Brazie wants to be best in the business

“When people come into my establishment, it is my responsibility to enhance their life.”

John Brazie started his career in food service in high school, and hasn’t ever steered away from the industry.

After working as the executive chef at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center, a luxury hotel in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston for almost 20 years, Brazie relocated to Colorado Springs in August for his love of the mountains. His wife plans to move here this month.

On Aug. 17, Brazie started as the new executive chef of The Steakhouse at The Club at Flying Horse, one of Colorado Springs’ luxury resorts. In addition to working at The Woodlands Resort and Robard’s Steakhouse, one of the top-rated steakhouse restaurants in The Woodlands, Brazie also became a certified executive chef through the American Culinary Federation this year.

As the new executive chef at Flying Horse, Brazie said he hopes to create a culture and environment that will allow his employees to succeed in the food business.

Brazie spoke with the Business Journal about enhancing lives in Colorado Springs.

How did you get into the food industry?

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The neat thing is, it’s all I’ve ever done. Literally. There’s not much else I know how to do. I started working in kitchens at 15 years old — I worked my way up from washing dishes. I was a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America a long time ago. My dad [also] liked to cook. … You’re a kid coming out of high school and your parents are going, ‘You want to go to college?’ I said, ‘Well I’d like to go to cooking school.’ My mom was stunned — thought it was the weirdest thing in the world. But they sent me, and it stuck. … I have been so incredibly fortunate, where I’ve worked, who I’ve worked with, to be able to land in lucky spots. I still love coming to work.

Can you describe your role as executive chef? 

I see my job as a chef, [but] any chef’s job, anybody’s job, is so much more than the guy who makes the food. I see my job as putting a smile on your face. I see my job as creating a memory. I see my job as having a dish-washer who couldn’t graduate from high school but is making his way. I see my job as helping somebody put shoes on their kid. I see so much more than going, ‘Yeah I can cook, I can run a business, I can make numbers.’ That’s the easy part of my job. When people come into my establishment, it is my responsibility to enhance their life.

What are your plans as the new executive chef?

I fully expect The Steakhouse at Flying Horse to be considered one of the, or the best restaurant in Colorado Springs. I certainly want that for my own gain and my own personal drive, but I think I want it more because I believe that it deserves to be. I believe it’s a beautiful facility and I think we have a fantastic membership. I probably have 20 employees in there in white coats. At this point in my career, I want them to be able to work at the finest restaurant in Colorado Springs.

What have you noticed about the food industry in Colorado Springs?

Being on the north side of Colorado Springs puts you in a new, common environment. On the north side [we’re lacking] individuality. Some of that has to do with proximity and personal space when you start building suburbs or when you expand — things start getting farther apart, things start getting master-planned and designed and we have shopping centers and strip malls and then we lose the [individuality]. … I look forward to learning more about what the [food] culture is [in Colorado Springs]. I haven’t had a chance to meet or go to any of the other chefs’ restaurants in the city.

How is Flying Horse affected by growth in north Colorado Springs?

I think for Flying Horse itself it’s a win-win-win. It’s a master-planned community. One of the neat things I think of Flying Horse — it’s very similar to where I came from — Woodlands. … There are families, there are kids, there are people struggling to get by, there are people living in mansions. With that mix, a thriving culture, a society that works — it’s not relegated to one group. Diversity is a good thing.


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