Meet Your Chef: Lauren McElroy of Lauren’s Kitchen

Get to know your local Vail Valley chefs

Lauren McElroy is the chef/owner of Lauren's Kitchen in the Riverwalk in Edwards.
Lauren McElroy/Courtesy photo

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is showcasing area chefs in a new series called “Meet Your Chef” so you can learn a bit more about those creating art in the kitchen. If you’re a local chef and would like to be a part of this series, please email Tricia Swenson ( and Sean Naylor (

Q: What is your name, where do you cook and what is your official title?

A: Lauren McElroy and I’m the chef/owner at Lauren’s Kitchen in Riverwalk in Edwards. 

Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?

A: I’ve lived here off and on for 15 years. I originally moved to the valley to snowboard but stayed through a summer and it became my happy place! 

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Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to become a chef?

A: I’ve always been into cooking from an early age with my grandmothers, but never thought to make a career out of it until my early thirties. I was always unsatisfied working under someone else, so I decided to make my own rules. 

McElroy originally moved to the valley to snowboard but stayed for a summer and never left.
Lauren McElroy/Courtesy photo

Q: Who has inspired you throughout your culinary journey?

A: Both of my grandmothers (MeMaw and MomMom) encouraged my love for cooking. 

Q: What’s your favorite spice?

A: Only one? I choose garlic.

Q: Favorite protein? 

A: All of them! I tend to eat a lot of chicken, fresh seafood and vegetable protein myself, but love cooking it all.

Q: Favorite fruits and veggies?

A: Spinach, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, green chiles, watermelon, strawberries, plump blackberries, pineapple, bananas, broccoli, corn, bell pepper, peas, parsnips, potato, lettuce, citrus, avocado…

Lauren’s Kitchen is a grab-and-go concept where you can get a quick lunch or bring home dinner.
Lauren McElroy/Courtesy photo

Q: Name your carb: pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, etc.?

A: Pasta will always be my favorite, but I cook with everything.

Q: What’s your favorite comfort food?

A: I grew up in Texas, so there’s not much comfort I won’t enjoy. Chicken fried chicken, cheese enchiladas with chile con carne, Frito pie, pasta-based casseroles, seafood gumbo, chocolate pie, coconut cream pie. … I’ll take one of each!

Q: Is there anything else about you we should share?

A: Lauren’s Kitchen is a boutique storefront, providing custom catering and grab-and-go/mix-and-match meals. Everything is made from scratch by me, personally with a very small staff. We provide dietary restrictive options in our storefront and for custom orders. Do not label us as a “restaurant,” we have two tables inside and a few outdoor seats, but our storefront concept is grab-and-go. On the catering side, we can handle anything from weekly meals to dinner parties for up to 300 people and everything in between!

The catering side of McElroy’s business can serve up to 300 people.
Lauren McElroy/Courtesy photo

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