JUSTIN CUCCI // Composer / Chef

paid tha cost to be da boss.

HOMELAND: Manhattan, New York City
EDUCATION: Finished high school, but no collegiate degrees—self taught.
STREET CRED: Working in restaurants since 1980—the first 14 years spent at New York City’s landmark Ye Waverly Inn, as a host, busser, server, bartender, line cook, and manager; thereafter, opened two restaurants in Key West, Florida; apprenticed to be a chef in Denver; and operated as chef-owner at his Key West restaurants, before selling them in 2006.
KUDOS: Numerous national press write-ups (The New York Times, Men’s Health, Sunset); TV spots on the Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats, FYI’s Fung Brothers, and local broadcasting; named “Restaurant Bar of the Year” by Nightclub and Bar magazine.
WHAT KEEPS HIM GOING: My team and exceeding guests’ expectations.
FAVORITE FLAVOR PROFILE: Craveable, dynamic food that expresses the simplicity of core ingredients, yet offers complex flavors that balance, savory, sweet, acid, and heat.
HIDDEN TALENTS: Music—playing it, studying it, craving it, and loving it.
LAST MEAL ON EARTH: An avocado on rice cracker with salt, pepper, and lime juice, followed by high-quality ice cream.
CRAZIEST THING HE’S EVER DONE: Opened six vibrant, dynamic, guest-driven restaurants in Denver—all in historically diverse buildings and with different concepts—that do not have a theme, have unusual designs and posses intentional misalignment.
OFF-HOURS: Spending quality time with my wife, two daughters, and two crazy dogs; listening to music; watching Korean movies; and driving my 1969 pimped-out Lincoln Continental.
FUN FACT: I’m obsessed with Holocaust books.

Megan Baldwin// Operations and Development

HOMELAND: Colorado
EDUCATION: BS in political science from the University of Colorado Boulder
STREET CRED: Named to Zagat’s 30 Under 30 for Denver’s inaugural “Redefining the Industry” list; worked in the communications office for Mayor Hickenlooper, followed by the political consulting arena for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the 2008 election, and the 2009 presidential inauguration.
WHAT KEEPS HER GOING: The rate at which we have grown and the way we continue to grow with integrity, passion, and grit.
FAVORITE FLAVOR PROFILE: Earthy. I love raw mushrooms, and my go-to wine is always red, dry, and full of mineral notes—I like it when I can taste the soil.
INSPIRATION: Being madly in love with my job: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs
LAST MEAL ON EARTH: Grilled asparagus with lemon, barbecued baby back ribs, my mom’s warm German potato salad, and a piece of her chocolate cake.
CRAZIEST THING SHE’S EVER DONE: Met Justin Cucci; Edible Beats is the craziest thing I have ever done and am still doing.
OFF-HOURS: Traveling

JEREMY KITTELSON // Culinary Director

HOMELAND: Decorah and Cedar Rapids, Iowa
EDUCATION: AAS from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute
STREET CRED: Working in restaurants since high school—from the Ground Round in Iowa, to Mobil four-star award-winning restaurants with James Beard award-winning chefs—in positions ranging from busser and line cook, to sous chef (at Blackbird in Chicago), executive chef (at Tapawingo in Michigan and the Restaurant Avondale at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek), and partner (at Ambria in Denver).
WHAT KEEPS HIM GOING: I like that, in some way, I am able to make positive differences in people’s lives—whether it’s cooking our guests a delicious meal, mentoring our culinary staff, or helping a farmer or purveyor to expand their business.
FAVORITE FLAVOR PROFILE: Sour—I love adding acidity to food to help clean up flavors. It allows you push flavors farther without seeming heavy or cloying.
INSPIRATION: I am and always have been inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Michel Bras, Alain Ducasse, and Paul Kahan—my biggest influences for sure.
LAST MEAL ON EARTH: Charlie Trotter’s poached halibut with oyster potato puree, fennel, and Osetra caviar with bottle of Dom Pérignon—it’s the most perfect dish I’ve had, and I’m kind of a snob.
OFF-HOURS: Traveling
FUN FACT: I’m better at yoga than you would think.

JILL ZEH RICHTER // Financial Director

HOMELAND: Upstate New York
EDUCATION: BSBA in hotel restaurant management from the University of Denver; BS from the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Colorado
STREET CRED: Over a decade of accounting experience, plus more than 15 years working in restaurants—in every position from host, server, and line cook, to general manager and executive chef.
WHAT KEEPS HER GOING: I am honored, privileged, and humbled to work with this operations team—I feel like we are making a difference.
LAST MEAL ON EARTH: Bread, cheese, and wine.
OFF-HOURS: Drinking wine and spending time with my husband, two beautiful teenage daughters, and two amazing dogs.
FUN FACT: I authored two cookbooks!

Shannon Grace Jones// General Manager, Linger

HOMELAND: Washington DC and Boulder
EDUCATION: BA in comparative literature from the University of Oregon
STREET CRED: More than 20 years of food and beverage industry experience with boutique luxury brands in Washington, New York, Connecticut, and Colorado.
PROFESSIONAL CREDO: My work ethic, loyalty, consistency, ownership, leading by example, and striving to get better.
FAVORITE FLAVOR PROFILE: Salty umami spiked with a little sweetness.
INSPIRATION: “Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” — Dylan Thomas
LAST MEAL ON EARTH: An ice cold Vesper martini, a perfectly cooked filet mignon with grilled artichoke, a bottle of French Pinot Noir, and a piece of dark chocolate.
FUN FACT: Playing craps with my boss is one of my favorite indulgences.
OFF-HOURS: Yoga, gardening, reading, eating, drinking, and spending time with my niece, Tatum—my everything! I’m lucky to consider my family some of my best friends.

Brian Borowski// General Manager, Root Down

HOMELAND: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
EDUCATION: Attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin–Madison
STREET CRED: Working in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years—the first 10 in busy, traditional Wisconsin pubs and bars, with some chef-driven concepts mixed in; then, moved to Denver to open a wine bar and have been focused on elevated, guest-driven concepts ever since.
WHAT KEEPS HIM GOING: Overcoming adversity and bringing order to the chaos.
PROFESSIONAL CREDO: My work ethic, loyalty, consistency, ownership, leading by example, and striving to get better.
FAVORITE FLAVOR PROFILE: Chocolate—gotta be chocolate.
LAST MEAL ON EARTH: So easy—a flat-top burger with fried onions and pickles, and a chocolate shake from Kopp’s Frozen Custard Stand in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
CRAZIEST THING HE’S EVER DONE: Picking a fight with a professional hockey player.
OFF-HOURS: Spending time at the zoo, museum, and park with my wife and little girl; religiously following baseball, college basketball, Wisconsin football, and the Green Bay Packers; and enjoying good food, a strong drink, and the company of friends and family.

Eric Jennings// Event Coordinator / Ambassador

HOMELAND: St. Louis, Missouri
EDUCATION: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
STREET CRED: 20-plus years of retail management and customer service.
WHAT KEEPS HIM GOING: Creating a memorable experience for all guests.
FAVORITE FLAVOR PROFILE: Sweet and sour.
LAST MEAL ON EARTH: Filet mignon and sushi.
HIDDEN TALENTS: Juggling and smooth dancing.
OFF-HOURS: Spending time with family and friends.