Gayor Geller (December 2011) had been trained in just about everything except the culinary arts before attending Cook Street’s fifteen-week 180° program. With a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, two Masters degrees in International Management and Real Estate Construction Management and a Jurus Doctorate, Gayor’s foray into the food and beverage universe might strike some as out of place. But his entrepreneurial spirit and endless pursuit of knowledge is what landed him at Cook Street.
Today, he’s the proud owner of Maddie’s Neighborhood Restaurant, named for his daughter, in the Harvard Gulch neighborhood. Having worked with the family real estate business for several years, Gayor and his family decided it would best benefit the community to redevelop both properties into restaurants. “I could have hired a consultant to advise me on the kitchens and food operations, but I decided I wanted to learn it for myself,” Gayor Geller with his ACF Apprentice says Gayor. “ Cook Street
was the right fit for me because it gave me what I needed in a short amount of time.”
Maddie’s menu features simple, delicious breakfast food and a few lunch items. “I don’t want to cook for kings,” Gayor says. “I want to cook for the everyday person and make them feel like they’re eating like a king.” And Gayor’s training at Cook Street shines in the food he serves — from the classic Hollandaise to the à la minute poached eggs.
Lori Midson’s review in Westword confirms that Gayor’s philosophy is working: “I had the opportunity to sample a slew of dishes at Maddie's last week, and if what I ate is any indication of what the 'hood can expect when Maddie's opens, it'll be a big hit.”
Midson was right. Since opening in January, the tiny restaurant has become a fixture and now serves a few hundred people a week. In addition, Maddie’s supplies catering services for office parties, weddings and private parties.
Gayor enlisted some of his Cook Street classmates to help in the kitchen, and alumnus David Bossert’s cake pops and cinnamon rolls have gained their own following. Carol Maybach of 5280 Magazine is one fan: “It was love at first bite when I gave in to the irresistible cinnamon sticky buns at the recently opened Maddie’s Neighborhood Restaurant on South Downing... Extra care seems to go into every bite at Gayor Geller’s cheery breakfast and lunchtime spot.”
What’s next? Expansion. The former gas station and garage near
Maddie’s will be converted into a much bigger restaurant in 2014, with a Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern menu and full bar. The space will have a
3,000 square foot patio for relaxed dining and live music.
“Opening a restaurant, even the size of Maddie’s is a lot of work… It’s a lot of work.” No one, it seems, may be better equipped or more capable to handle it than Gayor Geller.