DENVER, Colo.– The Nickel, which continues to attract culinary talent to Denver from across the country, announces the addition of two new members to its growing team. David Cruz has been appointed director of food & beverage and Alexander Jun has been named executive sous chef. Both culinary veterans, Cruz and Jun join The Nickel’s chef-led team from such notable restaurants as Simon Mansion and Michael Mina’s RN 74, respectively. Located in Hotel Teatro’s newly renovated ground floor, The Nickel’s grand opening party will take place on August 7, 2014.
In addition to executing the new restaurant’s innovative concept, the food & beverage team will also lead the creation of an evolving program that will translate throughout Teatro’s offerings, from in-room dining and customized culinary welcome amenities to hands-on food & beverage experiences for guests.
“I’m thrilled about the team we have on board for The Nickel,” explained Executive Chef, Chris Thompson. “We’ve brought together the most creative and skillful talents from some of the country’s best restaurants,” he continued. “The team is excited to be here and to be a part of Denver’s burgeoning culinary scene.”
Executive Sous Chef, Alexander Jun, joins the team as Chef Thompson’s right-hand in leading The Nickel’s new Colorado-inspired menu concept set to debut later this month. In collaboration with Thompson, Jun looks forward to bringing his talents and creativity to Denver’s newest kitchen and introducing a series of evolving dishes that showcase an inventive take on Rocky Mountain cuisine. With a background in hospitality and fine dining, Chef Jun has spent time at renowned restaurants, including David Meyer’s Comme Ça at the Cosmopolitan and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon at the Venetian where he honed his skills as chef de partie and sous chef. Most recently, Jun served as chef tournant at Michael Mina’s French-inspired RN 74 in San Francisco.
As the new Food & Beverage Director, David Cruz brings to the table more than 20 years of experience in culinary arts and is recognized with awards for his work in culinary design and hospitality leadership. Cruz will oversee all food & beverage aspects on property – which includes working with Executive Chef, Chris Thompson, to bring The Nickel’s locally-sourced, seasonal menus and progressive dining experiences to life as well as executing a local coffee roasting operation and a curated barrel-aged spirits program at the restaurant’s new Barrel Bar.
Cruz mastered his diverse culinary skill set through years of experience at several top establishments across North America. Most recently, Cruz served as corporate executive director of food and beverage for a collection of Hard Rock Hotels and was also executive chef at Simon Mansion. Prior to that, he was the executive chef of Viceroy Snowmass’ Eight K and also served as food & beverage developer and executive chef at Sage Restaurant and Tap 25 in Canada. With roots in Aspen, where he began his career studying Organic Agriculture, Cruz has since received multiple accolades for his culinary work, including “Best New Restaurant & Chef” from Esquire Magazine.
“Hotel Teatro is an iconic part of Denver and it’s a really exciting time for the property,” explained Cruz. “With a fresh, new culinary concept and complete redesign of the ground floor, including the debut of The Study, it will transform the landmark destination into what is sure to be a hub for meeting, greeting & socializing for locals and visitors alike,” he continued.