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Chef Lenny McNab: Best Cook in the West

by Ben OBrien   |  October 21st, 2013 6

The first time I met Lenny I stumbled into his kitchen, exhausted from a long day of traveling. Steam was rolling from a pan filled with simmering wild meat. Warm light poured out from behind the stainless-steel hood above the stove, shadowing a lineup of ingredients. It was like walking onto the set of a Food Network production, and Lenny was the star.

We locked eyes.

“Hey,” he said. “Hey,” I replied.

Then for about 10 gloriously awkward seconds we just stared at each other (very heterosexually), as I tried to wrap my collective consciousness around what appeared to be Conway Twitty’s culinary incarnate—Lenny was rocking a crimson silk cowboy bandana, a studded golden belt buckle, and a thick-brimmed cowboy hat kicked up to trap the sweat.

“You want a beer?” Lenny eventually offered, as his eyes lit up like silver dollars at the chance to entertain yet another guest.
“Yep,” I said. “How’d you know?”

“You look like that type of guy, and there’s no better way to start the party,” he said.

“Man, we’re going to get along just fine,” I replied, taking a gulp of the fancy Colorado-brewed IPA Lenny cracked open. Before I could take another swig, Lenny whipped out a plate of what would be the best turkey sandwich I’d ever eaten. (Lenny calls it “intuitive service”: knowing what the guests want before they want it.)

The first bite, married with that IPA, was so good I started to get emotional…pretty damn emotional. It was weird, I thought, to have this strong affection for a guy I just met…especially one dressed for a professional line dancing competition. But food, beer, and the smell of wild meat could melt even the manliest man’s heart.

And so it goes for chef and burgeoning country star Leonard McNab. Every single person who walks into his kitchen at Kessler Canyon’s five-star resort and hunting lodge is immediately a friend…and eventually a fan.

Simply put, Lenny is like the bearded lovechild of Martha Stewart and Johnny Cash. There are no casual encounters with this former cowboy cook; to meet him (and to know him) is an event.

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