FOOD: Chez Lena, the hidden culinary gem |

FOOD: Chez Lena, the hidden culinary gem

Lee Mathis
Staff Photo |

Yes, I am a graduate of the Colorado Culinary Academy at WCCC/Colorado Mesa University, which has a lot to say about the quality of the chefs and staff as well as their patience. I think I remember my very first day calling French food… bait!

Even though the school has been around for a while, many people still do not realize that the school also has a great restaurant, Chez Lena, which is run by the students and supervised by Chef Jon and Angie, who are tops!

Every semester, Chez Lena is open for lunch, from 11:30-1 p.m., Tuesdays through Friday. Chef Jon has two separate menus each semester, one for each “mod” and you cannot get a much better meal and that is not even taking into account their pricing, which is great.

This mod’s menu includes: The “Only-Time” Tomato Salad with Vine Ripe local heirloom tomatoes, torn basil, handcrafted mozzarella, crispy pancetta, Tuscan olive oil & balsamic vinegar and warm garlic-crusted crostini; pancetta-wrapped Sea Bream filets, with sour cream, green onions, cheddar whipped potatoes and stir-fried vegetables; and ask about their prix fixe menu!

For more information and/or to make reservations, call Chez Lena at 970-255-2641.

This weekend also offers The Fruita Fall Festival. Three days in downtown Fruita. For many of us, this marks the last of the fair & festival season. Food, vendors, rides and more, real family friendly so come on out and have a great time.

Gotta give a shout-out to the staff and volunteers at the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade this past weekend in Palisade. One of the best, if not the best one we have ever done. From the folks at CAVE to the students and staff from the Colorado Culinary Academy at WCCC/Colorado Mesa University to all of the sponsors…. Many thanks!


This one is from our friends at This is a great page and has videos of all the recipes in addition to a printed format. My “Recipe of The Week” is also from … Festive Fall Succotash.

Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at, on the web at, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ)


8 oz. frozen corn

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

8 oz. frozen lima beans

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Saute the green, orange and red peppers in the olive oil in a covered sautéing pan or shallow frying pan until the peppers are soft, but slightly crisp. Keeping the pan covered will allow for the natural juices to seep into the olive oil and help to flavor the succotash, assisting with reducing the butter and eliminating the cream used in traditional succotash recipes.

Cook the corn and lima beans together as directed on the package in a pan. Drain the water.

Add in the peppers and all of the juices from the pan. Stir in the butter, salt and pepper.


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