2021 Denver Food + Wine Festival

Explore The CHEFS, BAKERS + beverage pros

Cliff Blauvelt

Born in Maine and raised in Houston, Texas, Cliff Blauvelt moved to Denver at the age of 15 and has called the city home ever since. As a psychology undergrad at Metropolitan State University, Cliff worked at a variety of local restaurants–including Taste of Philly, Denver Ted’s, and Benny Blanco’s—where he discovered a passion for cooking and entertaining. In 2006, looking to expand his horizons, Cliff took a role at Watercourse Foods, one of the city’s most famous vegetarian and vegan restaurants. From there, he landed at Steuben’s in Uptown, eventually earning the title of Executive Chef and overseeing the opening of a second location in Arvada. After ten years with Steuben’s, Cliff was offered an unusual opportunity to open a restaurant in Aruba and spent several seasons consulting with other businesses on the island. In 2018, he returned to Denver as the Culinary Director for Tap & Burger Concepts, a position he held until the opening of Bodega in 2022.

After more than two decades as a chef, leader, and mentor, Cliff has realized that the relationships he’s formed in the kitchen are the deeper motivation behind his work. Throughout his career, he’s prioritized opportunities to give back and participate in community events throughout greater Denver, whether that’s headlining EatDenver’s Harvest Week celebrations, supporting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, or competing in the city’s Burger Battle, Chicken Fight, and Wings & Whiskey fundraising festivals. He has also invested in becoming a Certified Peer Support Specialist for mental health and substance abuse recovery, two issues that disproportionately impact chefs and restaurant workers. Building on the sum of these experiences, Cliff looks forward to building a different kind of hospitality environment at Bodega—one that aligns business priorities with policies that meaningfully support and empower each member of his team.