Women’s History Month: Meet our Panelists

BY Leah Cioth


It’s our last installment spotlighting our inspiring and accomplished female Tastemakers for Women’s History Month. But that doesn’t mean our community’s support for their endeavors, from running the restaurant to creating award-winning cuisine, should stop. We hope you continue to check out what our panel is up to and their recommendations for Denver’s food scene. 

Jacqueline Bonanno

Women’s History Month: Meet Our Inspiring Panelists
Bonanno Concepts

Jacqueline’s passion for the food we eat and the entire dining experience is reflected in her contributions to the Denver food scene. She and her husband sit at the helm of Bonanno Concepts, a Denver-based, chef-driven restaurant group dedicated to deeply satisfying meals, outstanding service, education, and community. Some of their many innovative concepts include Mizuna, Luca, Osteria Marco, French 75, Denver Milk Market, and most recently took ownership of El Rancho Colorado.

Jennifer Jasinski

Women’s History Month: Meet Our Inspiring Panelists
Crafted Concepts

Jennifer is the founder of the well-known and well-loved Rioja in Larimer Square. Along with her business partner and fellow Tastemaker Beth Gruitch, they have developed Crafted Concepts. She was the first Denver-based chef to win a James Beard Award and has continued to gather accolades year after year. Since the opening of Rioja, Jen has also worked on Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia, and Bistro Vendôme and regularly gives back as a guest chef at numerous fundraisers nationwide. 

Kate Kaufman

Women’s History Month: Meet Our Inspiring Panelists
Hammer and Plate Consulting

Kate is the founder of Hammer and Plate Consulting, which stemmed from over 30 years of dedication to the hospitality industry. Her work focuses on developments concentrating on adaptive reuse that integrate food and beverage establishments by bringing together developers, restaurant owners, designers, and operators. She is an integral asset to several teams, including Wolf Concepts and DiningOut Events.

Natascha Hess

Women’s History Month: Meet Our Inspiring Panelists
The Ginger Pig

Natascha Sherman-Hess founded The Ginger Pig, a pan-Asian street food restaurant first launched as a food truck in 2016. Natascha’s signature dishes were inspired by her time living in China with a host family, specifically her host mother’s cooking. Her training to launch the first iteration of The Ginger Pig was supported by another Tastemaker, Carrie Baird – a great example of women supporting women in the food world. Be sure to stop by The Ginger Pig in the Berkeley neighborhood of Denver for family-style pan-Asian cuisine, and look out for the upcoming Boulder location.

Paula Vrakas

Women’s History Month: Meet Our Inspiring Panelists
Roxy on Broadway

Paula is the owner of The Roxy Encinitas (San Diego, CA) & Roxy on Broadway (Denver, CO). She came from a long line of restaurateurs in her family and was able to work at every level of the business before launching her own endeavor. Roxy is a vintage-modern restaurant and music venue that delivers classic 1920’s inspired cocktails, locally sourced and internationally influenced share plates, and live music seven nights a week.


Leah Cioth

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