Edible Notables – Cookbook Treasure Trove

Edible Notables – Cookbook Treasure Trove

edible notables

COOKBOOK TREASURE TROVE

Memorial library honors a chef and benefits future generations.

WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTOS BY ASA GILMORE

In addition to his tremendous cooking skills, the late local chef Kenneth Kelleher also was known for being a voracious reader and major trivia buff.

After Kelleher, or chef Ken as he was known to those he worked with, unexpectedly passed away from heart failure in February 2014, his friends, colleagues, and family members set out to honor him with something he loved dearly: books.

Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, where Kelleher worked as executive chef, has established a cookbook library in his memory. It was dedicated in September 2014 and now is open to the public.

The library contains 400 cookbooks from Kelleher’s personal collection and several thoughtfully selected cookbooks donated by his former colleagues.

Wayne Clark, Silver Legacy’s food and beverage manager, hired Kelleher and worked closely with him throughout his tenure there.

“I always describe chef Ken as having been a big guy, with a big heart and a huge passion for what he does,” Clark says.

Kelleher worked at several other local properties during his career, including John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, David’s Grille at the Red Hawk resort in Sparks, and the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno.

Mark Digs, a colleague and friend from their shared time at the Peppermill, describes Kelleher as being generous and competitive, and noted that they both shared a deep love for the business.

Fitting tribute

According to Kelleher’s brother, Frank, a library is a fitting memorial to the chef, who, despite working long hours and being devoted to work, found time to distinguish himself as a trivia guru.

“If it had two covers and pages, he would devour it,” Frank says.

“He was a library himself,” Clark adds.

Local culinary students are encouraged to check out books and use the library as a local resource for expanding their culinary knowledge.

“One thing unique about Chef Ken, he was not stuck on one style or way of doing food,” Clark says. “He was a sponge.”

Because Kelleher didn’t limit himself by cooking just one type of cuisine, he was able to leave behind a plethora of cookbooks containing a wealth of interesting ideas for dishes ranging from sushi to Italian and everything in between. He expanded his knowledge of the culinary world by being open to various types of food.

Locals are encouraged to visit the library to expand their culinary worlds, try something new, and celebrate the life of chef Ken.

For details on the Kelleher Library, and or to inquire about visiting or checking out a book, call the Silver Legacy Resort Casino Food and Beverage Office at 775-325-7388.

Between writing stories, Erin Meyering loves to cook and, like chef Ken, purchase unique cookbooks. While writing this story, she was touched by the positive impact that chef Ken had on the people with whom she spoke.

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Discover new products, thriving traditions, or exciting food events, festivals, restaurants, and markets – all of the things that are helping to make us a true culinary destination.