CHEF TROY GUARD
1441 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80202
“Food is the connection that lets me express who I am. And we always do the best what we love the most!”
Raised in both Hawaii and San Diego, TROY GUARD spent much of his youth in either the ocean or the kitchen. “I was a fish,” he says, “and when I wasn’t in the water, I was grilling or barbecuing—mostly with my Dad, who cooked kalua pigs at luaus.”
Chef Troy Guard's career started in college at the famed La Costa Resort in San Diego. At the age of 21, Guard began his tutelage under fusion legend Roy Yamaguchi in Hawaii. During their eight-year journey together, Chef Guard developed a distinct multi-cultural style that would lead him to executive chef positions all over the world; from acclaimed New York hotspot Tao and Doc Cheng’s in Singapore, to Richard Sandoval’s award-winning Latin-Asian fusion restaurant Zengo.
“Roy taught me so much,” Troy says of the experience. “I learned how to work with fresh fish like Hamachi and Hawaiian Pink Snapper (opakapaka), and Pacific Rim ingredients like soy, cilantro, ginger, and yuzu—ingredients I've grown to love. And with guest chefs stopping by—Nobu, Bradley Ogden, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Douglas Rodriguez—I learned new things all the time." Troy joined Yamaguchi for his next culinary adventure, the launch of Roy’s New China Max in Hong Kong. By age 25, he was responsible for several Roy’s outposts throughout Asia. Troy spent eight years working closely with Yamaguchi before taking the coveted post of Executive Chef at New York City hotspot Tao. Leading a high-volume operation with a large kitchen staff prepared him for his next calling at The Raffles Hotel in Singapore—where, as Chef de Cuisine at the world-renowned Doc Cheng's restaurant, he developed his own unique Pacific Rim style. It was at Doc Cheng’s that Troy met Richard Sandoval, the visionary behind award-winning “Modern Mexican” concept restaurants across the U.S. Together, Guard and Sandoval hatched the idea of creating Denver’s first Latin-Asian fusion restaurant, Zengo, in the city’s emerging Riverfront area. A new son to Denver is born…
After life at Zengo, Troy led several other restaurants to success- including nine75 and Ocean. Still, the calling of owning his own restaurant beckoned, and 2 years later, TAG became that reality. Chef Guard opened TAG on Larimer Square in the bustling LoDo District of downtown Denver. A culmination of a life-long dream, TAG embodies Guard’s unique vision of Continental Social Food, a combination of his Hawaiian roots, his Pan-Asian expertise and fresh, local Colorado ingredients. “America is so diverse and our lives have become built around what we eat and who we are eating with,” explains Guard of the restaurant’s concept. “I want TAG to be a place where people can come to eat, to have fun, to share and learn.” Indeed it is- TAG has been repeatedly voted in Denver’s Top 25 as well as named “Best Seafood Restaurant”.
Since the opening of TAG, Chef Guard has continued to pursue excellence. In the spring of 2011, Guard and his team opened a second restaurant, TAG RAW BAR, a concept the chef describes as the manipulation of the freshest seasonal ingredients. RAW highlights innovative, creative dishes and sushi including Denver’s first kangaroo appearance! Since opening, RAW has also been named in Denver’s top restaurants.
Troy is continuously growing his culinary empire in Denver, one bite at a time! Late November 2013, he opened Los Chingones- his take on "badass" Mexican as well as Sugarmill- a dessert lounge killing cravings one day at a time while satisfying savory desires morning to night. By the time the Broncos catch the winning touchdown, Chef Guard will be opening his newest venture: Guard & Grace. A 9000 square foot modern American steakhouse, that pays homage to his beautiful daughter, in the heart of Denver’s financial district.