.