Chef’s career comes full circle
By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of Vinny Burns
After cutting his teeth in the restaurant industry in the Castle Pines community, Vinny Burns’ career has come full circle with his position as executive chef at Park Place restaurant at The Ridge golf course.
Burns started out washing dishes at the age of 15 at the Castle Pines Golf Club and quickly caught the eye of a chef who saw the work ethic and culinary potential in him. Burns began making bread and desserts, and although he didn’t have any prior experience in the kitchen, he quickly fell in love with the process and excelled.
Burns attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and returned to the Castle Pines Golf Club for a five-month externship that solidified his desire to one day run his own kitchen.
The married father of two children, ages 10 and 3, later went on to buy his own food truck that specialized in burgers and tater tots. He did a stint in the corporate world at Sodexo, a food service and facilities management company, and worked in restaurants in Boston, Aspen and Boulder before finding himself in the kitchen at a restaurant at Troon North, an award-winning golf course in Scottsdale.
Burns stayed with the Troon family when he came to The Ridge golf course last April, and that was largely due to the free reign he has as executive chef.
“It doesn’t tie you to that corporate structure, and it gives you the freedom that we chefs love,” he said.
Burns doesn’t necessarily have a style or specialty when it comes to the food he makes – “I love it all,” he said. Burns admits he has an underlying tendency toward farm-to-table delicacies, incorporating seasonal veggies when possible. He also enjoys crafting savory pasta dishes using made-from-scratch noodles. Regardless of what he’s preparing, Burns demands perfection from himself.
“It’s something ingrained in me, a work ethic where you want to make sure it’s done well and it’s done right, and you’re not in it for the ego at all,” he said.
As much as ego doesn’t play a role, there’s something motivating about the profound sense of satisfaction that comes when a chef sees a smile on the customer’s face after they take their first bite of food.
“It’s a good feeling I get when I see those things,” Burns said.
When he’s not busy creating smiles in the dining area, the Parker resident can be found on the golf course (free rounds are a perk of the job at The Ridge). Burns also does home improvement projects and attends his son’s hockey, football and baseball games. And when he has the chance to indulge his appetite, he often seeks out an old standard that happens to also be his favorite: a juicy, fresh-ground burger stacked with all of the fixings.