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Taste of the Broncos Q&A with chefs Troy Guard and Lon Symensma


For more information on the event on Sept. 10, please visit the _Taste of the Broncos event page_. _Tickets are available for purchase through Ticketmaster_.

Ben Swanson: What is it you really enjoy about being part of Taste of the Broncos presented by King Soopers?

Troy Guard: "First of all, it's for a great cause — Food Bank of the Rockies. And taking care of people is my number-one thing. That's why I'm a chef. I love to cook for people. And with people not being able to have a great meal or even a meal, it means a lot to me because I'm in the food business. So, first of all, the charity means a lot. Second of all, getting all our community together — all the chefs. We have 30-plus restaurants coming, some of the best. And then partnering with the Broncos — everybody loves football — and to me, it brings everything together. The Broncos are a team, Food Bank of the Rockies are a team doing good things, our restaurants are all teams. So it's a team community outreach to help people, and it's just a fun gathering to raise money. I love football, too, I love eating and I love helping people — so those three things combined make Taste of the Broncos exciting for me."

Lon Symensma: "Other than cooking, my favorite thing in the world is football. And any time I have the opportunity to mix football and food together, that's like my best-case scenario. Taste of the Broncos is an amazing event. You get to meet a lot of the players. It's probably one of the best lineups of chefs that we do in Colorado. So just the camaraderie-ship of seeing a lot of your friends, being a part of what's going on with the Broncos and then just celebrating football by serving great food."

BS: Among the chefs, is there a fun, competitive spirit at the event?

TG: "Yeah, there always is. These guys are great chefs, and there's a lot of amazing chefs in Denver. Always, we want to have people talk about our restaurants or ourselves the most, but at the end of the day, we want to do it together. And as much as competitiveness there is in us, just like in football teams and businesses and restaurants, at the end of the day we all want to make each other better and bring out the best in each other."

LS: "Yeah, absolutely. We always want to show up and have a great dish, something that we're super proud of. I know as chefs, we want to bring our best every time, and it's fun to go around and taste everybody else's dishes. Everybody has different palettes and different strengths that they cook toward, and it's really fun to see what everybody comes up with for these kinds of events."

BS: For the uninitiated, do you develop recipes specifically and separately for Taste of the Broncos?

TG: "Usually I make it different, but for this one, I just opened my brand-new restaurant, FNG, and it's kind of rock 'n' roll American. I invited the Broncos team up to have a meeting, and we had these sliders, and they were like, 'We've got to get these on the menu.' They really, really enjoyed them. Normally, I'd do something different, but it was nice to take something from our restaurant and really dial it in. Not only that, but I'm going to have staff and cooks from my restaurant here, every football game, making sure that the consistency is up to the Troy Guard brand."

LS: "My rule of thumb for whenever I do events is to do things that aren't on my menu at my restaurants. So when I go and do an event, I want to do something special and unique and different. I'll bring something that's completely different from what we serve at our restaurants."

BS: If you could make one dish for Von Miller or John Elway or whoever your favorite Bronco is, what would that be?

TG: "Good question. First, I'd have to ask what they like. They might not like a certain thing. But if they wanted to do something — I've actually had John Elway into our restaurants before, Von's been in to our restaurants. I would love to cook whatever they want. If they like fish, chicken, steak, I would make it awesome and they'd be blown away."

LS: "It's funny, I've become pretty friendly with Brandon McManus over the last couple years. He's super into food. He writes about us on his blog sometimes. Really into food. So he comes into ChoLon a lot, and he's pretty adventurous. So it's fun to cook off the cusp and make exciting things. Like, one dish in particular, people that play football and travel around a lot, they're seeing the best of restaurants from all over the country, I'm sure, as they're in different cities playing different teams. So just to be able to have the Denver dining scene be elevated now and being excited about what's going on in our food and our restaurants, as well as the food being offered at the stadium, it's starting to rival some of the best in the country, which is exciting for Denver and for all of us, too."

BS: If you can pair a player with your stand at Taste of the Broncos, who would it be?

TG: "I think any football player could probably take down at least a dozen of those, but I really like Derek Wolfe. He's an animal. I like that guy. I'm excited for Case Keenum. He's fun, energetic, smart and I'm excited to see what they'll do. But obviously my favorite is Von. He's just a great character and amazing at defense."

LS: "Well, we had Von Miller last year in our tent. Von came over, and he's a super, super personable guy and was fun to talk to. He rolled up his sleeves and cooked with us, so he wasn't shy around the cooking, either. It was pretty exciting."

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