Which presents a greater challenge: feeding 2,000 people every week for 20 years as the executive chef of Glenmoor Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, or opening and operating a food truck in Denver? Mile High City native Penelope Wong, the chef-owner of weeks-old Asian dumpling truck Yuan Wonton, considers the latter her greatest career accomplishment, despite the fact that she was the club’s youngest—and first female—executive chef. “Opening Yuan Wonton has been far more difficult, 100 percent,” Wong says. After a drawn-out renovation process and thousands of dumplings’ worth of research and development, Wong and her husband, Robert Jenks, are finally cruising through metro-area streets in their colorful truck. At breweries and events, the duo tempts Denverites with specialties such as silky pork and shrimp wontons in chile oil and crispy-chewy pot stickers with fillings like pork and chives, ginger chicken, and Szechuan eggplant. Wong makes each item by hand, using techniques she learned as a child from her Chinese grandmother. Her latest test? Keeping Yuan Wonton’s operating schedule (follow @yuanwonton on Instagram) to just four days per week—her customers are already hungry for more.

This article was originally published in 5280 September 2019.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen

Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.