Kitchen Cred Troy Guard, owner and chef of Larimer Square’s new TAG restaurant, spent his childhood in Hawaii, Seattle, and San Diego, where he went to school at Palomar College. But after discovering cooking, Guard moved back to Hawaii to work with famed fusion chef Roy Yamaguchi at Roy’s Kahana Bar and Grill in Lahaina.

Then, seven years ago, Guard moved to Denver (and out from under his mentor’s wing) to help craft Zengo—Denver’s first Latin-Asian fusion restaurant. He later opened Nine75, Ocean, and, most recently, TAG, which serves globally inspired cuisine.

Source of Inspiration Guard’s collection of cookbooks—more than 200—is housed in the “Think Tank,” a bright-green room in the basement. Guard’s favorites include Roy Yamaguchi’s Feasts from Hawaii and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef.

A Dash of This One of Guard’s favorite fresh herbs is cilantro. “I love the sharp, tangy flavor, and it goes well with the dishes I like to cook.”

Quick Tip When stir-frying vegetables, blanch them in boiling, salted water for 30 seconds. The shock of water causes the veggies to expand so they keep their shape and won’t shrivel when frying.

Fine Wine Guard cherishes this collector-worthy bottle of 1986 Chateau Lynch-Bages, which was given to him by a friend.

Sweet Buster Guard’s wife, Leigh, has a pink cookie jar of a plump woman chowing down on cookies. She says it keeps her from eating too many treats.

Fruitful Zest Yuzu is a Japanese fruit that has become a favorite of Guard’s. “It adds a fresh citrus taste to any dish—I mostly like it with fish, for grilling, or in a dressing.”

Jalapeño Kumquat Mojito

  • 4 kumquats, halved
  • 2 slices jalapeño
  • 1.5 ounces lime base (lime and sugar mixed together)
  • 7 mint leaves
  • 2 ounces soda water, plus additional
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces Ocean vodka

In a mixing glass add kumquats, jalapeño, and lime base, and lightly muddle for five seconds. Add mint, soda water, ice, and vodka, and shake for 10 seconds in a Boston shaker. Empty contents into a Collins glass and top with soda water to fill glass. Garnish with mint sprig and a straw.