Meet Your Chef: Lauren McElroy of Lauren’s Kitchen
Get to know your local Vail Valley chefs
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sean Naylor (email@example.com).
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.
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…
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!