— About Us —
Chef Samir Mohammad brings his inspired ideas, world-influenced palette, passionate energy and 20 years of restaurant experience to Bettola Bistro.
Chef Samir's four years in the Coast Guard afforded him the opportunity to attend Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, followed by multiple culinary awards on his resident ship, and ultimately a degree in Dietary Nutrition from CIA Greystone in Napa, CA. Yet even with his prestigious training, he credits his return to Taos, NM and work with his uncle at the famed Joseph’s Table as his most valuable piece of education.
Shortly after moving to Denver, Chef Samir became the Executive Chef at Pesce Fresco. Here, he was able to help build the business, and bring a loyal following with him to The Village Cork. With just two butane burners and a convection oven, Samir regularly turned out French-countryside inspired dishes that would win the hearts and acclaim of customers and food critics alike. It was during his time at The Village Cork that he was awarded Denver Westword 2012 Best Rising Chef, as well as a place in The Denver Five, which brought him to both the Aspen Food and Wine festival and ultimately a coveted opportunity to cook in the James Beard Kitchen in New York City. In the summer of 2014, Samir leapt at the opportunity to travel the world and work as a consultant for Pegasus Lodges, a company that owns surf resorts in Samoa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Maldives and Indonesia. This allowed Samir to travel throughout the South Pacific and South Asia, taking his knowledge and inspiration to a whole new level. Upon returning to Denver in 2015, Samir was the Executive Chef at the History Colorado Museum.
Chef Samir is thrilled to have landed at Bettola Bistro, an intimate, spirited and passionately hospitable Italian restaurant where, with just 40 seats and a kitchen that’s just Chef and a dishwasher, he has complete control over the food and the opportunity to really take advantage of the produce at the farmers’ markets and in his home garden. Samir’s love for local, seasonal and organic ingredients truly sets his dishes apart. He relishes putting his own rustic twist on the classics, using farm-fresh ingredients as much as possible, as well as curing his own meats, making his own cheeses, and baking bread daily. He enjoys educating others about food and loves the opportunity to bring people together while showcasing his knowledge.
Samir's fiance, Rachel Firestone, has a strong passion for food and beverage, and has always delighted in being able to create memorable experiences for others. With a background in Arts Administration, Customer Service, and Management, she brings a diverse set of skills to Bettola Bistro. With a close attention to detail and keen social understanding, Rachel ensures that guests’ experiences are exactly what they are seeking - be it engaging and familiar, intimate and private, or educational and inspiring.
The couple is elated to share their passion for delicious food & drink, quality ingredients and memorable experiences with the Aurora/Denver community.