Chef Ludo Lefebvre is a big deal. So is Chez Magee.
It’s been just over a year since the Thompson Hotel’s downtown grand hall of classic French cuisine opened. It’s been a good year for Chez Magee. Already excellent food made even better. Luxury never faded.
Lefebvre is typically onsite for a week a month, during which he stays at the hotel to stabilize the overall vision of the restaurant. But the day-to-day operations are handled by Chef de Cuisine Jeff Schwing. So while it may be Lefebvre that fills the menu with classics like escargot and duck confit and newer dishes like chilaquiles, it’s Schwing that maintains consistent execution.
Read: Chez Maggy Anchors Thompson Denver Chef Lefebvre’s Buttery French Cuisine
“Jeff sees me as a young cook,” said Lefebvre. Originally from Colorado, Schwing was born in Denver and raised primarily in Evergreen. He has worked in some of Denver’s most respected kitchens including Acorn, Death and Co, Grown + Gather and Brasserie Brixton. He initially applied to Chez Maggy as a chef, but Lefebvre recognized his leadership skills from the jump. He opened the restaurant at its current location and has played a key role in the success of the place.
“My role at this point is not creativity. My role is to use my skills to execute his (Lefebvre’s) vision,” Schwing said. “He trusts me to make decisions because he knows my decisions will be what he wants.” Schwing runs a fairly classic brigade system, Grow + Gather We hold vendors in high esteem while maintaining many connections from the era. “If you don’t have good relationships with your vendors, you’re not a good chef. Period,” he continued.
With Lefebvre’s recipes and Schwing’s commitment to excellent sourcing, it’s no surprise that Chez Maggy’s cuisine is exquisite.I have BBQ Eggplant ($24) Served with Thai green curry, peanut vinaigrette, herb salad and fried shallots. Colorado Lamb Chops ($46) Set atop grilled canola, dandelion puree and mustard frills.of Foie Gras Tartine ($32) Cooking with Blackberry Port Gastric is the definitive decadence masterclass and a must-visit.Lots of staples but don’t expect Burger a la française ($28) or Omelette Petite Trois ($24) You can go anywhere. The menu is adjusted to what is available and seasonal.
There’s a good reason Lefebvre remains at the center of constant review. The beauty of Chez Maggy is that it doesn’t run on star power alone. Instead, the real brilliance of this restaurant comes from the ease with which the two chefs share the spotlight and Lefebvre’s willingness to trust and nurture Chevin’s obvious talent. “I love mentoring. I love teaching,” Lefebvre said. “The first job as a chef is cooking, the rest is teaching.”
Lefebvre proves that you can cook anywhere. Chez Maggy could only exist here.
Chez Magee is located in the Thompson Hotel at 1616 Market Street in Denver. Open Monday through Thursday 7 AM to 9 PM, Friday 7 AM to 10 PM, Saturday 8 AM to 10 PM, and Sunday 8 AM to 9 PM.