The Big Easy Creole Kitchen is the lifelong dream of George Gastl. He has assembled a staff of passionate, like-minded food lovers all with extensive restaurant experience. Read on to meet the team!
George Gastl, Owner/Chef — Chef Gastl grew up in Laramie, Wyoming. As a young teen he began working in local restaurants, and after only a short time cooking in these small local kitchens he realized food was his passion. Since graduating from the Arizona Culinary Institute in 1992, he has built on his expertise by working in kitchens around the United States and abroad. He has held chef positions in Denver, Fort Collins, Santa Fe, Oldenburg Germany, and New Orleans. He brings his zeal for cooking and love of fresh local ingredients to you for an evening of great food at the Big Easy Creole Kitchen.
Chris Botts, Chef de Cuisine — Chef Botts was raised in Alaska where he started cooking at the age
of sixteen. After high school he spent the next ten years working around the state in several highly acclaimed restaurants. These included the four diamond awarded Crows Nest Restaurant in the Captain Cook Hotel. Chris also served as Sous Chef for the award winning ORSO Restaurant. It was there that he was invited, along with Executive Chef Patrick Hoogerhyde, to represent Alaska at the seventh annual Great American Seafood Cookoff in New Orleans, where they placed third behind winner Tory McPhail of the Commanders Palace. In late 2009 Chris and his wife Stephanie decided to relocate to Denver. After attending culinary school in Boulder, Chris worked and staged around Denver before joining the team at the Big Easy Creole Kitchen. He provides not only knowledge, talent, and leadership, but also a focus on simplicity, quality, and fresh local ingredients.
Pete Penzenstadler, General Manager — Originally from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Pete moved to Denver in 1984. He discovered Barolo Grill in the early 90′s and learned what fine dining was all about. While there, he met Mel and Jane Master and moved with them to open Mel’s Bar and Grill on Fillmore street in Cherry Creek. Pete was general manager at Mel’s for the first three years and helped establish Mel’s as one of the finest restaurants in the nation. After a stint in San Francisco where he worked for the Zuni Cafe, the Kimpton Group, and also with Francis Ford Coppla at his bistro, he moved back to Denver and later opened his own bar in the Capital Hill area which he sold in 2012. Now Pete lends his extensive managerial experience and passion to the team at the Big Easy Creole Kitchen.