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New Sheridan:Chef Erich Owen

Chef Erich Owen

Erich Owen assumed the honorable position of Executive Chef at the New Sheridan Hotel in Telluride, Colorado in April 2008. His cuisine has been described as new American with a French technique that creates a truly unique experience in elegant fine dining. Creative combinations with an emphasis on quality ingredients and impeccable preparation have become his trademark.

He began cooking in different restaurants in Telluride and discovered his passion for food, wine and food preparation. At Liemgruber’s, a German après ski spot, he met his first mentor in the culinary world, Nelson Cognac.

Cognac was taking a break from the intense culinary scene of San Francisco, and saw a spark of desire and talent in young Owen. After working together at Liemgruber’s, Cognac invited Owen to accompany him back to San Francisco’s famous Grand Cafe to apprentice. Owen understood that real knowledge and skills come from working with established chefs and gaining hands-on experience. As a seasoned executive chef of 12 years, Cognac gave Owen a complete first-hand education in the high-energy, fast-paced demands of haute cuisine in a prominent, metropolitan restaurant, and introduced him to their successful chefs who invited him to work by their sides, further expanding his knowledge.

Through the San Francisco experience, Owen developed a deep passion for French-American restaurants, and became enamored with the “organized chaos” environment and the interesting characters he met. He then returned to Telluride under the tutelage of Jeff Panilli, the chef de cuisine at Harmon’s restaurant. He quickly excelled and was promoted to sous chef, then executive chef following Panilli’s departure. At age 25, Owen was managing his own kitchen staff and menu for one of Telluride’s most successful fine dining establishments.

Eager to continue growing, Owen sought the challenge of his own operation. He returned to Durango and opened E.O.’s Chophouse, after his initials, with the help of his parents, Fred and Jan, and two additional investors. For almost four years, Owen operated E.O.’s, guiding it to top in the 2000 Taste of Durango competition and “Best Restaurant” designation from the Four Corners Business Journal’s annual restaurant awards. Despite the rigors of running his own place, he spent two months apprenticing in Germany, France and Austria.

Cooking at the famous Braustuberl Schloss Seefeld, a castle in Austria specializing in French and Austrian cuisine, “was one of the most beneficial experiences in my growth as a chef, besides being extraordinarily fun,” Owen said.

Owen realized his passion still resided in Telluride, so he moved back with his young family and took a position as chef at Allred’s. As Executive Chef/General Manager, he applied more than 10 years of experience to the task. He dreamed, created, planned, and with his signature high standards, made the Allred’s experience one his guests truly enjoyed.

Owen was next offered an opportunity in a celebrity chef capacity and joined L.A.’s hottest restaurant group, Koi. With his background and innovative ideas he helped propel the fast paced restaurant to a new level. Being at the helm of Koi in Las Vegas was no disappointment, as Koi took honors in best new restaurant in Las Vegas, for which Owen himself accepted the award.

The mountains of Colorado beckoned Owen once again, and in the spring of 2008, Erich, Holli, Hayden and the newest Owen, Ellowyn, born July 2007, returned to Telluride so that Owen could complete a long time dream to become the Executive Chef at the New Sheridan. Owen joined long time friend and General Manager, Ray Farnsworth at the New Sheridan, a prestigious member of National Trust Historic Hotels of America. Owen has played a major role in the historic hotel’s 7 million dollar remodel during the summer of 2008, and the cuisine at the New Sheridan Chop House, Parlor, and Historic Bar are unrivaled in the West.

“Best $40 Steak”, New Sheridan Chop House, Skiing Magazine, October 2008
Allred’s best 100 restaurants in America “Zagat”
Food demonstrations in:
Denver Culinary Festival
Telluride Culinary Festival
Cooking School of Aspen
Aspen Food & Wine Festival
Taste of Durango