Chef Andreas Neufeld finds home cooking in Aspen
When Andreas Neufeld moved across the country and relocated his life to Aspen, the German-born chef couldn’t tell you the first thing about the remote mountain town.
At the time, Neufeld was living in Miami, exploring his employment possibilities in the culinary field when someone he had been talking with at Casa Tua (its original restaurant location is in Miami) called him.
“They said, ‘We’re opening a restaurant in Aspen in a couple days and we need a chef out here urgently,’” Neufeld said.
Three days later, Neufeld was on a plane to the Rockies to open a hot new Italian restaurant in a little place called Aspen amid the peak of high season — in December 2010, to be exact.
“I had no clue what to expect or what this town was like,” Neufeld said. “I knew it was a ski town, but that was about it.”
As it turns out, the little ski town is where Neufeld has lived for the longest time since moving to the U.S. when he was 21 years old.
Over the past six years, Neufeld has prepared meals at Casa Tua, former restaurants Elevation and Ute City Restaurant, and now at the Creperie du Village.
Since the summer of 2014, Neufeld has served as the French alpine bistro’s head chef, where he whips up everything from sweet and savory crepes to braised veal cheeks and seared scallops.
“Andreas is extremely talented, brilliant and creative,” Creperie co-owner Raphael Derby said.
“He’s the most pleasant guy I ever worked with,” said Derby, who has worked in the culinary industry for nearly three decades. “He inspires a deep and consuming loyalty.”
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Creperie has attracted its own loyal following of locals who regularly dine at the restaurant.
Aspen resident Matt Malone, who said that the Creperie is without a doubt his favorite restaurant in town, is one of these regulars.
Malone said he typically pays the restaurant a visit once a week — “Sometimes more, sometimes less” — like a few weeks ago, when Malone found himself at the Creperie three nights in a row.
“The decor, ambiance and the food never cease to impress me,” Malone said. “Raphael, Karin and Chef Andreas have created something special in our little town.”
But the Creperie fan base extends beyond the local community, and more recently, has attracted a slew of national media attention.
In February, The New York Times featured the restaurant in its list of 13 things to do in Aspen in the article, “36 Hours in Aspen, Colorado,” and the Food Network highlighted the Creperie as one of the top five restaurants in the U.S with the “best romantic foods.”
Along with the cozy French bistro’s menu and atmosphere, one of the more unique aspects to the Creperie experience is its open kitchen and bar that face each other.
“Being able to see and interact with the people I cook for was a very different experience from having a closed kitchen,” Neufeld said. “But it is something I’ve come to enjoy very much.”
Malone said this is his favorite place to sit in the restaurant — at the bar, facing the kitchen — so that he can watch Neufeld and his team at work.
“Andreas is always smiling and occasionally cutting sly jokes with the guests and staff,” Malone said. “His kind demeanor and passion for cooking really show in his flavor play and nightly creations.”
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Aspen School District’s younger students will return to class next week, but that’s not the case for those in the seventh through 12th grade, who will continue to take courses from home.