“I remember what she looked like. What she wore. The expression on her face.”
Enosh Kelley, owner/chef of Bistro Montage, …isn’t describing the first time he saw the love of his life. At least, not the way you think.
He’s describing the first moment he realized he wanted to be a chef. At the time, he was working in an Iowa City restaurant while going to business school at the University of Iowa. “One day I bought the ingredients for a dish I’d seen on Great Chefs—Great Cities. I took it all to work and served it as the special,” Kelley explains.
Seeing a customer enjoy that dish set the course for the rest of Kelley’s life. “Watching her eyebrows pop when she took the first bite of that dish, seeing the smile on her face, that was my ‘ah-ha’ moment,” he says.
Shortly after that experience, Kelley dropped out of business school and enrolled in New York’s prestigious Culinary Institute of America (called the Harvard of cooking schools by Julia Child). While there, he fell in love with classic French food.
By the fall of 2001, Kelley had graduated from the Culinary Institute and moved back to Iowa. In 2003, when the former owner of Bistro Montage decided to sell, Kelley realized that buying the restaurant was the right move at the right time.
Since becoming the owner and chef of Bistro Montage, Kelley has taken the restaurant to new heights—earning rave reviews from The Wall Street Journal and The Des Moines Register, as well as a Best Chef of the Midwest nomination by the James Beard Institute. Today, he continues to push the envelope with new takes on French classics—always with the goal of delighting his current customers as much as his first.
AwardsJames Beard nominated best chef Midwest.
★ “Enosh Kelly, the chef-owner at this small, intense neighborhood restaurant, is a national figure in his field and deserves the reputation he’s getting.” – The Wall Street Journal
★ “The taste: Spectacular.” – The Des Moines Register
★ 5 Best Chefs In Des Moines: Enosh Kelly / Bistro Montage – MetroMix Magazine
★ “This romantic gem nestled along Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines, is quickly becoming a favorite for locals and visitors alike.” – Yahoo
★ “The gateau marjolaine at Bistro Montage might be the best dessert I have ever had!” – Urbanspoon
★ “An appetizer so good you might not want anything else for your meal.” – Relish Magazine
★ ” The steak frites is without a doubt the best steak that I have been served at a restaurant in Des Moines.” – Datebook
★ “The ultimate corner neighborhood restaurant.” – dsm Magazine
★ Voted Best Local Bistro Fare – City View Magazine
★ Awarded “Most Romantic Restaurant” – dsm Magazine