We couldn’t be more excited that a local chef is appearing on Chopped this week—Sous Chef Dave Hadley of The Preservery will be making his television debut on Tuesday, February 21 at 8pm MST.
About Dave + Working at The Preservery
Born in New Jersey, Chef Dave Hadley discovered his love of cooking early on by spending time with his grandmother in the kitchen. That passion grew and he went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, where he received classical training that he has since fused with his own unique background—a mix of Caribbean and South Indian cultures.
After working for some of the biggest hits in Denver (including Acorn and helping to open Biju’s Little Curry Shop in RiNo), Hadley took the position of sous chef at The Preservery and has been there since its opening in 2016. Here, he remarks, he has really hit his stride. “The ownership is why we’re all here,” he explains. “They give us free reign of the cuisine that we’re helping to establish in Denver.”
His adoration for the restaurant and their food is totally palpable in conversation. He’s proud of his contributions at The Preservery, and grateful for every moment spent there. And, more than anything, he loves the team. “We’re fully confident in our people. It’s not like [Chef] Brendan and I have a menu and everyone has to follow it,” he explains. This amount of creative freedom has led to seriously delectable dishes such as the Kerala Chutney or the ever-popular Masala Lamb served on a bed of stewed fregola.
How Chef Hadley landed on “Chopped”
It all started at Biju’s Little Curry Shop, actually. In 2016, the restaurant was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” while Hadley was working at the restaurant. The “DDD” producers talked with Hadley, and intrigued by his personality and story, they encouraged him to try out for TV. Uninterested at the time, Hadley decided to pass. Recently, however, the producers of another Food Network program, “Chopped,” also came to Denver with the intention of featuring owner of Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Biju Thomas. However, Thomas suggested Hadley, walking the producers over to meet Hadley at The Preservery. And the rest, as they say, is history. “They look for real people and a true story. I’m real,” he says.
With a father from St. Vincent and a mother from Kerala, Dave remembers growing up with unusual ingredients around the house; it was the norm for him. “It’s easy to try things that are new in ethnic families,” he explains. He grew accustomed to sampling and cooking with ingredients his friends hadn’t heard of, which primed him for the “Chopped” competition. He couldn’t give away much about the episode, but he was able to tell us that its title is “Chefs in a Pickle,” and that pickles were found in every basket. We’ll certainly be watching to cheer him on, and we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
By Alexis Methven, Contributor