We had the good fortune of connecting with Erasmo Casiano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erasmo, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Talent. Not mine necessarily, but the talent of the team that is able to adapt and grow to the ever changing situations that we currently live in. The talent of the individuals and teams that came together to design the space, design cocktails, curate the wine list, create the menus for cooking classes, designing the websites, coming up with work flow, etc…We would not exist without the talents and hospitality of the people that helped Create become what it is. Also a factor that should not be ignored is the overwhelming support of our families, close friends, and guests. Without them, we would not be where we are today. The community that we’ve established ourselves in has grown and become a sort of family and we are forever grateful for them..
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
What sets us apart from others is our people. Many of our guests have told us we have something special here, and we believe that is because of our small and unique group. Michelle, our Event Coordinator, was the first employee we hired. She brought a PowerPoint presentation to her job interview, and spoke about how “we” would accomplish things as a team from the very beginning. She has stuck with us through a shut down, and is so organized and warm toward our guests. Diego Coconati and I have a combined over 30 years of experience in the industry, and both specialize in different cuisines. Diego is my business Yin to my Yang; we complement each other while keeping hospitality as our main focus and goal. This is a relationship-oriented business, and without the help of our guests and regulars we would not have gotten where we are today. We as a team are special, and our guests are special. In addition, we set ourselves apart with small, intimate class sizes, a warm space to enjoy at any time, complemented with fantastic music, and an approachable, delicious and fun wine and cocktail menu at our bar.
I’d say I am most proud of just being here, and getting to this point. I’m very excited about our unique class offerings (some of which are influenced by my travel to Thailand), as well as our paired dinners. I got here today by being persistent and resilient, by reading and researching, and by reaching out to all of my resources and using those relationships with people I have built over the years. Opening a business has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. We had challenges getting funding, setbacks with construction, more challenges with funding because of the construction, etc… There were multiple times when I thought it just wasn’t meant to be. We, as a team, overcame those challenges by being persistent and not giving up. It was truly a challenge to get open, to make it through the shut down, and now, we’re figuring out how to maneuver through this pandemic. In addition to all of this, I have had 4 back surgeries (a whole ‘nother story to tell). I have learned to keep pushing and keep fighting for your goals and dreams. I have been humbled by the people who have come together and supported us.
There’s a statement that one of my wife’s closest friends said to me a couple of months before we officially opened our doors and we were stuck in limbo. Kelli Hearn said, “Passion, dreams, goals. They are worth it and will be realized.” Words to live by.
Finally, our loyal guests, always stopping by to say hello, enjoy a cocktail or two, enjoy a cooking class and everything in between. We thank you!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
From the airport, my first stop would be the Stanley Marketplace . We’d stop at Elita Specialty Market to say hi to Chef Rocky (shout out) to pick up some marinated chicken or steaks, for grilling in the mountains later in the trip. I’d go to Mondo Market to say hi to Nicolas, Michelle, Connor, Ian, and the team (shout out) to pick up a delicious cheese & charcuterie board (for said mountain trip), stop by Annette, say hi to Chef Caroline Glover (shout out) and the team for an always fantastic dinner. While in Aurora we’d be sure to stop by Bua for some delicious Thai and Seoul BBQ for some Korean BBQ. We’d then spend the next couple of days drinking and dining around the city. Cooper Lounge to say hi to Tony Meza (shout out) for pre-dinner cocktails before enjoying a meal at Tavernetta, maybe even stop by Cru Wine Bar to say hi to Alex Moon (shout out) for a wine flight (or 3). I’d then take them to the mountains to rent a cabin in Breckenridge to enjoy some nice hikes, cook outs, and sights and head into the town to Modis for dinner and The Blue Stag for some nice stiff cocktails.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
-Diego Coconati is my business partner and chef. He’s had my back since the beginning and strives to make Create the best place to visit whether it be for a pre-dinner cocktail or one of our many cooking classes. -Michelle Nguyen our Event Coordinator is our 1st original hire at Create and she has been with us through thick & thin; always ready for us to say “go”. She’s a delight to work with and we’re so happy that she continues to be part of our team. -Lori & Michael Pratt helped us get off the ground with interior decorating and with our original website. Michael helped build the blueprint for the site that we have now. The look and feel of the space is all thanks to Lori. We get so many compliments on our ambience and we have her to thank directly. -The team at The Marketing Science helped get our new site and point of sale up and running as well as focused online marketing. Our growth and exposure were exponential and we cannot thank Jason & Aem Pierce enough. -Colorado Enterprise Fund helped us get the funding we needed back when all we were hearing was “No”. We thank them for believing in our concept and in us. -Unnamed lenders, we know you and we thank you for trusting us and seeing our vision. -Blair Wald, Kris Kovalik and the team at Hammers Construction who swiftly came to the rescue to finish construction. -My wife, MacKenzie. Create Cooking School was originally her idea and she told me to go for it when the concept started to flesh out. She kept me focused when things seemed to take a turn. She’s always looking at the silver lining. She is my rock. I love you, MacKenzie. -Our loyal guests, always stopping by to say hello, enjoy a cocktail or two, enjoy a cooking class and everything in between. We thank you!
Linkedin: Erasmo Casiano
Yelp: Create Cooking School
Youtube: Create Cooking School
From the Hip Photo