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Chef Takeover: Restaurant Olivia’s Ty Leon

Get a taste for what’s in store when Restaurant Olivia’s truffle-hunting, pasta-making, soft-serve-loving top chef takes over DiningOut’s Instagram account on Nov. 15.

Restaurant Olivia’s Chef Ty Leon is hosting an Instagram takeover of @diningoutmagazine this Tuesday, November 15, so we caught up with the top chef at one of Denver’s best Italian restaurants to get a taste of what he’s got cooking. (Hint: there’s a lot of pasta involved.) As part of the Instagram takeover, we’ll be giving away a gift card for a tasting dinner for two at the Wash Park hotspot (value $220), so be sure to follow along for a chance to win. 

Chef Ty and his team recently returned from Alba in Piedmont, Italy, where they traveled in search of truffles, wine, and inspiration. Upon their return, they debuted the second-annual Truffle Dinners, serving a special seven-course tasting menu that included both black and white truffles—and, of course, plenty of handmade pasta. 

We caught up with the chef the day after the dinner series wrapped to learn more about what we’ll see during his takeover, how the truffle hunt went, and where we can find the chef around town when he’s not hand-making pasta at his own restaurant. Here’s what he had to say.

What can we expect to see during your @diningoutmagazine Instagram takeover?

Pasta—a lot of pasta.

Tell us about the concept behind Restaurant Olivia. 

Restaurant Olivia is a pasta-focused restaurant. We take inspiration from everywhere we visit, places like Greece and France, and put that inspiration on our menu. 

What’s the restaurant’s mission?

Our mission is to give everyone great food and service.

In three words, describe the dining experience at Restaurant Olivia?

Pasta, Hospitality, Elegant

Put your entire self into everything you do, whether you’re cutting an onion, making stocks or cooking entire dishes. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Chef Ty Leon, Restaurant Olivia

What’s your favorite thing on the menu?

Tagliatelle Bolognese. Last year, we went to Bologna and ate as much Bolognese as we possibly could. I wanted to come back home and try to recreate it as best as I could. We use prosciutto, mortadella and beef shoulder to make the sauce and toss it with White Sanora noodles, then garnish it with Gavasetto e Roncadella Parmigiano Reggiano.

How was the truffle hunt this year? 

The Truffle Hunt was great this year. We did only find one truffle this time—apparently, it is a bad year for truffles. It was raining while we were there so hopefully they’ll get more so we can have more truffles.

Truffle Hunt Photo Credits: Planet 5 Productions

 “Last year, we went to Bologna and ate as much Bolognese as we possibly could. I wanted to come back home and try to recreate it as best as I could.

Chef Ty Leon, Restaurant Olivia

What was on the truffle dinner menu this year? 

This year’s menu featured: Pumpkin Sformato with Robiola Cheese; Focaccia Di Recco with black Truffle and Buffalo Mozzarella; Raviolio di Uovo; Tagliarini with Shaved White Truffles; Braised Rabbit Cappelletti; Beef Wellington; and Apple and Hazelnut Tiramisu.

We will still be offering truffles, both white and black, the rest of this week, so there’s still time to come enjoy.

Quick-Hit Q&A

Apple or Android? Used to be Android but now I am Apple

What apps do you use most? Instagram and Tik Tok

When you’re not at your restaurants, where do you go…

…for special occasions? Temaki Den or Tavernetta

…for a quick bite? Edgewater Market is usually my go-to

…for cocktails? Edgewater Beer Garden (I live in Edgewater so a lot of my favorite spots are here)

just because? My Fiancé and I love sushi so we get that any chance we can. Bamboo Sushi and Temaki Den are our favorites. 

What’s on your holiday wish list? A soft serve ice cream machine. I love ice cream, and soft serve is definitely top-tier.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring chefs and restaurateurs? Put your entire self into everything you do, whether you’re cutting an onion, making stocks or cooking entire dishes. One of our core values is “the way you do anything is the way you do everything,” which really sticks with me. 

You’re hosting your dream dinner party. Who’s around the table? I think this is a tricky question. I would be thrilled to have Dan Barber, Alex Atala and Mossimo Bottura at the same table with me to talk about farming, foraging, and all things Italian. I just hope that I am not the one cooking at this extremely prestigious dinner part—that would be very intimidating. 

Follow @diningoutmagazine for a glimpse behind the scenes and into the kitchen as one of Denver’s top chefs takes us through a day in his prolific pasta-making life. Tune in to learn more about what it takes to helm one of Denver’s best Italian restaurants.


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