For nearly 10 years, Brandon Busch lived the disciplined life of an active-duty Marine.
Between 2004 and 2013, he served his country as a heavy-lift helicopter pilot. His fleet squadron was based in Hawaii, he said, and had deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Throughout the near-decade, Busch used his downtime poring through his favorite books. Forget about Tom Clancy and think more of the Barefoot Contessa. Yes, that's right, Busch's favorite books are cookbooks.
"I've wanted to do something with culinary since I was a kid," Busch said.
So, he did. After getting off of active duty, Busch attended pastry school. During his time there, he decided to take on an even bigger challenge, he said, and place his focus on the world of chocolate.
"This is a new challenge for me everyday," he said.
He now owns Lift Chocolate in Boulder which has turned into a family operation. His wife, Jacquelyn, runs the marketing side of the business while his dad, Matt -- a Loveland attorney, volunteers his help.
Matt always knew his son would own a successful business like the one he now runs. He said his culinary skills showed early on.
"He was 10 or 12 and we walked in to see a beautiful lunch laid out on the table with pretty place settings, very nice presentation," Matt said. "I can't remember what he had, what he fixed for us but it was great. It was amazing."
Matt also said he always knew when his son was home from school because a cooking channel was always on their TV.
Busch said he does catch grief from his military friends who will sometimes make fun of his apron, but they've always supported him. Now, he's receiving even more support from the Boulder community.
"It's fun to experiment," he said. "It's fun to come up with new things."