Dynamic Duos

Nine pairs of people who, through their unique partnerships—some romantic, some not—make Denver a more interesting, entertaining and welcoming place to live.

February 2014

Two Cooks In The Kitchen
Yasmin Lozada-Hissom and John Broening, two of Denver’s most respected chefs, met at an interview at Udi’s, cooked side by side at Duo, got married, and ultimately reinvented Spuntino together.

5280: Did you cook on your first date?

John: On our first date we went to Boulder, and I locked my keys in the car. Yasmin opened the door with a hanger. I’m not a Mr. Fix It. 

Yasmin: The first time I cooked at John’s house, I was really surprised by
his kitchen.

John: Yasmin came to my place expecting I would have the tools of a chef. At that point, I never cooked at home. She had to improvise: She fashioned a cheese grater out of a tin can; she used a wine key to chop garlic; and she used my spare change basket as a strainer. 

Yasmin: My MacGyver skills resulted in a pretty nice orecchiette with
broccoli rabe, anchovies, and capers.

5280: Today, you co-own Spuntino, even as John is the executive chef at Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar. How do you juggle it all?

John: Yasmin mostly runs Spuntino. I give my guidance and opinions. 

Yasmin: We divide and conquer. It’s impossible for us both to lead. We each relinquish a bit of control, but I feel John’s presence here at Spuntino every day.

John: Yasmin is a perfectionist. When it’s not perfect, she suffers. I have high standards, but I can move on. It’s like the quote: “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

5280: How do you support each other in the high-pressure environment of restaurants?

John: As a chef, you need one person who is your taster. Yasmin could have been a nationally known savory chef. She has the knowledge, the palate, the understanding. She’s changed my style of cooking from French to Mediterranean with a dash of Peruvian.

Yasmin: We trust each other. When we give feedback, it’s brutally honest. But there’s no judgment.