A Chef For All Seasons
Third generation restaurateur Sheamus Feeley, Vice President and Culinary Director for TILL, Farm-Inspired Open Kitchen & Mercantile
A third generation restaurateur from Arkansas, Sheamus Feeley, Vice President and Culinary Director for TILL, Farm-Inspired Open Kitchen & Mercantile, learned how to hold a knife like a professional chef at the age of ten.
His fondest memory growing up on his grandparent’s farm was topping and tailing Romano beans on their front porch. After several hours, his little fingers were stained green from the chlorophyll. “I loved the sweet smell and was never fast to wash it off,” he says.
His enjoyment of those broad, green beans, picked fresh from the soil, left an indelible impression.
But it wasn’t until he visited the colorful markets in Peru, where he was captivated by the hanging chickens and vibrant produce at the peak of their freshness, that he knew he wanted to be a chef.
His journey has taken him from dishwasher to line cook to senior VP of a publicly traded company. Highlights included working for Wolfgang Puck, whom he describes as engaged and charismatic, and serving as executive chef and partner at Farmstead, an outstanding farm-to-table restaurant in Napa.
In fact, it was Stephen Barber, the current executive chef at Farmstead, who recommended Feeley to the owners of TILL, and their subsequent collaboration has been magical.
“What most attracted me to TILL,” Feeley says, “was the ability to showcase great local producers, ranchers and farmers and to provide new dining options to our neighbors in the north part of Colorado Springs.”
“I’m proud to offer what we do,” he says, “not only because it’s the best, like pigs from Adrienne and Dan at Corner Post Meats and salmon from Lacie Richardson at Wild Woman Fish Company, but because they are as good as it gets.”
When we develop menus,” he says, “we always think about it from our guests’ perspectives. We cook good, simple, straightforward food in a way that’s approachable and a bit unexpected,” like their Pecan Smoked Beef Short Ribs, with mustard barbeque, peanut coleslaw, and crispy potatoes.
Instead of beginning with a recipe, Feeley prefers buying fresh ingredients at farmers markets then crafting his menu accordingly.
But given Colorado’s 26 week growing season, that’s unrealistic to do year round. So his philosophy is to “cast a wider net, as long as you are serving products you believe in, and you are sourcing thoughtfully and responsibly.”
And Feeley prides himself on their pizzas. “We use a naturally fermented sourdough,” he says.
Feeley’s pizza version of Pasta Carbonara is a big hit. Secret ingredients include fontina cheese, pancetta, a soft cooked egg and onion blossoms.
Feeley is thrilled with the success of the restaurant, and his hope is that guests embrace the market side of TILL. In addition to cured meats, cheeses entrées, gelatos and handcrafted pastries–enough to throw an amazing party–their sushi bar is one of their hidden gems.
Enjoy freshly-made poke bowls, nigiri and sushi rolls made fresh every day, knowing that the fish comes from Kanaloa, a certified, sustainable seafood company in Santa Barbara. Their accountability standards are so high, you can even find out what boat the fish was on and the captain’s name.
And, TILL has its very own beehive. Six thousand bees come and go as they please through a conduit leading out of the building. Now you can buy all Colorado honey products.
Feeley also believes in the importance of developing a strong team. “You need to encourage each other,” he says, “put your heart and soul into everything you do, and give your guests a warm smile and welcome.”
It’s this genuine warmth and desire to engage with customers that makes Feeley so special. “Talking to the guests,” he says with a smile, “that’s the best part!”
What excites him most is being back in Colorado for the third time since he left Arkansas.
“It’s my favorite place to live in the country,” he says. “I’d love to be able to make my mark in Colorado and have something my boys can look at and say, “Yeah, my dad built that.”
The Till, recently cited by a local print publication as Best New Restaurant in Colorado Springs, as well as #1 overall restaurant, has a new executive chef at the helm, the talented Gerry Castro.
Gerry’s path to the nation’s best kitchens began while attending classes at the famed Culinary Institute of America in Napa, where he quickly found a home and eventually helped manage the school's Teaching Kitchen.
Upon departure from the CIA, Chef Gerry's journey took him from chef de cuisine at the famed Farmstead Restaurant to chef de cuisine at Murray Circle, the Michelin Star restaurant at Cavalla Point Lodge in Sausalito, California.
Today, Chef Gerry brings his outstanding culinary expertise to TILL Kitchen, where, as executive chef, he proudly leads a talented team to create unforgettable meals.
"He is truly a star," says Chef Sheamus Feeley, "without a doubt, the lifeblood of our kitchen."
If you go:
TILL Restaurant and Mercantile, 9633 Prominent Point, , Colorado Springs, CO 80924, (719) 282-8004