The Yellow Carrot & a mission of joy
“It’s a crazy story!” she begins.
“I’d had a few restaurants, one I’d named Café Sari, and everyone thought it was an Indian restaurant, which it wasn’t.
“At another point I was a caterer who flew around the country on assignments because my work was in such high demand. I was a very successful pastry chef with 25 cupcake flavors, 15 cookie flavors and 10 varieties of cakes.
“And one day I decided I wanted to open a concept that was fun, something so unique and unforgettable, that it would touch the lives of everyone who came in with the food, its presentation, and in an atmosphere both European and New York City,” says Sari Suzanne Seedorf, executive chef/owner of The Yellow Carrot of Durango, Colo.
A self-described “ideas girl, chef and pastry chef,”Sari Suzanne Sedorf has shaped and molded 20 years of restaurant experience into creating a moment of joy for all patrons who cross her threshold. A Cedar Rapids woman who grew up picking and selling produce from her grandparent’s farm, her goals have centered on demonstrating on the plate the sheer beauty of life’s bounty. “I use my gift of cooking to positively impact people’s lives,” she says.
In this weeks Q&A with Boxerbrand blog Recipe for Success, Sari talks about the mystique of her food, her mission, and her land-office success in the tourist town that cannot get enough of her concept.
Boxerbrand: I love the name Yellow Carrot! How did you come up with it?
Sari: After my experience with Café Sari and having customers mistake me for an Indian restaurant, I knew I wanted to choose something fun and whimsical. As I thought about it, I was holding a bag of yellow carrots in my hand, and I said, “Oh my God! That’s it! The Yellow Carrot!”
I first opened as a catering business in 2008. It was huge! It blew up. I was the catering chef, designer, and pastry chef in thousands of weddings. I made huge, massive cakes and even did all the flowers.
Boxerbrand: A few years ago, you created an epicenter for wildly creative food and joy.
Sari: In 2017, a block north of a tiny location I was operating from, an 8,000 square foot space became available on Maine Avenue in Durango. I seized the opportunity! I put in a full bakery, bar, a full dining room with indoor seating for 70 and another 30 outdoor. And in December 2021, I decided to stop doing weddings before the coronavirus came, because I wanted to devote all my time and energy to The Yellow Carrot experience in Durango.
Boxerbrand: What does a customer see and feel when they step across the threshold of The Yellow Carrot?
Sari: The physical space conveys a feeling of Europe or of New York City with its flooring of mosaic tile and attractive lighting. We have a lot of architectural detail, such as blue scrolling, and a color pallet of soft yellows. The modern environment is charged with energy and is about joy and love.
Boxerbrand: Your presentation is inspired by everything from the film Edward Scissorhands to a paintbrush handle!
Sari: I have an eggplant dish that was inspired by a pair of scissors with yellow handles, and an asparagus dish using the base of a paintbrush handle, from which the asparagus fans out. I have so many props and unique serving dishes from my catering career, which I use to present food to inspire people that there really can be a place for joy in life.
Boxerbrand: Your baked goods and menus have garnered an armful of awards, from best baker and catering, to word-of-mouth rave reviews.
Sari: I use over 1,200 ingredients building my flavor profiles. I do a brown-butter doughnut tossed in a secret spice that is amazing, and a fish of the day, served in a long, porcelain boat and a popular crab cake dish served beneath a dome.
When Sari Suzanne Seedorf isn’t in her restaurant creating magic on a plate, she is podcasting a food show. The Yellow Carrot Restaurant uses Boxerbrand’s Splash Line in its table presentation. Thank you!