Executive ChefPhone: 303-339-3559
Glenmoor's Chef Penelope Wong featured in May 2010's issue of Avid Golfer Click here to download the full article.
Years at Glenmoor: I started as a pantry cook and prep hand on the first day of the Highlander tournament in 1998
Education: Graduated from UNC with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1997
Hometown: Denver native
Heritage: My grandparents on my fatherís side were both born in Hong Kong, China. The remainder of my family (mother, father and extended) are all from Bangkok, Thailand.
Family: Son Tyler, 16 and daughter Stella, 2. Husband Rob Jenks and an extended family of 50+ members, as my father is the middle child of five siblings.
My Culinary Chronicles: My career started at the age of 14, when I was included as a helping hand in the family business. My parents owned a restaurant in northern Denver for 20+ years. Throughout my teen years, I continued to learn all aspects of the food service industry, from front of the house skills to learning a variety of cuisine in the back of the house. As my brother moved on with his artistic talents to become a graphic designer, I continued to experiment in the kitchen, developing my baking skills prior to learning anything savory. My first baking lesson came from my grandfather while I assisted him in making Chinese cookies and treats, followed by lessons from my mother in making American pastries. My father then began teaching me savory Chinese cuisine, while my mother worked with me on traditional Thai cuisine. Meanwhile, at home, I began assisting my grandmother in her kitchen learning country style Chinese cuisine (the scary stuff that Anthony Bourdain would host a show about!) I soon claimed the responsibility of preparing dinner for the family at least 3-4 nights per week. Eventually I was included in the ritualistic kitchen gatherings with the matriarchs of my family for large family dinners and special events. It was during these times when I learned the skills of combining the cultures of my families into different menu items. My childhood memories are nostalgic of food, and lots of it.
Not long after I began my tenure here at Glenmoor, I moved up through the ranks, given the titles of Garde-manger, Pastry Chef, and finally after a 3-year stint as Sous Chef, I had the opportunity of taking over as Executive Chef. I had accepted this position with open arms, welcoming upon myself the bold new challenge of being the youngest as well as being the first female role model to lead the staff into becoming Glenmoor Country Clubís culinary team. The role of Executive Chef has been disciplined and, at times, suicidal (!), but mostly tremendous and rewarding.
Though I pursued an education in studying mental health, the redolence of my upbringing remains in my blood. I engage myself entirely in continuing to create cuisine with elements of my memories. My lifetime goal is to leave my mark on this world, particularly as a culinarian who has left a lasting impression on the palate of food service and hospitality.
What I do in the meantime: Believe it or not, I love entertaining at home with dinner parties; it must be a trait inherited from my mother. We keep our feasts very casual, much of the dining takes place standing in and around the kitchen, munching and grazing off of the next items offered as they come off the stove. Chasing after a 2 year old doesnít leave a lot of down time, but when there is a small opening-Iíll sneak off to catch a matinee by myself and gorge on a bucket of popcorn with peanut M&Mís mixed in and a diet coke.