A headshot of Chef Troy Guard.
Jenn Duncan

Born and raised in Hawaii, Chef Troy Guard helms TAG Restaurant Group and its four concepts spanning 11 locations.

Chef Troy Guard Named Bar & Restaurant Expo’s Chef of the Year

TAG Restaurant Group (TRG), is thrilled to announce Owner and Executive Chef, Troy Guard, has been named Chef of the Year for Bar & Restaurant Expo’s 2023 Industry Excellence Awards. This award is given to a chef who has dedicated themselves to culinary excellence, as well as sustainable, ethical practices and inclusive culture. Chef Guard was awarded during the Bar & Restaurant Expo on March 29, 2023.

Said Chef Guard, “I am thrilled and honored to be recognized as Chef of the Year by Bar & Restaurant Expo! I want to thank our amazing Ohana at TAG Restaurant Group for all their help and hard work over the last year. No one ever gets to see their hard work come to fruition, and this is just a small accolade to prove that our work is touching other people. This award belongs to them as much as it does to me.”

Chef Guard was chosen by a panel of experts who judged each submission based on several criteria including innovative dishes, menu cohesiveness and evidence of promoting inclusivity and a positive influence on fellow employees. Fellow chef finalists were Daniel Ontiveros from Carversteak in Las Vegas and Miguel Trinidad from 99th Floor in Brooklyn, New York.

TAG Restaurant Group, helmed by Chef Guard, includes four concepts over 11 restaurants in Denver and Houston including the boozy breakfast joint, HashTAG, the quick-casual, build-your-own bowl Bubu, the badass Mexican concept Los Chingones and the show-stopping, modern steakhouse, Guard & Grace. Guard has made a name for himself with his creative and bold dishes with influences from his Hawaiian upbringing and travels and work throughout Asia. Guard has plans to expand TAG Restaurant Group with a second HashTAG location and new cocktail lounge opening in downtown Denver in the coming year.

Guard is active in local and national philanthropic efforts with participation in a variety of cultural and charitable events throughout Denver. In 2022 alone, TAG worked with and gave back to over 15 organizations including Boulder Community Foundation, We Don’t Waste, Roundup River Ranch and Hall of Fame Health.

In 2019, TAG Restaurant Group made its first move out of Denver, expanding the award-winning Guard and Grace to Houston, TX. TAG Restaurant Group strives to shake up your typical dining, by offering immersive culinary experiences that are deeply-rooted in and inspired by Chef Troy's life and travels. They are crafted with genuine hospitality in mind, and are never shy to produce bold, worldly flavors using local ingredients. More than the sum of their parts, TRG’s brands represent a way of life and a celebration of the unexpected. The feeling of an Ohana passionately pursuing culinary excellence is tangible.

About Chef Troy Guard

Born and raised in Hawaii, Chef Troy Guard has lived and worked across the globe, beginning his storied career in San Diego at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. Guard moved back to Maui at the age of 21 where he met his mentor, Chef Roy Yamaguchi at the Kahana Bar and Grill.  Under the tutelage of Yamaguchi, Troy traveled across Asia, opening multiple outposts over a span of eight years in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. While in Asia, Guard had the amazing opportunity to set off on his own and work at two of the finest hotels in the world, The Peninsula in Hong Kong and Raffles in Singapore. Guard reconnected with Roy, landing in New York to open Roy’s New York in the Downtown Business District and eventually moved on to the prestigious TAO on 57th Street. Guard put down roots in Denver, CO in 2002, and helped modern-Mexican Chef Richard Sandoval open hotspot Zengo in Riverfront Park before joining the kitchens at Nine75 and Ocean with real estate development mogul Jim Sullivan.

Guard opened his first restaurant, TAG, on Denver’s Larimer Square in 2009 which led to his opening of Mister Tuna, Crazy Love Pizza, TAG Burger Bar, Lucky Cat, TAG Raw Bar, Big Wave Taco, Sugar Mill, Tiny Giant Sushi, Rado Burgers, Grange Food Hall and FNG. TAG Restaurant Group has since narrowed their focus to four concepts over eleven restaurants including the boozy breakfast joint, HashTAG, the quick-casual, build-your-own bowl Bubu, the bold Mexican concept Los Chingones and the show-stopping, modern steakhouse, Guard & Grace. While the concepts vary wildly, throughout you will find evidence of Troy's Hawaiian roots as well as special global touches, creatively woven into the menus.

Guard has numerous accolades and awards to his name including being voted Best Chef in Denver, awarded one of the Top Steakhouses in the Nation with Guard and Grace and named one of the “Great Regional Chefs of America” by the James Beard Foundation. Always giving back to his community, Guard is very active in local and national philanthropic efforts, including participation in a variety of cultural and charitable events throughout Denver.  

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.