Chef Troy Guard
TAG, Guard and Grace - Denver, CO
Raised in both Hawaii and San Diego, Troy Guard spent much of his youth in either the ocean or the kitchen. His 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 multicultural 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.
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.
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.
Since the opening of TAG, Guard has created five more concepts, each with the same sense of culinary passion expressed in different ways. The two-story Los Chingones is Guard’s take on “badass” Mexican – sassy, spicy, sometimes irreverent, always an adventure. Guard opened a second location of Los Chingones in the Denver Tech Center in 2015, and is planning to open a third outpost in Stapleton in the summer of 2016.
Sugarmill is an intimate RiNO (Denver’s River North) gathering place, serving both sweet and savory sensations.
Then there is Chef Guard’s bubu, a comforting fast-casual concept, where LoDo urbanites are free to choose from raw or freshly cooked ingredients to make their own salads or bowls, nestled over quivering beds of steamy rice or noodles. A second bubu location opened in Lowry in February 2015.
TAG Burger Bar, harbored in Congress Park, bustles with neighborly friends and families clamoring for Guard’s unusually imaginative, hand crafted burgers and hand crafted local beers while being complemented by adult shakes. A second location of TAG Burger Bar is set to open in January 2016 in Denver’s Highland neighborhood.
Guard’s most ambitious restaurant, opened in early 2014, is Guard and Grace, named after the chef’s daughter. A modern American steakhouse in the heart of Denver’s financial district, Guard and Grace features everything from prime, certified Angus and local grass-fed cuts of beef to fresh seafood, charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and vegetarian selections. The 9,000 square foot space boasts private rooms and a walk-in, floor-to-high-ceiling glassed wine cellar.