chef de cuisine
David Lillich (left) joined the Grand Hyatt Denver culinary team in 2019 and was quickly promoted to Junior Sous Chef of the hotel’s restaurant, before becoming the Garde Manger Sous Chef for the 4-Diamond Grand Hyatt Denver. In March, 2018, he was appointed Chef de Cuisine of the innovative courier. market | bar | kitchen.
What about your background most prepared you for this job?
Before my path lead me to cooking, I spent around 10 years as a project manager for a commercial construction company. I have found that experience to have prepared me well for managing kitchens. There are a lot of similarities between construction projects and kitchens in regard to time management, different teams working together, creativity, and coordination.
What does “hospitality” mean to you?
Hospitality means to delight someone traveling away from the comfort of their home in a satisfying and energizing way so that they can have just as good of a day as if they had woken up in their own bed.
What is the secret of a good pairing of food and beverage?
The secret to a good food pairing is to focus on one of subtle flavor nuances and try and bring it out. This is one of the reasons that IPAs are my favorite beers for food pairings; there is such a wide spectrum of flavors and layers that it is a lot of fun to make selections and create something delicious to highlight that one particular note.
Talented pastry chef Sandra Adams (center) brings her affinity for sweets and art to Courier. She has been with Grand Hyatt Denver for 21 years, creating custom designs for one-of-a-kind cakes and desserts for weddings, galas and events. Chef Adams trained that the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco drawing inspiration for chefs such as Julia Child, who numbers among her favorites.
What do you find most gratifying about your position?
I get to (and have to) use both the rational and the creative parts of my brain every single day and I never run out of opportunities to learn.
How do you choose the local purveyors you work with?
We are all always looking for inspiration and we have to balance enthusiasm for products and ingredients with practicality. We may love something but if we can’t get our hands on it predictably or if the quality cannot be maintained, that spark dims. Occasionally we get lucky and something we discover, and invest in, gives a business the ability to grow.
What do you do when you’re not working?
My husband and I are attempting to raise two reasonable human beings. Our kids are amazing teachers and we hope that they are learning at every opportunity — and that translates into being able to live the lives they are most rewarded by, and hopefully become genuinely good people. I also live to take photos of squirrels. (Really.)
Executive Chef John Treusein (right) moved to the Mile High City in 1996. Prior to becoming Executive Chef of the Grand Hyatt Denver, he was the Executive Chef of Hyatt Regency Bethesda, in a progressive career that brought him five moves in five years. He has serviced some of Hyatt’s most high profile events to include PGA Golf Tournament and Super Bowl.
What in your upbringing most prepared you for the challenges of your position?
I learned early on that adaptability was more important than other things in this profession, and in life in general. It’s hard to say who’s the best cook or the best manager, but if you look at those that can handle change in stride and adapt to new conditions, you will see how it helps them succeed
over the long term.
What motivated you to work in the restaurant industry?
It was not so much motivation as it was the surroundings I grew up in. When my father managed a country club in my younger years, he would take me with him on the weekends when he was catching up on office work. I would hang out in the kitchen and watch the cooks and servers and help any way that I could. It all just came totally natural to me and was instantly gratifying.
Why is “hospitality” so important?
To me, hospitality is taking care of people. When we take care of our customers, they are happy and can be their best in what they need to do. When we take care of our colleagues, they are happy and are better able to take care of our customers. Another big part of hospitality, in my mind, is creating memorable experiences. Sometimes big things, but mostly small, personal touches, simply make people feel good.