July 11, 2011

By Kirsten Larsen

Many of our students from Escoffier are passionate entrepreneurs who go on to start their own businesses. One of those students is Phil Willoz, a graduate of Boulder’s Culinary Arts Program. As the proud owner and chef of Taco*Bar, Phil is serving Denver some of the tastiest and most eclectic street food around.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Phil a bit about his culinary adventures and dreams. Below is a bit of our interview

Me: Tell us how you became inspired to start the Taco*Bar.

Phil: I used to live in Austin and I saw all of this amazing food that was coming out of a simple trailer. And I thought, “I need to bring this to Denver.”

Me: Did you move out to Colorado with this intention then?

Phil: Yes. I have been in the restaurant business since I was 15 years old. I had this desire to have a restaurant for forever and ever. I came out here to the culinary school with the intention of having a mobile truck.

Me: Tell us about the food we can find at Taco*Bar.

Phil: My concept is the edible plate. I am really into hand-to-mouth kind of food; more primal food. I like to use my hands. The great thing about the taco is that it doesn’t have to be traditionally Mexican. One of my tacos is duck confit with goat cheese crema and mango pico de gallo. We finish it off with a habanero mango glaze and crispy duck skin. That is a French style of cooking but in a taco!! I do some traditional Mexican as well, and I do some BBQ shrimp tacos, which are sweet and spicy.

Me: Do you feel that Escoffier helped prepare you for this culinary business venture?

Phil: I think that it gave me the cornerstone that I needed to pursue what I am doing. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of cooking. The experience was amazing. It was very valuable to me. I learned the basics of cooking and all kinds of techniques that I had never known before. The highlight was definitely the farm to table internship excursions.

You can find Taco*Bar at The Great Divide Brewing Company every Sunday from 2-6 and many Saturdays from 9-1 at the Highlands Farmers Market. For more information about Taco*Bar and exquisite food, go to https://www.taco-bar.com/

**Phil Wiloz graduated from Culinary School of the Rockies now Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.**