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Ariel Bilyeu, left, replaces Larissa Vendola as executive chef at Garden of the Gods Market and Cafe. Vendola will be chef at McGinty's Wood Oven Pub in Divide.

The kitchen doors at Garden of the Gods Market and Cafe, 410 S. 26th St., have been swinging with executive chef Larissa Vendola passing the whisk to Ariel Bilyeu.

Vendola cut her culinary teeth at the eatery in 2008 when she was fresh out of college. She is leaving for a new opportunity at McGinty’s Wood Oven Pub in Divide.

“It was a bittersweet decision,” she said. “I’ve loved working at Garden of the Gods. But we moved to Woodland Park a year ago. Last February I was talking to my friend, Tracy (McGinty). We talked about a rebound menu for reopening to dine-in customers. She offered me a job and it seems like a good fit. Especially not having so far to commute.”

Vendola leaves the Garden of the Gods restaurant in good hands. Bilyeu was a chef at Till Kitchen when it opened in 2016. Till Kitchen, which has since closed, was one of Altitude Hospitality Group’s properties, as is Garden of the Gods Market and Cafe. She was Vendola’s sous chef and has proven herself ready for her next step as executive.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

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