Denver, CO

This Denver chef's rabbit pot pie ‘Beat Bobby Flay’

Brittany Anas

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Denver chef Jon Keeley from Fire at The Art, a hotel, recently beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a cooking competition.The Art, a hotel

By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo) Jon Keeley, the new executive chef at Fire in The Art Hotel Denver, appeared on the most recent episode of “Beat Bobby Flay,” and he did just that with his judge-approved rabbit pot pie.

To celebrate his win on the Food Network show, Chef Keeley will serve complimentary mini pot pies during a watch party from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, in the Living Room of The ART Hotel Denver (1201 Broadway).

Here’s a look inside the episode starring one of Denver’s top chefs.

Battling Bobby Flay

During the episode, Keeley chose which dish he wanted to challenge the celebrity chef to make.

“Pot pie was something that I had when I was a kid a bunch, but I wanted to get people out of their comfort zones,” Keeley said during the show that aired on Feb. 24. “I came up with rabbit!”

The Denver chef remained composed with a 45-minute timer running as he grated frozen butter, a secret to the extra flaky crust that he used for his petite pot pies.

As Flay was flustered, tossing sprigs of thyme onto his pot pies with chipotle cream, Keeley breezed through the round, assembling a salsa verde salad to balance the rich, savory pot pies.

A three-judge panel picked Keeley’s rabbit pot pie as the winner.

Pot pies and pear salads

As for the format of Flay’s eponymous show, guest chefs go through two rounds. Flay picks a surprise ingredient in the first round and the two guest chefs square off against one another. Flay’s friends or colleagues judge the dishes to determine which chef has the best chance at beating Flay.

For this preliminary battle, Flay presented anjou pears and Keeley’s watercress salad with pears three ways to beat a poached pear with bourbon cream crafted by Sri Lankan-American chef Sam Fore from Lexington, Kentucky.

Contemporary American dishes at Fire

Keeley’s culinary passion started at a young age when he’d stand on a stool and watch his grandmother make meatballs.

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in New Hampshire, he honed his skills at Four Seasons Hotel Boston’s Aujourd’hui and James Beard award-winning restaurant Toro as chef de partie. In Chicago, he joined Michelin-starred Bonnesoirée as chef de cuisine.

Before coming to Denver to take the executive chef role at Fire, Keeley was the Culinary Director at Sand Valley Golf Resort in Wisconsin.

His contemporary American menu has dishes like BBQ Charred Carrots served with sheep’s milk feta, puffed quinoa and lemon preserve and a Green Chili Hanger Steak with shishitos and Pueblo peppers with avocado butter. A must-try on his menu is the Caesar salad that he says he’s spent 10 years perfecting.

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Brittany is a journalist in the Denver metro area with more than two decades of writing and editing experience. She covers travel, restaurants and other lifestyle topics.

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