Chef Caroline Glover has mastered her way around the kitchen by involving herself in every aspect of culinary culture. Her past experiences combined with the unique personalities she met through her progress have cleverly shaped her persistent drive — a necessity in today’s world. Although Annette is a special endeavor for Glover, she found a way to give all a taste of her world through this easeful and relaxed spot.
Nestled in the corner of Stanley Marketplace lies Annette — a site opened in honor of Glover’s great aunt in the Fall of 2016. Great Aunt Netsie called a Texan small-town home and taught Glover to trust her own opinions throughout her upbringing. “She was kind of a spitfire and just a personality that I was obsessed with and really wanted to embody in a restaurant,” she remembered. This strong temperament and confidence passed down to Glover is what motivated her to practice a continued faith within herself during her journey.
After attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, she conquered a spot behind the line at The Spotted Pig in New York City for two years. Glover quickly made her way to the top and was named Sous Chef under British Chef April Bloomfield and Executive Chef Nate Smith. She began to yearn for experience in the farming aspect of cooking and paused her work within the kitchen to seek out seasonal jobs at various farms in Pennsylvania and Vermont. This gave her a deeper insight into what ingredients work together and why. “I mean, I used to think of myself as not a creative person. But I think that is where farming comes in for me, knowing what grows together goes together. It’s a really easy way for me to come up with dishes,” Glover said. This idea mixed with her childhood nostalgia when it comes to cooking is what inspired the home-cooked feel of Annette’s food.
After this stint in farming, Glover and her husband moved to Paonia to work at a bed and breakfast. This combination of farming and cooking was the perfect ease back into the kitchen before settling at the acclaimed Acorn in Denver. During her period at this spot, Acorn was named Best Restaurant in Denver by 5280 Magazine — a fact that is anything but coincidence. After a good three years, Glover was ready to do her own thing and Annette sneaked its way into the picture.
Glover describes the food at Annette as bites that emit a cozy and personal feel. “I always think every dish has some part of my childhood or a sense of nostalgia to it. The idea behind the food was just being able to create food that you would feel comfortable eating in your own home, so to me, it’s a lot of comfort food — flavors that remind me of home cooking, just elevated.” This idea has become a reality as dozens find a sense of belonging at Annette, mimicking how Glover felt when she found the space. This successful chef also values filling her kitchen with women chefs and giving them all a space to create. “When I was in New York City, for most of my time it was an all-women kitchen. I did not realize it was a more male-dominated field until later. I’ve worked with both wonderful men and women, but I do think that there is something special with women where there’s this common understanding and kind of a similar flavor profile,” Glover said.
Although Annette has remained immensely successful, I think that we can all agree that the pandemic has left no causalities. “It was definitely the hardest time we had, and I still feel like we’re in it. It kind of feels like a domino effect in terms of inflation and labor shortages” Glover said. “We changed to a to-go restaurant and then we added all this outdoor seating and now I feel like we are a hybrid of everything. We are all kind of sitting ducks, waiting for what comes next.” This reality is something that has consumed all fields, but especially within the aspect of dining. Glover’s love for the culinary industry is something that made her stick around. “There are some days where it is really hard, and you end up crying at the end of the day. But there are other days when it’s the best day of your life. I think it’s just the constant excitement that I really enjoy,” Glover reflected.
When 2022 struck, culinary artists everywhere were filled with anticipation for the James Beard Awards. After becoming a semifinalist, Glover stole the prize of Best Chef: Mountain. This acted as a reminder of her talent and gave her the push to continue. “I think the biggest takeaway for my team was to be recognized for all the hard work we put in for the last two and a half years. You know, a lot of my management stuck around throughout the whole pandemic, and it was just a really exciting thing to happen,” Glover remembered. Through it all, she has remained an immensely focused and unique chef — one that deserves all the praise that has been gifted.Chef Glover has many thrilling feats coming up in the future, including a culinary-focused trip to Portugal. “It’s all with Modern Adventure and I’ve actually never been to Portugal so I am super excited. The seafood, culinary scene and wine there is insane so I’m very excited to experience it for the first time with a bunch of other people” she said.
Also in the books for August, Glover is partnering with Chef April Bloomfield — who is also a James Beard Award winner — for a special two-night seasonal menu special at Annette. The two pairs who begun their familiarity at the Spotted Pig will cook united once again, creating a spectacle that all should witness. Tickets for this four-course dinner and dessert are still available for Tuesday, August 16, priced at $120 a person. Visit its website to secure your spot. Chef Glover is one chef to keep your eye on as her talent and influence grows. Her light within the culinary space of Denver has yet to die out and we have faith that it will do nothing but shine brighter within the years to come.
Annette is located at 2501 Dallas St, Aurora. It is open for dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is closed on Monday.
All photos courtesy of From The Hip Photography.