It's been a big year of change for restaurateurs Keith Arnold and Stephanie Bonin, the husband-and-wife-team behind Duo Restaurant and Olivéa. The couple sold Olivéa in January as a means of simplifying before they move to Vermont this summer. Now, there's news that Tyler Skrivanek (pictured, right), long executive chef John Broening's right-hand man at Duo, has been promoted to top toque.
Chef changes happen all the time around town, but not at Duo. Broening has helmed the kitchen since the Highland restaurant opened its doors in October 2005. "Duo is Duo because all of John's work," Bonin says. And that's saying a lot since the restaurant is one of the city's best.
Skrivanek has been cooking under Broening for years: He started on the line (after time at Vesta Dipping Grill) two months after the Duo opened. "John saw Tyler's talent early on," Bonin says. Broening quickly promoted Skrivanek to sous chef and mentored him through the years. (Back in 2008, Broening even took the time to inform me of his sous chef's incredible skill, which ultimately nabbed Skrivanek a Rising Chef nod).
So what does this all mean for Duo? Given Broening's influence on Skrivanek, Bonin expects the transition to be a smooth one. In fact, Skrivanek launched his first menu two weeks ago and diners are loving it. As for Broening, his focus has turned to Spuntino, the Italian-inspired restaurant that he and his wife (Duo's award-winning pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom) acquired in March.
Inside info: When Bonin and Arnold move to Brattleboro, Vermont, they plan to open a second Duo. In fact, they've already secured the location: a corner space in a historic building not unlike the Weir building that houses the Denver eatery. Ironically, the future restaurant sits a few doors down from the bookstore Bonin’s family owned for decades. The opening is penned for Fall 2014 and Bonin expects that both Skrivanek and pastry chef Lozada-Hissom will spend time in the Vermont kitchen.
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