We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristian DePue and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristian, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve always had a lively imagination – since a child. When young, I was a fan of Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Darkwing Duck, Tail Spin, and later Star Trek. In elementary school, I remember performing impressions of Ace Ventura and Elvis Presley in front of classmates and teachers. In high school, I was obsessed with films – and even made shoddy shorts with my friends. Anytime assigned a creative project, my friends and I would make a video. A few years later, I acted in student films and community theatre. However, I live from a conflicted character – I can be quite analytical. In high school, I excelled in mathematics more than other courses. Personality tests confirm this as well, especially the Enneagram – which seems to be all the rage these days … to the point of annoyance. My personality type is 6w7, meaning my primary type is a six: characterized by anxiety and a need for security and reassurance – a “play it safe” mentality. However, my “wing personality” (secondary type) is the nearly the opposite: spontaneous and adventurous. People get way too much into personality tests—it can be annoying—but I admit this summarizes me accurately. I appreciate assurance and a clear solution – like algebra. However, I also need high stimulation. My visits to Costa Rica capture this: one of my best friends has family living in central Costa Rica – we had a secure “home base” but treated each day as a blank slate to be loosely planned over breakfast, coffee, cigarettes and sunrises amidst the tropical mountains of the Alajuela region. In college, I developed a hobby for writing. At first, it was very dry and “thus-n-so.” I wrote for fun for ten years, but when I moved to Colorado in May 2017, I decided to pursue it professionally. Through the Colorado Springs Rising Professionals, I was connected with a writer who had years of experience in journalism, marketing and public relations: Becca Tonn. She took me under her wing for only a short while but opened many doors. Now, I’m primarily known as a writer. In summary, I have a unique writing style because of my creative, adventurous side combined with an analytical approach.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It has not been a smooth road. However, a lot of the bumps were caused by my own foolish, impulsive stupidity. I try to learn from them – my mistakes hurt me more than most know. With regards to my history here in Colorado, I want others to know that I care about sharing and promoting talented, creative folks in the culinary industry. Also, I want people to know I care about industry workers who are suffering or scared amidst COVID-19 – I hate that it’s made such a deep cut into the culinary world.

Please tell us more about your art. 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?
It hasn’t been a smooth road, but a lot of bumps were caused by my own foolishness. I try to learn from them – my mistakes hurt me more than anyone.

Along with having a unique approach to writing, I enjoy telling stories – and I think there is an authenticity to my published work. I’ve been told multiple times over that I’m “refreshing.” It’s my favorite compliment – and one that I commonly receive. If I can break through the mundane, and bring some authenticity, it means something to me.

With regards to my history here in Colorado, I want others to know that I enjoy sharing and promoting talented, creative persons. I care about food & beverage workers who are suffering or frightened amidst COVID-19 – I hate that it’s made such a deep cut into the culinary world.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For Colorado Springs, it’s hard for me to narrow a list down, but I’ll try my best. Here are some of my favorites: Chiba Bar This is a small venue inspired by Japanese Cyberpunk – think, Blade Runner. It’s been one of my go-to joints for to-go orders during COVID, and I’ve written a couple short stories promoting it: https://springsmag.com/chiba-bar-is-word-colorado-springs/ https://www.thirstcolorado.com/source/2020/2/1/culinary-cyberpunk-kuhl-luh-ner-sahy-ber-puhnk-noun-chiba-bar Shuga’s This is a café housed within an old cottage – it’s one of the pioneers of invigorating culinary creativity in Colorado Springs. This is my Google review: Shuga’s is one my favorite venues. I’ve only lived in The Springs for three years, but—to my knowledge—it’s one of the original locales that provided and progressed artisan food & beverage culture. Like with most places, I tend to drink more than eat. I’ve had some fantastic, unique cocktails – their Beet Down comes to mind. With food, I have a hard time moving outside of their Cuban sandwich, Señor Pozole or Coconut Shrimp Soup – and I don’t like coconut much (it’s THAT good). Cuban Mojo roasted pork shoulder + ham + swiss + mustard + pickle + grilled on french bread. Señor Pozole pork shoulder + chorizo + hominy + cilantro + radish + lime Spicy Brazilian Coconut Shrimp Soup shrimp + coconut milk + jalapeño + peanut + ginger + cilantro + lime + black sesame I nearly always recommend Shuga’s to visitors of Colorado Springs. It’s one of our best. Monse’s Taste of El Salvador This is an exceptional unique restaurant located in Old Colorado City, just West of downtown Colorado Springs. The food is fantastic, undisputed, and unique. Also the owner—Monse Hines—is the most authentic, personable person you’ll meet. https://www.thirstcolorado.com/source/2020/1/9/experience-the-tastes-of-el-salvador Shame & Regret Only half a block away from Chiba Bar, Shame & Regret is one of my favorite watering holes. I love the creative cocktails along with the interior design. It’s a joint where you can relax with unassuming drinks in the midst of a classy, artful interior design – and if you want something pretentious, Shame & Regret will meet your expectations. It’s an alleyway hideaway that meets everyone where they’re at: https://www.thirstcolorado.com/source/2020/1/1/shame-and-regret-a-drinkers-absolution There’s many more: Streetcar 520, Cork & Cask, Azada Mexican Grill… There’s too many. Colorado Springs has more to offer than most assume.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I just mentioned Becca Tonn, who is the Communications Manager of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center. She previously worked for Blakely + Company as their Director of Public Relations and as an Associate Editor with the Colorado Springs Business Journal. In addition to Becca Tonn, I greatly appreciate the opportunities that Bryan Grossman of the Business Journal, Dionne Roberts of Rocky Mountain Food Report, Jeremy Jones of Springs magazine, Kayla Blackburn of Front Range Foodies, Joe Ross of Thirst Colorado, Julie Martin Sunich of the Colorado Fun Guide, Brittany Werges of 303 Magazine, and Josie Sexton (previously at Eater). This is turning into a tedious list—because there are so many—but I need to acknowledge the talented and generous photographers I’ve collaborated with: Devin Richter, Brianne Keefer, Meegan Dobson, Karen Robards, Nathan Toner, Jeffrey Kintner, and [again] Kayla Blackburn. Finally, I want to give a special TRL Shout Out to those who have lent a listening ear during dark valleys: Michael Carsten, co-owner and manager of Chiba Bar – and Matt Baumgartner, co-owner and manager of Shame & Regret.

Website: https://kristiandepue.wordpress.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristiandepue/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristian-depue-080412158/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristian.depue

Image Credits
Portrait images by Lauren McKenzie of REN Creativ and Kaitlyn Huff (Indianapolis).

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