A new Blú

Innovating the future of Allen’s cuisine


Khushboo Amarnani

Blú students serve barbecue to staff members.

Khushboo Amarnani, Staff writer

As I walk into the Blú kitchen, the sight of students working their posts surround me. Some clean, while others observe. The kitchen is preparing for Blú’s opening. 

“We’re going to be open four days a week,” Denman said. “Our goal is  to be open so kids could come get a coffee or a pastry[during privilege periods],”.

Denman is a newcomer to Allen and has a dual degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas, Texas, and Paris, France, and has been in the restaurant industry since he was 15 years old. After going to the University of Oklahoma for one year, he dropped out and enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu. 

“I’ve done everything from busboy to an executive chef,” Denman said. “So I’ve done it all.” 

With Denman’s experience, he plans to revamp Blú this year. This includes changes in the menu and restaurant hours. Since its opening in 2011, Blú has had the exact same or similar menu every year. Denman plans to change that by incorporating a Latin American menu with many new dishes, along with having specials every three weeks. 

“We’re gonna make a burger and it’s gonna be a phenomenal burger,” said Denman. 

Denman plans to take a dish and “blow it out of the water,” by adding all the small parts of a  common dish up and making it remarkable. 

“We’re trying to make it less higher end food and more classic Americana, but at the same time making that elevated, like a higher production value of that set item,” said Denman.

Blú has a set yearly budget and orders from Ben E. Keith Company and Kroger for all stock in Blú. All food made and served at Blú is from scratch.

“The Russian dressing for the Reuben, we’re making it from scratch,” Denman said. “We’re brazing out our own pork and making our own salsa pico de gallo fresh every day.” 

Denman said he plans on having a special every three weeks with different cuisines. With his experience, he plans on going into different cuisines and respecting the art of food all over the world. 

“We’re going to do Indian and Ethiopian and so many others,” Denman said. “I don’t want to just make the cuisine. I want to show respect, and I do this with every cuisine, show the cuisine the respect it deserves.” 

Students in the culinary program will be learning every aspect of running a restaurant. Not just the cooking, but the cleaning too. 

“My kitchen will not be dirty,” Denman said. “They’ll be different students at different stations and they’ll just rotate through the whole kitchen so they get to do everything.”

Sophomore Samantha Swartzbaugh said she joined so she could “learn how to cook” and is enjoying it so far. 

“We’ve started to make some food which was fun and nerve-racking when we were selling it,” said Swartzbaugh.

Students will be doing all the work, not only learning. So far they’ve learned about cleaning, arranging the kitchen and preparing dishes, and learning how the work in the kitchen is nonstop. They’re learning “how a normal day at a restaurant works” without doing bookwork, but instead, a hands on experience. 

“You know idle hands create problems so we just don’t ever do that,” Denman said. “I took the chairs out.  There’s no chairs anymore, you don’t sit in the kitchen.”

Blú opens for lunch and breakfast on Sept. 4. And as Denman said, the chefs of Blú, will “be ready” for all aspects of food.