We have the most exciting and talented line-up of Instructors in town!
Director/Executive Chef Dan Witherspoon
Chef Dan Witherspoon is the Director and Executive Chef of The Witherspoon Group, Inc., the parent company of The Gourmet Spoon and The Seasoned Chef Cooking School. He is one of Denver’s premier culinary instructors for recreational cooks. For over 30 years, Chef Dan has devised delicious versions of the classics. Working his way up from Apprenticeship under celebrated Belgian Chef, Henri Bergmans, to executive chef positions in Southern California and the Denver area, Chef Dan has achieved extraordinarily well-rounded culinary skills. Classically trained in the Western European tradition, he brings an extremely down to earth teaching style to his students of all levels of culinary expertise. Chef Dan enjoys incorporating Pacific Rim, Southwestern, Northern Italian, French and contemporary Americana cuisines and themes into his cooking and entertaining. Dan’s passion is to be working with great food, surrounded by people who are enjoying the experience.
Executive Chef Andrew Lubatty
The Avenue Grill
Executive Chef Andrew Lubatty was born in Southampton, New York. At the age of thirteen he began his culinary career working summers at local restaurants. After graduating from high school, he attended Berklee College of Music, in Boston. While attending Berklee, he found himself dividing his time between music and cooking. At the age of twenty-eight, he decided to become a chef and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Upon graduating, Andrew apprenticed at the four diamond Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona, Arizona. The executive chef of the resort then hired Andrew to run his new restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. Andrew desired more structure as he developed, so he took his first executive chef position for a corporate restaurant named Sfuzzi. His responsibilities included management consulting, menu development and opening new restaurant locations. In 1997 Andrew moved to Denver and took a position at The Avenue Grill. He has been the executive chef for the last seven years. The Avenue Grill is the perfect fit for his style; he adds Asian and Italian accents to new American dishes. Chef Andrew and The Avenue Grill support many local charities and fundraisers. He has appeared on local television segments and taught many cooking classes. He is a Certified Executive Chef by the American Culinary Federation and has received numerous awards for his work at culinary competitions. Andrew enjoys spending time with his wife, Robyn and their five years old twins, Matthew and Rebecca. When he is not in the kitchen, he enjoys basketball, cycling, and playing the bass guitar and piano for his children. Chef Andrew has been a longtime instructor at The Seasoned Chef Cooking School.
Pastry Chef and Cake Artist Kelly McGeehan
Honeycombe Custom Cakes and French Macarons
Kelly was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, NC. After achieving her Associate’s Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, she decided to start her career in Denver, CO. Kelly’s first industry job was a full time baker at Gateaux Bakery just outside downtown Denver. She moved onto lead cake decorator after just one year. After 3 years, Kelly took an opportunity to take on the full custom program at Dbar, specializing in wedding cakes, shaped cakes, and French macarons. After 3 years at Dbar, she was offered a sous chef position at Sugarmill bakery, and ran the custom cake program at in RINO. She is currently the Owner and Executive Pastry Chef at Honeycombe Custom Cakes and French Macarons here in Denver.In her spare time, she loves to be outdoors, eat at all of Denver’s best restaurants, and see as many concerts as she can.
Executive Chef DJ Nagle
Blue Island Oyster Bar and Grill
Chef DJ has been at the helm of Blue Island Oyster Bar and Grill in Cherry Creek North since it’s opening last fall. Chef Nagle was the opening chef at North in Cherry Creek, and had a successful stint at Humboldt: Farm, Fish, Wine, living out his true passion for seafood, both in the way it is sourced and how it is prepared in order to bring our the best flavor possible.
Chef De Cuisine Matt Lewis
Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar
Born and raised in Cheyenne, WY, Matt made his way to the Mile High City to attend Johnson and Wales University. Although school was not his strong suit, cooking certainly was (!) and he put his nose to the grindstone in some of Denver’s finest kitchens: North Modern Italian, Russell’s Smokehouse, and Bones. Now at the helm of Jax, Matt brings some serious talent, hard-won know-how, and a head full of fresh ideas to the table. His dedication and ingenuity recently won him a Zagat 30 under 30 award as one of the best young chefs in Colorado. When he’s not behind the burners at Jax, Matt enjoys seeking out new restaurants in Denver, cheering on his beloved Broncos, and playing golf.
Victoria Amato Kennedy
Victoria Amato Kennedy began her wine journey and career in her hometown near New Orleans, Louisiana, where she was always surrounded by good food, culture and hospitality. After graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in Communications, she traveled to Tampa, Florida where she continued to explore her passion for the service and hospitality industries – holding management positions in wine bars, restaurants and hotels. In 2011, Victoria moved to Napa, California where she immersed herself in the wine industry and in wine education.Today, Victoria resides in Colorado with her husband – Chris, son – Christian and labradoodle, Quincy Jones. As part of a United States Air Force family, she enjoys the adventure of traveling to new places and meeting new friends. In Colorado, she has worked as the Marketing Director for Wine Education Institute and continues her freelance marketing work for small wine shops and restaurants throughout the Denver-metro area. Victoria holds her WSET Level 3 Wine & Spirits Certificate with Merit and is currently a candidate for Society of Wine Educators’ Certified Specialist of Wine certification.
Executive Chef Justin Goerich
As Executive Chef at Zolo Grill, Justin blends his decade plus of culinary experience into seasonal menus full of creative, flavorful Southwestern dishes. Justin began his tenure at Zolo as Sous Chef, where he worked under the guidance of Chef Brett Smith until he took over the reigns as head chef in 2013. Passionate about fresh produce and local farms, Justin loves being out on the farm, preparing freshly harvested produced at sold-out farm dinners throughout the season. A Colorado native, Justin was introduced to the culinary scene at a young age while working at La Chaumiere in his hometown of Pinewood Springs, prompting him to earn his Associates Degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After he honed his craft as a line cook at the renowned Flagstaff House in Boulder, Justin returned to New York to broaden his experience as Executive Chef at Mashomack Fish and Game Reserve in Dutchess County. Eventually he returned to Colorado once and for all and joined the Big Red F family, working as Sous Chef under the guidance of Chef Hosea Rosenberg at Jax Fish House in Boulder before taking on the same role at Zolo. When not in the kitchen, Justin can be found enjoying the outdoors, mountain biking, snowboarding, fishing, running, hiking, canoeing, camping, and most often, chopping firewood to heat his home. Justin resides in Pinewood Springs, where he enjoys relaxing in the mountains with his wife Rebecca and their young son.
Executive Chef Cade Beerman
Big Red F Group
Born and raised in Carbondale, Colorado, Chef Cade Beerman earned his degree from Colgate University. Classically trained on the culinary front lines of San Francisco, he moved to New York City and worked his way up the ranks of some of Manhattan’s finest institutions, most notably Fiamma, where he worked alongside Chef Michael White achieving consecutive three star reviews from the New York Times, and with Eric Ripert at the Catalan tapas concept, Barca 18. Chef Cade is currently an Executive Chef with the Big Red F Restaurant Group, and over sees operations at Centro Latin Kitchen in Boulder.
Health Coach and Plant-Based Chef
Julie Magnussen, aka Healthy Julie, is a passionate and inspirational health coach and plant-based chef. Julie’s philosophy is to use whole, unprocessed and authentic ingredients, and instruct on living a full and happy life, fully of vibrant and positive energy! A native of Virginia, Julie now makes Denver her home, fully embracing our beautiful Colorado lifestyle, and delights in sharing her vast knowledge, passion and expertise through her business, promoting a happy and healthy way of life for all. As the founder and owner of Healthy Julie, LLC, she teaches private and public cooking classes and runs a specialized 3-month program geared to finding your most vibrant life through the powers of plant-based cooking methods. Julie executes a weekly cooking segment on Colorado’s Everyday Morning Show and her work has been featured with Whole Foods Market, Shape Magazine, and Huffington Post UK.
Owner / Executive Chef Jamey Fader
Chef/Owner of LOLA, Jamey Fader, was born and raised in the D.C metro area. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from West Virginia University, Jamey realized his true passion lay in the kitchen. Understanding the up and coming culinary opportunities in the Denver area, Jamey moved to Colorado in 1996. He began his Denver culinary career as head chef at Jax Fish House and in 2002 partnered with Dave Query, to create LOLA. LOLA has raised the bar for dining in Denver in the short time that it has been open, winning numerous accolades. These include one of 5280 Magazine’s BEST NEW RESTAURANTS, Food and Wine Magazine’s TOP FIVE TEQUILA BARS in the country, BEST CEVICHE, BEST MARGARITA and BEST GUACAMOLE. As well, Chef Jamey Fader was named DENVER’S CHEF OF THE YEAR by 5280 Magazine in December 2004 and January 2005. In 2010 Jamey took on the role of Culinary Director for the Big Red F restaurant group overseeing some of Colorado’s finest kitchens. Today he can be found working with the many talented chefs within the group, going for long mountainous runs, participating in countless local charities, snowboarding the backcountry of the continental divide and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Chef Kevin Grossi
Chef de Cuisine
A true Midwestern boy, Kevin is a Michigander who knew his path from an early age. He wasted no time starting a cooking career by enrolling in the Schoolcraft College culinary program in Livonia, Mi. post high school graduation. From there, the quest to eat, learn and work under amazing chefs like Brain Polcyn and Joseph Decker in order to grow became an addiction. With time in Boston, San Diego and Vail, Kevin finally settled in Denver where he pulled cooking stints at Tamayo, Zengo, The Coral Room, Parisi’s, Jax Fish House and Lola, before opening Jax in Fort Collins, Co. There he rekindled his relationship with farmers of all types, took the town by storm with his fish-to-farm-to-table approach, and established Jax as a powerhouse in the northern Colorado community. Now based at Lola, Kevin offers his unique perspective on the iconic Mexican Fish House fare. When not in the kitchen Kevin spends his time maintaining relationships with farmers in Fort Collins and across the front range, shredding in snowcapped mountains, mountain biking and tending to his garden.
Executive Chef Alex Figura
A native of Washington D.C., Alex has been pushing culinary boundaries in superstar kitchens since he started his career working at Philadelphia’s Vetri Ristorante, considered by many as a benchmark for some of the finest Italian food in the U.S. After two years honing his passion for pastry and the art of bread baking, Alex staged at L’escaleta and Las Rejas, Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, before moving to New York to work with chef Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. During his tenure at this acclaimed restaurant and education center, Alex further developed a true appreciation for sourcing and cooking with the freshest ingredients possible. A family move out West led Alex to Colorado’s top-rated restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, where he met his future business partner, Mario Nocifera. Fostering his ambition and desire to continually challenge himself, he moved to Girona, Spain to work at El Celler de Can Roca, a three-star Michelin restaurant, which was named San Pellegrino’s number one restaurant in the world in 2013, before returning to Denver to open his first restaurant, Lower48 Kitchen.
Executive Chef Brandon Biederman
Brandon Biederman was born and raised outside Chicago, Illinois. His culinary career began at age 13, working as a prep cook at a local steak house. Brandon attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he earned his degree in Hotel Restaurant Management. In Flagstaff, Brandon discovered his passion for the restaurant industry and his talents in the kitchen, while working as a line cook in various restaurants. He had the opportunity to serve everything from fine French cuisine, to local Southwest specialties. Shortly after graduation, Brandon moved to Denver to pursue his culinary career. His first position in Denver was as a line cook at Tommy Tsunami’s, a popular Asian fusion restaurant. Brandon was quickly promoted to Sous Chef and ultimately Executive Chef. He left Tommy Tsunami’s in 2001 to pursue other opportunities at the highly acclaimed Vesta Dipping Grill. While at Vesta, Brandon once again was quickly promoted from line cook to Sous Chef, and now works as the Executive Chef of Steuben’s and Ace, the newest addition to the Vesta family. At Steuben’s, Brandon creates food that people crave, returning again and again for that special menu item.
Executive Chef John Broening
Le Grand Bistro / Spuntino
John Broening grew up in France, the Soviet Union, and Portugal, where his father was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press. He graduated from Haverford College in 1987 with a degree in English Literature. He started cooking in 1988 and attended Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now the Institute of Culinary Education) in 1990. While in New York, he worked in several top restaurants including China Grill (owned by Jeffrey Chodorow of ‘The Restaurant’ fame) and Metro, with Patrick Clark. He moved to San Francisco in 1991, where he worked at Bix, Roti, Enrico’s, Hawthorne Lane, La Folie, and the Grand Café, a $6 million grossing juggernaut, where he designed the brunch, breakfast and café menus. In 1992-93, he took a break and worked in Paris as a poissonier (fish cook) under Guy Savoy at Bistrot de l’Etoile Niel and a pastry assistant at Le Grenadin. In 1999, he was recruited to Colorado to run the kitchen at Primitivo, a wine restaurant which was named Best Fine Dining Restaurant, two years in a row, by The Colorado Springs Gazette. He is also the proud winner of the DiRona Award and Wine Spectator Best Of Award. On March 11, 2008, John was honored, for the second time, to prepare a meal at the James Beard House, in New York City as part of a “Gems of Denver” dinner. He, along with his wife, Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, a James Beard nominated Pastry Chef, and four other chefs, made Denver very proud! John is currently the Executive Chef of Denver’s Le Grand Bistro and Chef / Owner of Spuntino Restaurant. He has also always had a passion and skill for writing, and more and more, we are getting to experience his humor, skill and love for food and the written word. John writes a column every Wednesday in the Food section of The Denver Post and is also their Book Critic. He is also a freelance writer for such magazines as Gastronomica, and Edible Frontrange. John and Yasmin live in Denver with their four dogs.
Executive Chef Eric Cimino
Luca d’Italia executive chef Eric Cimino lives to serve. While an interest in human behavior and helping others led Cimino to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in psychology, his innate mission to make people happy found ground while working in hospitality. That same mission also lead him to Europe, and eventually Sicily, where a passion for Italian food and culture manifested into what is now Cimino’s culinary stamp—food from the soul, prepared from scratch and composed with the best seasonal offerings available in the region. “Living in Sicily, I really grew to appreciate the culture,” he says. “While I grew up in Arizona, I have a Sicilian background, and experiencing Sicily for myself not only showed me a piece of my identity, but also greatly influenced the way I cook — Sicilian cuisine is about family, community and living off the land. You make the best of what you have, and you always celebrate with good food, wine and friends.” When Cimino returned home to Tuscan, Arizona, at age 26, he began working his way up the ranks at Café Jasper, where he was reintroduced to the pleasure of creating—using his hands to manipulate dough, layering flavors to produce depth, and cooking meats tender. After two years, Cimino decided to take his culinary career to the next level and enrolled in the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California, where he was accepted and lured to wine country. “That’s where everything really took off,” he says. “That’s where I was really hooked to creating beautiful, seasonal food to pair with wine—in a region some of the country’s best wine-makers call home.” While Cimino embarked on his studies in the culinary classroom, he worked in some of Northern California’s premier kitchens, including Signorello Vineyards in Napa, The Girl and The Fig in Sonoma and now-defunct Cantinetta Piero in Yountville under chef Craig DiFonzo. Looking for a new chapter, Cimino and his fiancée moved to Denver in May of 2012. Cimino found a kitchen home at Luca d’Italia, restaurateur Frank Bonanno’s nod to Sicily. Working his way up from garde manger and perfecting the art of pasta under chef Hunter Pritchett, Cimino now showcases the Italian food Chef Bonanno grew up with—the food and the culture that won Cimino from the very beginning.
Owner / Executive Chef Tom Coohill
Nationally recognized Executive Chef Tom Coohill, of the award-winning, French LoDo hotspot, Coohills, has been a chef since he was 17 years old, has been trained by some of the finest chefs in the world and cooked in some of the most illustrious kitchens in the country. After holding coveted positions at L’Auberge de Champs in Kentucky, Le Francais in Illinois, L’Oustau de Baumaniere in France and Ma Maison in Los Angeles, Tom opened the renowned Ciboulette restaurant in Atlanta. He and his restaurant were widely featured in the media, including CNN, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal by being one of America’s most popular restaurants (ranked top 10 and 25, respectively, by Condé Nast and Esquire, nationwide) and by Tom winning the US Chef’s Open, Georgia’s Chef of the Year and Chain des Rotisseur’s Award for Dedication to Culinary Arts. And, lucky for us, he now is in Denver with his smart, sexy, sophisticated restaurant, Coohills!
Executive Chef Austin Cueto
Restaurant Kevin Taylor
Austin Cueto, Executive Chef of the acclaimed Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group, including Restaurant Kevin Taylor, has been overseeing culinary operations since 2009. Austin studied at the school of culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University, Denver, CO. He attributes his success to his dedication to classical techniques and innovative, modern concepts. Austin learned his love for the culinary arts admiring the renowned European chefs of Michelin star restaurants. The beginning of Austin’s training was learning rigorous techniques of a classical brigade kitchen directly from Michelin trained chefs at venues such as The Sage & Onion in Santa Barbara, CA. His passion drove him back to his home town of Denver where he could further pursue his inspirations and career. He focused on acquiring a position in the kitchen of Restaurant Kevin Taylor, one he coveted due to the numerous accolades and highest level of service Kevin Taylor restaurants have earned a reputation for. Guests may see that Austin strives in the use of fresh and local ingredients to create contemporary French food with global inspiration. He maintains the highest levels of excellence demonstrated by Restaurant Kevin Taylor earning Forbes Four-Star rating for over a decade. “In my kitchen we are all learning, everyone has creative input, we have to be a team in order to make every experience unforgettable.” -Chef Austin Cueto
Executive Pastry Chef Noah French
Tag / The Sugar Mill
Pastry Chef Noah French, of Troy Guard’s award-winning Tag, Tag Raw Bar and Tag Burger Bar, has now become co-owner of one of Guard’s new ventures, the Sugar Mill, a bakery/dessert bar concept, opening this Fall in the Ballpark District. French and Guard met working together and sharpening their culinary chops in New York City and have been friends, business consultants and colleagues ever since. Noah has held acclaimed stints, perfecting desserts, mentoring other pastry chefs and absorbing the best and the latest in Manhattan, San Francisco, Hawaii, South Africa, Miami Beach and most recently, Barbados. Bidding the beautiful beaches farewell was not as hard as you might think, as French knew our Mile High City has brought unprecedented culinary talent, creativity and entrepreneurship, all supported by food-savvy guests, over the last few years. He knew this was a great opportunity and is determined to make this bakery and confection crib a destination for everyone who savors sin.
Chef Cathy Harokopis
Chef Cathy Harokopis is an extremely accomplished cook who lives in Laramie, Wyoming. Feeling the need to get out of the house after her husband retired 12 years ago, she attended the techniques series at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, where she first met Chef Dan Witherspoon, her culinary mentor. She went on to work at a busy local bakery in Laramie for five years, where she honed her culinary chops. Cathy is the mother of two grown daughters and she and her husband Mike, a retired physician, travel often. Cathy incorporates many of her journeys with extensive culinary adventures. She has taken cooking classes in Mexico: Oaxaca and the Yucatan – and spent a week of culinary indulgence and classes in Italy. In addition to being a popular instructor at The Seasoned Chef and conducting team building events and private classes for The Gourmet Spoon, she teaches an occasional class at The Copper Kettle, a kitchen store in Laramie. When she is not occasionally catering for food-starved Wyomingites, Cathy can be found in her kitchen cooking up masses of food for her family’s wide circle of friends.
Chef Keith Jones
Chef Keith Jones, “The Champagne Chef” with the big personality, feeds all the senses while sharing twenty-three years of culinary artistry and chef’s secrets through his “Eatertainment” presentations. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Chef Keith studied under certified Master Chef, Edward Janos for eight years, learning classical French cuisine and techniques. “Edward is my mentor and I owe my culinary skills to him. He took a genuine interest in me at an early age and created the foundation that my career is based upon today.” Chef Keith was certified as an Executive Chef in December 1999 and has served at several prestigious country clubs. He has won several medals in culinary salons in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Colorado, including the grand prize in the Clos Du Bois Wine and Food Pairing competition. He keeps his participants spellbound with his unique sense of humor and wealth of culinary knowledge.
Executive Chef Jeremy Kittelson
Root Down and Linger
Jeremy is a chef with one very impressive background. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu’s Scottsdale Culinary Institute, he headed to Chicago and landed in the kitchen of one of the most revered chefs in the world, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, of Vong and Charlie Trotter’s, then onto what he’d found to be the “biggest break of my career”, with chef Paul Kahan of the famed Blackbird – one of the highest regarded restaurants in the country. Lucky for us, Jeremy started craving the lifestyle, weather and fast-growing culinary scene in Colorado and now he is here, among the reigning top chefs of our mile-high city! Keeping true to Root Down’s cornerstone of fresh, organic, seasonal, vegetable-focused fundamentals, Jeremy is holding a very captive audience, in stamping the menus with his own globally-influenced, soulful spins – accentuating flavors and textures that ignite all of the senses.
Chef Shellie Kark is a 15-year culinary connoisseur, a skilled chef and trained educator, and shares her kitchen vigor and prowess with amateur home cooks, seasoned chefs and everyone in between. You can find Chef Shellie cultivating culinary skills on television news programs, authoring columns and articles in local and national news and culinary publications, leading courses at several local schools and serving as a nutritious cooking and eating consultant to health and wellness organizations.
Chef Shellie also appears behind the camera and in the kitchen in her very own DVD series, KitchenCUE, which helps home cooks hone the fundamentals of food preparation and presentation through a simple, step-based approach. This unique approach has won KitchenCUE national recognition in a variety of publications including O Magazine. Shellie is dedicated to sharing her philosophy of making meaningful connections with family and friends around the table; inspiring cooks to nourish body and soul over a home cooked meal.
Executive Chef/Owner Ian Kleinman
The Inventing Room
Kitchen Magician, Chef Ian Kleinman, is a Colorado native who has been cooking in some of the state’s most beloved restaurants since he was a boy. The critically acclaimed chef and member of the Colorado Institute Hall of Fame, Chef Kleinman’s love of food and whimsy has led to him becoming a leader in the Colorado molecular gastronomy field and to three invitations to cook at the James Beard House in New York. He is currently one of the Denver FIVE. In 2009, Chef Kleinman developed The Inventing Room, a mobile catering company focused on food as entertainment and his pop-up molecular doughnut shops have become an underground sensation. Ian comes from a long culinary family lineage and has always believed that food should be fun. About 8 years ago, he had an introduction to the unique cuisine style of Chicago’s Alinea, the most famous restaurant leading the molecular gastronomy charge in the U.S. It piqued Chef Kleinman’s interest enough to gather some cash and begin tinkering in the science-meets-cuisine realm. Soon thereafter, he emerged, excited and producing food, with a Cirque du Soleil-type verve.
Chef Devin Lamma
Chef Devin Lamma, a native of Virginia, has lived in Colorado for ten years. He combines over 20 years of food industry experience with a degree in education to inspire others about cooking. Influenced by Thomas Keller, Michael Pollan and Anthony Bourdain, Devin leads culinary team building events, cooking classes and private tastings. Devin spent 6 months in 2009 travelling in Tuscany studying sustainable and organic farming. He continues these travels each year, learning new specialties and sponsors other like-minded individuals.
Executive Chef Kyle Mendenhall
Award winning Executive Chef Kyle Mendenhall, of The Kitchen – an absolute gem and standing culinary highlight in the “Nation’s Foodiest City” of Boulder, (as listed by Bon Appetite magazine), is bringing us his expertise and fresh, Farm-to-Table philosophy in this not-to-miss class. Kyle was one of three local chefs invited to present “Celebrating Colorado’s Bounty” at New York’s James Beard house, recently impressing all in attendance with the caliber of product and his innovative talent.
Owner / Executive Chef Kevin Morrison
Prior to opening Pinche Taqueria in 2010, Kevin Morrison was the founder of Red Tomato Specialty Produce. Red Tomato served the independent upscale restaurant industry in Denver from 1995-2000, when Kevin sold the company to his operations manager. Kevin went on to co-found Spicy Pickle Sub Shop in 1999 as well as co-founding Spicy Pickle Franchising in 2003. In 2006 the concept won Nations Restaurant News “Hot Concept” award and went public in 2007. Later in 2007 Kevin was the creative force behind Crumb Rustic Bakery, a wholesale bakery that serviced all of Colorado’s Spicy Pickle restaurants. In 2010 Kevin left the restraints of corporate life to develop other grass root food concepts.
Executive Chef Tim Murphy
Russell’s Smoke House
Chef Tim Murphy, formerly of Luca D’Italia, Frank Bonnano’s exquisite Italian gem, listed as one of the Top Italian restaurants in the Western United States, is now the Executive Chef of Russell’s Steakhouse. From the very beginning, Tim’s skill, personality and notable technique stood out to Denver’s Best of the Best. Even before graduating from Johnson and Wales University, Bonanno asked Tim to join his team at both Luca and Bones, after which he was pulled away for a couple of years by Alex Seidel, of Fruition. Pretty impressive for this young, emerging chef!
Owner / Executive Chef Jon Robbins
Executive Chef Jon Robbins, recently Chef de Cuisine at Mizuna, is opening his own hot, new supper club named the Gypsy Kitchen – based on the traveling chefs and multiple cuisines that each has mastered from their impressive stints around the world, including Paris, Africa, Spain, the Virgin Islands and New York City. The Supper Club’s transition from a bi-monthly pop-up concept, at Mizuna, is now Jon’s full-time endeavor as an exciting, new restaurant featuring elaborate tasting menus and a thrilling showcase for Jon’s culinary talents.
Lee Clayton Roper
Lee Clayton Roper is a cookbook author, cooking class instructor, public speaker and TV personality. She was inspired by her mother Sally’s love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together for great meals, laughter and conversation. In fact, Lee hosted her first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, Lee has gladly provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining. In 2009, she published A Well-Seasoned Kitchen, a cookbook she co-authored with her mother. This beautiful, gold medal winning book has received numerous rave reviews and praise. Lee frequently conducts cooking demos, teaches cooking classes, speaks publicly on the loving story behind the book, and is currently producing a cooking show for Rocky Mountain PBS. Read more about Lee at www.seasonedkitchen.com.
Executive Chef Carrie Shores
According to the Table 6 website, Carrie Shores has been at Table 6 for six years now, four of those years as the sous chef. Her cooking style is “keep it simple, and don’t over do it”, flavors should be recognizable. Her culinary adventures started out when she was a little girl. She enjoys cooking as well as eating. She went to culinary school and lived in San Francisco for 10 years and says, “those were the best years of her life”. She is a mother to a teenage daughter and son, and they keep her busy when she is not at work. She enjoys the Colorado outdoors as much as possible and loves to hike. She hopes to one day be able to travel the world!
Executive Chef Elise Wiggins
Panzano’s Executive Chef Elise Wiggins knew she wanted to be a chef from an early age, even if she wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Leading the culinary efforts at Panzano in downtown Denver, Wiggins cooks and makes people happy-locals and visitors alike – with her distinctive contemporary Northern Italian cuisine using local and sustainable ingredients and practices. Wiggins grew up in Louisiana, with family camaraderie that centered around food and, as she puts it, “whose Mama cooked the best and who made the best gumbo.” After college at Northeastern Louisiana University, Wiggins began her career at Grotto in Dallas, working under Morris Salerno and Karl Hogue, the gold medal culinary Olympics team. It was there where she began to understand the basics of good food and authentic Northern Italian flavors. Wiggins then enrolled at the Colorado Institute of Art, where she fell in love with Colorado. Upon graduating, she quickly worked her way up to executive chef at the former Bella Ristorante. This was followed by travels in Central America, and then in the spring of 2004, Wiggins returned to Denver and Panzano, where she now prepares award-winning mouthwatering dishes and continues to explore regional Italian delights.