Since joining The Squeaky Bean in August 2013, Executive Chef Theo Adley has flourished and brought to the table his philosophy that revolves around wholesomeness and allowing seasonal ingredients to shine on the plate. “When developing a dish, I always ask myself if I would feed this to my daughters,”Adley says. “Have the animals been humanely raised, and is the produce free of chemicals and treatments? I also like to create dishes that evoke some faint nostalgia, or whimsical feeling, so guests feel relaxed and at home when they’re sharing a meal.”
For Adley, the farm-to-table culinary approach has been ingrained since childhood. His family frequently made the long trek from their home in New Jersey to their farm in Meaford, Ontario, where they grew wheat, corn, and vegetables, and his mother prepared meals usingproducefrom their backyard garden. Now, Adley only has to travel a few miles from The Squeaky Bean’s Lower Downtown location to pick fresh herbs from the restaurant’s six large beds in the Denver Highlands neighborhood. The rotating selection of fresh produce from their growing Bean Acres farm operation—a co-op effort within the sustainable Everitt Farms in nearby Lakewood, CO—constantly sparks his creativity and allows him to marry his nourishing ethos and playful culinary style with the restaurant’s novel take on farm cuisine.
Prior to The Squeaky Bean, Adley opened The Pinyon in Boulder, which focused on Rocky Mountain cuisine, and was the first restaurant he owned. Out of a desire to grow as a chef in a bigger city, he sold The Pinyon and began hosting a series of Chinese street food pop-ups with hand-pulled noodles and char siu pork in bars and homes around Denver.
Adley graduated from the Culinary School of the Rockies and previously worked under Chef Ryan Hardy at The Little Nell in Aspen, where he became enamored with Italian cuisine, its focus on high-quality, seasonal ingredients, and the culinary nuances amongItaly’s various regions. He learned how to make cheese, cure meat, and oversaw the pasta station.Adley further honed his style of cooking American food in an Italian context, and vice versa, at celebrated Boulder restaurants Frasca Food and Wine, Flagstaff House, and Radda Trattoria.
In his current role, Adley is continuously inspired by both guests and his inventive culinary team. “It’s a simple yet hard-earned goal for chefs to get to a point where they know they are cooking for themselves and their guests at the same time,” he notes.“We can demand great technique of ourselves, motivating each other to reach new heights, and our guests are ultimately stimulated by that and rewarded with a memorable dining experience.”
When not at the restaurant, Adley enjoys painting, writing, and spending time with his wife, Jaclyn, and their two daughters, Althea and Luca.