Something From Nothing: Chef Robert

Photo Courtesy of Denver Rescue Mission

Photo Courtesy of Denver Rescue Mission

The fact that I have the ability to create something from nothing with my words will never cease to amaze me. One of my writing goals for 2013 is to land at least one interview per month with a person (or people) whose creative work I enjoy or appreciate or am otherwise inspired by. October's interview is with Chef Robert from Denver Rescue MIssion. I met him a couple of months ago when we went in to serve dinner, and I was amazed at how well he did what he did there. I had the pleasure of being in charge of scooping Chef Robert's from-scratch guacamole, and I kind of just wanted to stick my whole face in it, it looked so good. As you can imagine, the chefs at Denver Rescue Mission work with mostly donated food and never really know how many people they're going to be feeding at a given meal. They serve three meals a day, 365 days a year, to anyone who walks through the door. Seeing the pride Chef Robert took in leading the folks who made the whole thing happen that night certainly inspired me. I hope you'll be inspired, too. 

Q: When did you first become interested in cooking? 

A: 1976 at the age of 14 years old. 

Q: I think of cooking as a highly creative endeavor. Do you? If so, how would you describe your creative process when it comes to preparing and serving meals at Denver Rescue Mission? 

A: Yes I do. I never know what to expect when I arrive at the Denver Rescue Mission so I pretty much create meals from the donations that have arrived that day or within a few days prior. 

Q: I was really impressed when I came in to help serve dinner. You all seem to have a very efficient process in place for feeding so many people. What are some of the challenges you face as a chef at Denver Rescue Mission? 

A: We never know what types of foods we are going to be have donated or how many participants are at the Denver Rescue Mission.

Q: What are some of the unique rewards of cooking for the folks that come through for a meal? 

A: Getting to see the faces of the many people that come through here in need of a meal, especially the children, knowing that whoever eats here will be getting a nutritious, well balanced meal. 

Q: What keeps you coming back to prepare meals at Denver Rescue Mission? 

A: This is where the Lord has guided my life towards, the helping of the less fortunate. 

Q: Tell me about one of your best cooking experiences. 

A: My best experience is on Tuesdays when two of our volunteers Joann and Susan come in because they both love cooking and are always asking me to show them some new ideas so they can take back to the schools and home to their families.  To see the way they light up when they have learned something new is amazing!!

Q: What is your favorite thing to cook? 

A: Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn bread, collard greens

Q: Do you do a lot of cooking at home or do you tend to eat out more when you're not working?

A: I go out to eat because I do so much cooking during the week, I want to be waited on.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Denver? 

A: 100% de Agave