Chef Manny Lopez
Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant and Bar, in Aspen is the type of place to visit no matter what your mood. It is the place to go for comfort, contemporary cuisine and killer drinks. Owners Jimmy Yeager and Grayson Stover have a passion for cocktails and this is clearly evidenced by their fresh cocktail list. A perfect combination of concoctions to warm you up after a hard day on the slopes and to sip in the summer mountain sun on Jimmy’s lively patio.
The kitchen is headed by Chef Manny Lopez. Chef Manny has graced the Aspen culinary scene since 1999. He worked summers in Jersey and winters in Aspen before deciding to make Aspen his permanent home in 2001. He has brought his extensive knowledge of traditional Mexican dishes from Vera Cruz and from his grandmother, who taught his mom and three sisters how to cook. His grandma and mother are credited with instilling in him the passion for cooking. Growing up in Mexico, he was exposed to cuisine that included a wide variety of seafood and shellfish. Ranches surround Vera Cruz as well, so Chef Manny knows a lot when it comes to cattle. This makes him a perfect fit for the Colorado mountains.
Where did you learn to cook?
My mother. One summer, I had nothing to do so she taught me to cook. She taught the basics, but in Aspen, I found refinement.
Where did you learn your “refinement”?
From Chef Paul Wade at The Little Nell. I worked with him for four years. He was more of a leader than a “boss.” He was an excellent teacher. All of us who had worked for him are now leaders in our own kitchens. He was a good example for all of us.
What is your favorite dish from home?
Mole! My mom used to make it. I had it on the menu at Jimmy’s for a little while, but it was too complex.
What is your current favorite dish on the menu?
The rib-eye, it’s a delicious cut of meat!
Three words to describe your food.
Engaging, great and fun.
What do you cook at home?
I don’t. My wife is Thai. She makes incredible traditional Thai food.
Do you have a favorite local ingredient?
Yes, any goat cheese from Haystack. I really like their feta.
If you could cook for any person, living or not, who would it be?
My grandmother. I have such sweet loving memories from her food.