Glenwood chef wants to make customers happy |

Glenwood chef wants to make customers happy

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post Independent Eric Delecolle prepares a dish inside of Atmosphere French-American Bistro on Saturday afternoon.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Eric Delecolle tried to talk, but he kept getting interrupted. First, it was a new cook wanting to know where the French onion soup was. A deliveryman soon came with supplies. Then a rush of customers jammed up the kitchen staff with orders.Delecolle jumped into action. He sorted out the tomato situation, helped the deliveryman and began chopping vegetables and meat. He whipped up several dishes in minutes. Although Delecolle had a hectic and stressful blast of activity in just a short period of time Friday afternoon, he said it didn’t bother him. It is important for him to maintain a sense of joyfulness as a chef. It’s something that comes when he cooks for others, he said.”I like to make people happy and make people smile,” he said. “When you are a cook, you like to give.”

Delecolle, 26, is the executive chef at downtown Glenwood Springs’ Atmosphere French-American Bistro, where he has worked for the last two years. His ideas about food are all over the restaurant’s dinner and lunch menus – menus that he helps create. Those menus have dishes ranging from trout almondine to magret de canard with orange sauce, to standard French dishes like French onion soup, escargots de Bourgogne and frog legs “a la Provencale.””I love to cook and create,” Delecolle said during a break from his shift at the Glenwood Springs restaurant. “I like to play with different produce and foods. I like to create new recipes.”Delecolle didn’t dream of being a cook when he grew up in Lille, France, which is north of Paris near the Belgium-France border. He stepped into the profession because he needed a job, he said. “I was going to scientific school and I was graduating,” Delecolle said. “I didn’t want to be a scientist and stay in an office. I didn’t want to do that with my life.”So Delecolle decided to enroll at the Institut Paul Bocuse near Lyon, France, to learn how to become a chef. “(Cooking) wasn’t a passion,” he said. “It was just to do something with my life.”

Delecolle spent two years at the institute learning the craft of being a chef. When he left, his love for cooking emerged.”Everything changed,” said Delecolle, who has designs on opening his own restaurant. “It is now a passion.”Delecolle said the Institut Paul Bocuse had some of the most motivated and best teachers, who helped the students learn artistry with food.”If you don’t have any artistic sense, you can’t be a good cook,” he said.Delecolle left France to work at the Biltmore Hotel and Resort in Miami about five years ago. When he arrived, he could barely speak any English. When he left Miami, he had a command of the language from his experience working in the kitchen, he said. From Florida, Delecolle found his way to a restaurant in Vail. He came to Glenwood Springs about two years ago when Nelly Agasse, the current owner of Atmosphere, called Delecolle to ask him if he wanted to be the executive chef at the restaurant.Delecolle signed on and has been the executive chef at Atmosphere ever since.

And so far, he has been doing a good job, said Agasse, who helped run the former Glenwood Springs French restaurant, Rendezvous.”He is a great cook,” Agasse said of Delecolle. “He is getting better and better.”Although being a chef can be quite stressful, Delecolle said it is important to forget about the stresses of life and the job so he can concentrate on the restaurant’s customers and to make sure they’re happy.”Everyday, you need to be ready to give some happiness to your customers,” Delecolle said. “If you have personal problems, you have to leave them out of the kitchen.” Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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