Josh Olsen | Partner & Kitchen Manager at The Squeaky Bean
There’s no doubt about it , Boulder is home to tech’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. And, though the same may be said about Silicon Valley, what sets Boulder techies apart are their passion for great food and their delicate palates. It appears Boulderites have gusto for great-tasting cuisine and cocktails, which is surely the reason why delicious local restaurants are abound. This combination of visionary minds and culinary arts stretches far outside our cities boundaries as well. So, I set foot on a quest into downtown Denver and discovered an innovative kitchen which opens its doors this month!
The Squeaky Bean is soon to be serving Denver’s most progressive cuisine and kitchen manager and partner, Josh Olsen, accepted the challenge to help me in my quest to find a different kind of restaurant. Little did I know that my journey would begin in the rural farmlands outside Denver’s metropolis. When we arrived on the farm, Olsen explained that the lands produce the ingredients for The Squeaky Bean’s menu of exquisite entrees. They grow more than fifteen types of crops including squash, tomatoes, chili, sunflowers, and… chrysanthemums? Yes. Chrysanthemums are one of the traditional cut flowers that will be served as key components on your plate at the Bean. Olsen promises that his ingredients will engage your five senses during the dining experience and shared one of his dishes:
A salad that will literally be served in a square flower box. It will include edible flowers and super-good spinach. Together they’ll make one very aromatic, colorful, and fun salad that will opaque your typical greens with cucumber.
In addition to the progressive choice of greens, the eatery offers a unique experience. It starts with the atmosphere which Olsen describes as fun, relaxed, and sophisticated all at once. He clarifies that you’ll have an exquisite dine whether “you’re in jeans and a t-shirt or elegantly proposing to your wife. We make those two groups feel comfortable with each other.” Olsen and the staff are investing their best efforts to make each guest feel at home and, after meeting their vivacious crew, I believe they’ll pull it off. Olsen affirms that: “Our staff is what sets us apart. We come together as a team and make beautiful food, in addition to cocktails, as a result.”
Before becoming partner to the The Squeaky Bean, Olsen had worked for several culinary teams as he sought for one that would fulfill his ambitions. He developed his strengths in the organizational aspect of cuisine across experiences as a sous-chef at Panzano, String’s, and Macaroni Grill as well as a key role in opening ¡Que Bueno! in Westminster. Olsen’s experience also includes several years of working in agriculture with Aspen Moon Farm where he learned everything he knows about planting and growing his own ingredients. When he was invited by Johnny, a coworker and bartender Panzano, to become partner in launching a restaurant, he knew it was a golden match to bring his two passions — food and gardening — into fruition. As a kitchen manager Olsen works behind the scenes to make sure everything and everyone at The Squeaky Bean is prepped and ready to make delicious food. His work is essential to the success of any restaurant.
You need your chef to be as creative as possible. For that, his mind needs to be free and clear of any instances.
As many entrepreneurs can attest to though, sheer passion isn’t enough to succeed in your dreams. Olsen admits that patience has been the most challenging skill to master, it was as necessary as learning how to cook. In fact, he offers a piece of advice to Boulder 2140 professionals,namely that ”patience is key in developing your career and progressing through the steps toward lasting success.”
- Opens the kitchen
- Starts the morning by checking previous day’s revenues for product & labor analyses
- Heads out to the farm and plans the next harvest based on his forecasts
- As the evening sun sets, he takes feedback from arriving employees to ensure every process is streamlined
On June 20th, the doors will open for guests to indulge in Denver’s most seasonal progressive menu. After two and a half years of unwavering manual and creative efforts, Olsen looks forward to the intense feeling of accomplishment once his fresh ingredients make it from the farm into the kitchen and then onto patron’s dishes for the first time.
The menu will include seasonal dishes which will push Olsen to set out on frequent culinary quests of his own. He will need to master his produce and skills in the field in order to provide an adequate yield of crops each season and continue developing his skill in creating new and enticing food combinations. Olsen’s already got a plan though – while managing the kitchen, he’s also making arrangements to travel the world to discover new ingredients and study their growth so that he can help them flourish in his gardens here in Colorado. When they sit down to a meal at The Squeaky Bean in Denver, diners will certainly reap the benefits of the seeds he’s sowing.