September 23, 2021
Community Spotlight: Meet Syd Younggreen, part of the dynamic chef duo behind "The Guest" dinner series and featured Chef's of MCA Denver's Dinner Society
On Thursday, September 30, 2021, MCA Denver’s Dinner Society returns, welcoming Chefs Syd Younggreen and Brian De Souza of “The Guest”, who will delight our palettes with their beautifully crafted and seasonally influenced culinary delights. Coming from some of the top dining spots in NYC, Syd and Brian have brought their invaluable knowledge to Boulder, CO where they host exclusive and intimate dinners as part of “The Guest” dinner series. We emailed with Syd to learn more about this dynamic duo that is raising the bar of Colorado’s dining experience.
What brought you both to Colorado after your time in NYC?
Syd - My family is based in Boulder, CO, and I graduated from CU Boulder before moving to NYC for culinary school. I brought Brian home in the fall of 2019 to meet my family and he fell in love with the landscape and beauty here. We were both a little burnt out on NYC and were already considering where we wanted to build our future restaurant together. After that trip, we quickly decided to move to Colorado and believed it would make a perfect home for what would become “The Guest.”
You both have worked in some of the top restaurants in NYC. What are some of the lessons learned in creating not only dining but a culinary experience for your guests?
The biggest lessons learned from these top restaurants had to do with the necessity of hard work. The amount of time and sacrifice that goes into producing a memorable experience for your guests is astronomical. It takes a dedicated and passionate team to pull it off and everyone has to work together to get the job done. You have to learn to work under a crazy amount of pressure. Now, doing our own thing, we put that pressure on ourselves. The kitchen teaches you that you are smarter and stronger than you think.
How was “The Guest” dinner series developed?
Brian and I met at a restaurant called Her Name Was Carmen working under Chef Omar Ben-Hammou. We quickly hit it off and spent our days off cooking and creating recipes together. Eventually, we began hosting tasting menu dinners on my balcony in Manhattan for free, just to share our food and cook for people. The feedback was great and we began to host ticketed dinners in restaurants around the city on nights they were closed. We got some gigs traveling to places like Austin and San Francisco to put on dinner events and eventually settled in Boulder. “The Guest” was born officially a few months after the pandemic hit in 2020 after things began opening back up. We were without cooking jobs and dying to get in the kitchen again and develop our creativity. We began “The Guest” Dinner Series on Friday and Saturday nights out of a charming brick house in downtown Boulder. It took off more quickly than we could imagine and we were soon selling out. We loved to see people coming back to enjoy each menu, allowing us to really get to know each other. We moved to Denver this spring and hosted dinners in a loft in LoDo throughout the spring and summer months.
We are excited to have you both as our chefs for our Dinner Society series. A great way to welcome this program back to in-person joy and happiness. How do you see the connection between art and food?
Food and art go hand in hand. Food is art in many ways - it's creative, it’s visual, it invokes a feeling in people, it triggers memories. It’s very different from other arts though because the finished product is usually destroyed in a matter of minutes
What are you inspired by? How does this show up in the dishes you create?
It’s hard to define what inspires us. Ideas come to us spontaneously and we take inspiration from so many different sources. Inspiration can come from memories, the season, our moods, dreams - anything really.
What’s on the horizon that you’re excited about?
“The Guest” will be moving to a permanent home in the near future. We are excited to be able to design a space that will be a perfect fit for our intimate concept, allowing us to really connect with our guests. We will be opening a second concept in 2022, with an innovative a la carte menu influenced by our experiences throughout the world. It will be complemented by a refreshing craft cocktail menu. We are still early on in the project, so we can’t share too much but we will be giving more details soon.
How can we stay connected?
You can learn more about “The Guest” on our website www.theguestdenver.com and you can also join our waitlist to be the first to know about new announcements and when reservations will become available. Follow us on Instagram @theguestdenver.