Grand Lake: Restaurant hosts an evening ‘all about you’ |

Grand Lake: Restaurant hosts an evening ‘all about you’

by Cyndi McCoy
Grand Lake, Colorado

Grand Lake, Colorado ” With all the strife and stress of today’s world and economy, wouldn’t it be nice to have an evening just for yourself?

That is what the Daven Haven in Grand Lake had in mind when manager Sheila Brown planned its first-ever “All About You” social event (a.k.a. The Little Black Dress Affair).

The evening is scheduled for fun, good food and laughter, Brown explained, in an “effort to do away with our problems, at least for one night.” It is also a chance for the restaurant to showcase new chef “Frisco” Thumbtzen who started in the kitchen this month.

Couples, singles and friends are encouraged to come out to enjoy welcome wine or champagne, give-aways, free cash raffle, and dancing with live entertainment by Brad Pregeant, as well as an array of appetizers Thumbtzen has prepared.

Chef Frisco most recently hails from Talkeetna, Alaska, near Mount McKinley. He was seeking winter work and Daven Haven co-owner Carey Barnes saw his online resume and called him.

Thumbtzen loved the idea of working for a steakhouse and said the Barnes couple has been very nice. Grand Lake is just as beautiful and, believe it or not, about double the size of the Alaskan town where he came from.

His cooking career began out of chance. His mother could barely cook and when she did it was the same turkey and rice dish. Thumbtzen said he got tired of eating over at his friend’s house and one day asked her how to make it. With a little practice and creativity, he realized he could add ingredients that would completely change its taste.

He’s been cooking ever since, entertaining for 25 years at clubs, banquets and friends’ parties, and said it has been just in the last decade that he got serious about making it a career. After serving as a Navy “Seabee” and in law enforcement, he decided to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta for a culinary associate’s degree. He spent his internship at Walt Disney World, learning Polynesian and African cuisine, and came away with an extensive knowledge of seafood and rustic/organic cooking.

His specialties are from Louisiana, southern and northern Carolinas, and deep Floridian/Caribbean food. This season, he looks forward to implementing a fresh pub menu (as well as brushing up on his snowboarding skills). It will reflect hearty meals and comfort foods with ideas to include Cajun snow crab legs, a crab/crawfish boil, a seafood stew called chipinos he’s famous for, Georgia-style hot wings, Southern fried chicken, and chicken fried steak. He’d also like to expand the seafood offerings.

His favorite thing is just making people who eat his food happy.

“That’s my thing right there,” he said. “I’m really intense on their enjoyment. The greatest reward is … bringing people home and giving them memories of growing up.”

For “All About You,” he plans to offer Hawaiian and Southern barbecue, a possible Puerto Rican pork dish, Ahi tuna lollipops, and various open-face sandwiches and canapes (including mini hot dogs, Chicago style, and cordon bleus).

Diners may dress as formally as they like, and there is a Sexy Witches Contest.

“It’s a lot more important how you feel with what you have on,” Brown said, reiterating that the event is an “evening of pleasure” away from the everyday.

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