Kelly Liken was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Inspired by her mother who was a cook, Kelly developed her love for cooking in high school. At 18, she landed a job preparing salads at an upscale seafood restaurant.
After studying physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder, a short detour in her quest for a culinary career, Kelly enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where she graduated first in her class in 2002. She interned at the renowned Inn at Little Washington, outside of Washington, D.C., where Chef Patrick O’Connell introduced her to the techniques of refined American cuisine. After graduation, Kelly headed west to work at Splendido at the Château in Beaver Creek, Colorado. During her year-and-a-half tenure at the restaurant Kelly met her future husband, Rick Colomitz, who was working as front of house.
After receiving job offers from celebrated restaurants such as Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and New York City’s Restaurant Daniel Kelly decided to open her own restaurant at the age of just 27. In 2004, she took over a dilapidated Chinese eatery at the entrance to Vail Village and transformed it into an eponymously titled restaurant, Restaurant Kelly Liken. Later that year, she and Rick Colomitz were married. Rick acts as both Kelly’s business partner and the Wine Director at Restaurant Kelly Liken.
Kelly is passionate about her adopted home state. Her menu reflects the bounty of Colorado and a reverence for the seasons, using ingredients such as Bison, Elk, wild porcini mushrooms grown on the local hillsides, turnips and potatoes grown at 8,300 feet above sea level.
Kelly’s culinary awards include being nominated for James Beard’s Best Chef Southwest in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
- James Beard Best Chef Southwest nominee, 2009, 2010, 2011