Bio: Shawn Lawrence is the eclectic executive chef at the 39 Degrees Lounge inside Kimpton's Sky Hotel in Aspen, Colo. With the debut of his summer 2011 seasonal menu, Lawrence has, once again, expanded 39 Degrees' traditional small plate fare with his own distinctive signature dishes using fresh, local ingredients. A taste of summer at 39 Degrees includes a Strawberry and Spinach Salad, Salmon Coconut Curry, Mongolian BBQ Grilled Lamb Skewers and for those who prefer to live it up early, Breakfast Tacos.
Lawrence discovered his love for cooking early on while watching is grandmother cook in her Midwest Grand Rapids, MI kitchen. At the age of 12, he took on his love for creating Midwestern comfort foods using the freshest ingredients from his family's farm. Lawrence then studied at Napa's Culinary Institute in St. Helena, Calif. At that time, he became infatuated with the challenge of running a restaurant kitchen along with creating unique and contemporary dishes using ingredients from all over the world. His love for the mountains and the outdoors took him to Colorado where he began working in various mountain-town eateries.
From 1994-1998, Lawrence worked as a sous chef and line cook at the world-renowned historic Redstone Inn in Redstone, Colo. During his time there, he gained extensive experience in creating dishes with Colorado wild game, steaks, seafood and vegetarian specialties. Following his time in Redstone, Lawrence moved north to Carbondale, Colo., to take on a new role as sous chef for Restaurant Six89. Under the direction of Six89's Executive Chef and Owner, Mark Fischer, Lawrence learned how to provide an contemporary alternative to "fine dining" in Colorado. The continuously evolving global menu challenged Lawrence to step outside of his comfort zone to familiarize and experiment with new techniques and flavors.
After four years in Carbondale, Lawrence moved to one of the world's most prestigious mountain towns with some of the best eateries in the country — Aspen, Colorado. Quickly snatched up by world-renowned Chef/Owner Barclay Dodge, Lawrence began what would be the most didactic experience of his career at Restaurant Mogador in downtown Aspen. Serving modern Mediterranean cuisine with influences of Spain, Morocco and France, Lawrence learned to create distinctive flavors that are uncommon and completely unique for Aspen. Called "The Salvador Dali of Food", by The New York Times¸ it was here that Lawrence further refined his ability to recognize the freshest and most flavorful meats, produce and spices.
Lawrence joined 39 Degrees Lounge at Kimpton's Sky Hotel in 2005 as the executive chef. Through his experience working in many different kitchens with a variety of influences, Chef has taken his diverse knowledge of different cultural cuisines and added his own personal touches to present creative renderings of international fare at 39 Degrees Lounge.
Lawrence lives in Aspen, Colo. with his wife Lisa who is a pastry chef. While he is not creating new flavors and creations in the kitchen, you can find him on the mountain snowboarding, biking, hiking, fishing or hunting.