Edible San Juan Mountains: Since our last issue, you have been on the infamous Bravo show, Top Chef. How did that come about? Were you, in a sense, discovered?
Eliza Gavin: I can’t really talk much about the interview process, but I can tell you that I was made aware that they were doing auditions in Denver, so I flew up their on a lark. It seemed like something fun to do. And from there it took on a life of its own, if you will.
Did you have any reluctance in doing the show?
I can’t say I had any reluctance in doing the show because I did it. I was not happy to be leaving my family and my business but it was an honor to be chosen for the show. But the word reluctant doesn’t really come to mind. When I got on the plane to go to Seattle, I was very nervous.
How did you do?
I didn’t do all that well on the show, for sure. It was difficult for me to be taken out of my element here at the restaurant where I have the whole place to myself. That part was difficult … to share.
Do you have any designs to further pursue your budding television career? Say, the next Julia?
Living here in Telluride, a television career is not all that easy of a thing to do. Telluride doesn’t lend itself well to producers. I would have to go to a larger town. I am just happy doing what I am doing here.
You went to the CIA. Then you went to France to Le Cordon Bleu. How did that come about? Was it planned all along or a welcomed detour? How long were you there?
The CIA in Napa Valley is one for continuing education for professionals. I could take one-week courses, which was good. But I always knew that I wanted to go to Le Cordon Bleu. It seemed like such a dream to go to France and learn how to cook. So I went to CIA just to figure out if I did like school and was going to be okay going back. Le Cordon Bleu was just wonderful. I was in France for a year.
Did the chefs yell at you at Le Cordon Bleu? Briefly describe the scene there. I picture old chefs with big mustaches that are perpetually upset.
No, not really. They are kind of sweethearts. Some were nicer than others. Some absolutely refused to speak English which I thought was pretty cool. But overall they were pretty helpful. It was a great place to learn the classic French technique.
If you weren’t a chef, what would be your second choice?
I think I would like to be an accountant. I just love working with numbers. They are fun for me. Either that, or a professional skydiver.
Do you cook at home?
I don’t really have much time to cook at home because I’m here at the restaurant a lot. A lot of my cooking at home involves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my son at school. When it’s just me and my family, they are just happy to have me around, so we will sit around and order in Siam, or Gavin, my husband, will cook us turkey tacos.
What is the most common food item you have in your cupboard? And I don’t mean salt.
What is your family’s favorite meal?