"Chef Of The Year", Eater.com (Denver) 2014
"21 Best New Restaurants In America", Eater.com 2015
Executive Chef/Owner, Cart-Driver, Denver, CO + Basta, Boulder, CO
Originally Featured April 2016
The Artisan Ingredients
The Signature Recipes
About Chef Whitaker
After completing a degree in Restaurant/Hotel Management at Colorado State University and at Hotel Institute Montreux in Switzerland, Kelly Whitaker cultivated his skills in the back alley trattorias and little-known cities north of Naples, Italy. Returning to the States, Kelly perfected his craft in Los Angeles and Hollywood cooking in Michelin star restaurants, where he began developing his wood fire skills. He opened his first wood-fire concept restaurant called Basta, located in Boulder, Colorado, after returning in 2008.
Kelly believes strongly in sourcing his ingredients as locally as possible, with his style of cooking being inspired by Southern Italian comfort farm food. He is currently expanding his talents with his newest concept, Cart-Driver, located in Denver Colorado. This fast/casual autogrill-style eatery replaces the normal “to-go” repertoire with responsibly sourced and well prepared food. Kelly’s hospitality group, IE Hospitality, hopes to create approachable concepts centered on responsible, quality ingredients while maintaining the highest level of customer service.