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Lon Symensma

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Name  Lon Symensma

Lon Symensma celebritychefnetworkcomwpcontentuploads20111
Education  The Culinary Institute of America

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Lon Symensma (born March 22, 1977) is an American chef residing in Denver, Colorado. He is the executive chef/owner of Denver’s ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro.


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Early life and education

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Symensma was born in Freeport, Illinois and raised in Letts, Iowa.

At the age of 19, Symensma was selected to join Team USA for the 1996 Culinary Olympics in Berlin, Germany where the team won a silver medal. In 1997, the American Culinary Federation honored him with its National Junior Chef of the Year Award. He then enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating with high honors in 1999, he completed a fellowship in the Escoffier Room at the CIA.


Upon the completion of his fellowship Symensma traveled to the South of France where he spent a year dividing his time between two separate Michelin two-star restaurants, Roger Vergé’s Moulin Mougin and Jacques Chibois’ La Bastide Saint Antoine. He departed France to apprentice at restaurants throughout Italy and Spain, including San Sebastián’s famed Arzak.

In 2001, Symensma moved to New York City where he worked at Jean-Georges for two years including a six month stint underneath pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini. In 2003, he dedicated one year to travel throughout China and Southeast Asia under the guidance of Jean-Georges and Gray Kunz. While in Asia, Symensma participated in the opening of Jean-Georges Shanghai and underwent intensive culinary training at both the Royal Garden Hotel in Hong Kong and the five-star Datai resort in Malaysia.

After returning to the US in 2004, Symensma was an opening Sous Chef at Jean-Georges’ Spice Market in Manhattan. Symensma then served as the Chef de Cuisine at Yumcha with Angelo Sosa. In 2005 he worked as the Chef de Cuisine and eventually Executive Chef at Buddakan in New York City. Under his leadership Buddakan was the fifth highest grossing restaurant in the United States and New York City's 19th most popular dining destination according to the Zagat Survey. Symensma moved to Denver, CO in 2010 where he opened ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro in October. In its first year ChoLon was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award "Best New Restaurant" in the nation.

ChoLon has since risen to be ranked 3rd Best Restaurant in Denver by 5280 magazine and Chef Lon has been awarded Best Chef in Denver in 2012 and 2013 by Westword.

Honors and awards

  • 1996- Silver Medalist with Team USA at the 1996 Culinary Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
  • 1997- Awarded the prestigious Junior Chef of the Year Award from the American Culinary Federation.
  • 2007- Executed a dinner at the James Beard House with the Buddakan team.
  • 2009- Delivered the commencement address at the Culinary Institute of America.
  • 2009- Featured in the Fall Edition of Art Culinaire.
  • 2011 - Finalist for Food & Wine People's Choice Southwest Award
  • 2011 - Finalist for James Beard Best New Restaurant -ChoLon
  • 2012 - ChoLon named among the top 10 new Asian Restaurants to open in the U.S. by Details magazine
  • 2012 - ChoLon Ranked 3rd Best Restaurant in Denver by 5280 magazine
  • 2012 - Named Best Chef in Denver, by Denver Westword
  • 2013 - Named Best Chef in Denver, by Denver Westword
  • References

    Lon Symensma Wikipedia

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