Ranch Careers: Chef D’s Story

Denver native, Wesley Cottrell, now better known as Chef D, started his cooking career straight out of high school, apprenticing at various restaurants and catering companies until he heard about Devil’s Thumb Ranch from his sister, who worked at the front desk. She convinced him to join the team, although the only opening at the time was a dishwashing gig—a role he dutifully filled for the next three years.

Eventually, a cooking position opened up and he jumped at the promotion. Slowly but surely he rose through the ranks from line cook to Kitchen Supervisor, Sous Chef, and now, Chef de Cuisine.

He credits the culinary techniques and hands-on restaurant experience he’s gotten along the way to the bosses and mentors he’s had right here at the Ranch.

He’s now a mentor to his own team of budding chefs who help him prepare fantastic meals for Heck’s Tavern and the employee cafeteria. He’s also received funding from Ranch owners, Bob and Suzanne Fanch, to start a cooking program for local middle and high school students.


The most rewarding things to me beyond my own career growth have been getting to know co-workers from all walks of life and sharing the Ranch experience with them. That, and witnessing the passion the Fanches have for doing things right and being hands on, it’s truly inspiring and makes this place something I can really get behind and want to be a part of. As soon as I stop learning something or having fun I’ll move on. Not sure when that’ll ever be. – Chef D




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