Jason & Jeanette Burgett are the husband and wife team behind The Wooden Spoon Cafe & Bakery. Wooden Spoon opened June 2010 in the Highlands neighborhood. It is small cozy bakery that has some of the best scones in the city.
Not only are their scones delicious, they are also whipping up breakfast sandwiches, homemade soups, and killer lattes. Walking into Wooden Spoon feels like stepping foot into an intimate New York City neighborhood coffee shop–just what they were after when they opened their doors to the expanding Highland area. Here’s what Jason and Jeanette had to say about their journey.
Do you have a food philosophy?
Consistency is most important. Our goal is to instill that trait in our employees so our customers can count on our quality. We strive to do the same thing and do it better everyday. We have 75-80% repeat customers and at the price point of our items, consistency is especially important. One of the best compliments we’ve received was from a customer who has been coming in since we opened and told us the food and quality is the same every time. We take pride in that. It has created a close community of people.
Do you have any chef mentors?
Jeremy Wachalter, owner and chef of Cobblestone Catering & Fine Foods, Brooklyn NY. I worked under him for two years and his palate was just so good. A friend of Jeremy’s opened Dovetail in New York. Before it opened he invited us to taste the menu. Two weeks later the New York Times reviewed it and gave the same feedback Jeremy had given–he was that good. I learned a lot from him. Not only how to run a business, but the nuance of food.
What do you like to do outside the kitchen?
Play golf when I have time; but mostly I enjoy spending my down time with my family. Lauchlyn, who is 18 months, keeps us running when we are not in the kitchen.
Most undervalued ingredient?
Acid–such as lemon juice, lemon zest and vinegars. They open up the palate to enhance the flavor. Lot of people think you need to add salt, but acid finalizes the taste of the food. White, distilled vinegar is added to most of the Wooden Spoon soups, balsamic vinegar is added to the Tomato Basil–just enough to make a difference.
Most important rules in your kitchen?
The kitchen must be clean! That is #1. We are sticklers about being on time. Always — Taste, taste, taste!
What would you like to see more or less of in the Denver food scene?
What is your FoodHigh moment?
Jeanette and I were driving in Taos at night, it was dark. We couldn’t find anything open and happened to stumble upon a place that was about to close. They sat us next to the fireplace. There was something special about the the way they made us feel when we walked in–we were home. We ordered the foie gras and it was truly unlike anything we had eaten. It may sound like a crazy combination, but they paired it with a soft gingersnap style biscuit–sweet with a bit of crunch, and fresh lentils on the bottom. Though we cannot remember the name of the place it was one of the most unbelievable things we have ever eaten. I still think about those flavors.
What childhood memory/event/experience helped shape who you are as a chef today?
Eating my grandmother’s cooking as a child. My grandparents lived on a farm in central Kansas and it was real “Farm to Table” eating. Freshly gathered eggs in the morning, with milk that was still warm poured over our cereal. She was a true scratch cook.
Where do you like to eat/drink out? Any hidden gems we need to know about?
Now that we are parents our nights out are a bit more limited. However, we more often than not land at SushiDen–we are Denver loyalist. Sushi Den has the consistent quality in everything they do, from the service to the food and their purveyors. We know we are going to get an enjoyable evening. Also, they have the best baked mussels and Banana Cream Pie in town. How’s that for a hidden gem!
What do you like about what you do?
When it is busy, I get hyper and full of adrenaline. It is like a sport, I feel it and I’m in a zone. I also like the feedback I get from observing our patrons. If a table is in a conversation and the talking stops when the food arrives – that is a good sign. I also look in the trash can like 30 times a day to see what food is getting thrown away.
Why the Wooden Spoon concept?
When we lived in NYC, each little neighborhood had its own cafe/bakery. A place you could go and they knew what you wanted when they saw you walk in the door. It was something Denver was needing and we opened Wooden Spoon just at the right time. We enjoy seeing our regulars every morning and knowing what they want before they do.
Thank you, Jason & Jeanette!
Tues-Fri 7:am to 2:pm
Sat 8:am to 2:pm
Sun 8:am to 12:pm