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The Restaurant Industry Chef Shuffles You Need To Know

Plus other important personnel changes

Chef Matt Selby, a veteran of the Denver restaurant scene who spent the bulk of his career at Vesta, has departed from his latest position as executive chef at Bremen’s Wine & Tap. The restaurant opened in June at 2005 West 33rd Avenue, where Selby shared kitchen duties with Isabel Ranney. The restaurant has not returned our request for more information on it. Selby shared that business just didn’t take off as anticipated.

Barman Mike Henderson, known for his award winning cocktail programs at Root Down, Linger, and Ophelia’s, is out of the limelight but still into mixing drinks. As a beverage development specialist for liquor distributor Breakthrough Beverage Group, Henderson gets to not only create new menus for restaurant clients, but he also gets to build his own playground work environment. The group is in the process of completing an “alchemy room,” a full-fledged bar for industry insiders to come to for research and development. The booze lab follows the model the company has built in other cities, including one in Chicago, Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Milwaukee, and Phoenix.

August 15

Chef Aniedra Nichols, who departed from RiNo’s Fish ‘n Beer earlier this summer (see below), has found a home at Silva’s Fish Market. Located inside the Denver Central Market (2669 Larimer Street), Silva’s is a retail fish counter and eatery, originally operated by chef Jesus Silva, after whom it was named. Under Nichols, guests will continue to enjoy the seafood-centric experience undisturbed, but come mid-October, the space will sport a new name and menu, featuring hot food items as well.

Next week, chef Patrick Kelly will show off his cooking skills at his second home since his arrival in Colorado, Wayward (1610 Little Raven Street), a new venture from the Way Back team. Last fall, Kelly moved to Denver from California to take over the kitchen at Panzano. That stint lasted until early this summer and the team at that Italian restaurant is gearing up to announce a new leader.

August 8

Chef Thach Tran, who spent this year leading the culinary program at Stella’s, has joined the team at Ace Eat Serve. A veteran of the dining scene in Denver, with a resume that includes ChoLon, Tran found himself out of a job last Thursday when Stella’s closed after only seven months in business. Restaurateur Josh Wolkon has been looking for a new team member to join his five year old Uptown ping pong hall and eatery and he tapped Tran for that position. As the chef settles into his new role, he will update the menu — and he’ll maybe bring back his famed bahn mí.

July 10

Chef DJ Nagle has taken over the kitchen at Briar Common Brewery, the brewery and gastropub that opened in October of last year at 2298 Clay Street in Jefferson Park. Nagle became a staple of Denver as executive chef both at Humboldt: Farm Fish Wine and at Blue Island Oyster Bar. Nagle joined the team last Friday but guests should expect to find new dishes from the chef very fast. A new menu will be available by Monday, July 24 and will continue to evolve with the seasons.

Territory Kitchen + Bar at the welcomed new executive chef Patrick Czerwinski to its team with a new menu that focuses on Colorado favorites with locally-inspired ingredients. A Colorado native, Czerwinski joins the downtown hotel restaurant loacted at 1400 Welton Street with experiences ranging from full-service catering businesses to multi-venue, full-service, three-and four-diamond hotels and resorts.

July 5

Carrie Baird had her first evening kitchen service as the new executive chef Friday, June 30 at LoHi’s Bar Dough. She recently departed from the paleo-casual Just BE Kitchen, after helping to open the eatery and create the menu. “Carrie has been the person that I’ve wanted for this role for quite some time,” says Bar Dough chef/co-owner Max MacKissock. The two have known one another for nearly 20 years, as Baird explored the kitchen’s of restauranteur/chef Jennifer Jasinski (MacKissock’s spouse), including – Rioja, Euclid Hall, and Stoic & Genuine. Starting her restaurant career in Breckenridge at now shuttered Cafe Alpine’s front-of-the-house, Baird will inject her culinary voice as Bar Dough’s new summer menu rolls out.

Meanwhile, Aniedra Nichols has parted ways with Fish N Beer as chef and managing partner. It remains unseen what she will do next, however, Fish N Beer will be unveiling a new menu, which chef/founder Kevin Morrison says, “It’s what FNB was designed to be.”

June 21

Vincent D’Amato was recently appointed executive chef of Keystone Ranch, the mountain resort shared. D’Amato, who most recently was the owner and executive chef at Uptown Scratch Kitchen in Saint Augustine, Florida, will oversee the evolution of Keystone Ranch, combining his knowledge and experience with a passion for culinary arts that has been inspired by his travels.

June 12

Chef Jesus Silva, who led both Osaka Ramen and Sushi Rama, and launched a namesake seafood counter inside of the Denver Central Market is no longer associated with the three companies. Silva first stepped away from Osaka Ramen and Sushi Rama earlier this year and later decided to have his partners buy him out of Silva’s Fish Market. “I am at a point in my life where I feel like I need to do my own thing and I can’t say that I always had a dream of owning a fish shop. I didn’t. That opportunity came up and I took it but the reality of it wasn’t what I was looking for,” Silva shared. The chef is planning a sushi restaurant that will open (fingers crossed) before the end of the year.

Shaun Motoda, a Hawaii native, who worked for the TAG Restaurant Group for six years and spent the year at Matsuhisa in Cherry Creek now serves as executive Chef for the expansion of Sushi Rama. Kris Keys, whose resume in Denver includes Ototo and Pizza Republica, is handling the operation of Silva’s Fish Market.

June 6

Bigsby’s Folly, a soon-to-open urban winery and tasting room set in RiNo, brought on general manager and winemaker Chris Nelson. Nelson joined this family-owned venture after a decade of making wine in California and New Zealand. Bigsby's Folly will open in the next week at 3563 Wazee Street.

Williams & Graham added Valerie Alvarado to its bartending roster. Alvarado was last bartending at Fireside at Grand Hyatt. She has made a name for herself in Denver competing in bartending challenges and now joins the speakeasy led by barman Sean Kenyon who also recently brought on James Menkal (just scroll down for more info).

Michael Wright joined FIRE Restaurant, Lounge & Terrace as executive chef. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis, Wright comes to the Golden Triangle restaurant from the Brown Palace where he served as executive chef. Some of Wright’s favorite dishes on new menu include the herb-crusted Colorado lamb loin with sweet pea agnolotti that highlights his commitment to local ingredients and a melting chocolate sphere with orange-chocolate mousse that showcases his pastry skill.

May 31

RiNo’s eatery The Preservery welcomed chef Mason Bennett to lead its kitchen. He is replacing opening chef Brendan Russell. An 18 year veteran of restaurant work, Bennett is a native of Boulder where he worked at places like Arugula, Jax, and the acclaimed Basta. He brings a larger focus on small plates and items to share and an emphasis on vegetable-forward items. Sous chef David Hadley, who made a name for himself with his victory on Food Network’s Chopped earlier this year, remains part of the kitchen team and is joined by sous chef Derek Cooper.

May 30

After three and a half years at the Populist, chef and owner Jonathan Power promoted Kathryn Gillette to executive chef. She had been the chef de cuisine for the past year, and has been instrumental in shaping the food and kitchen culture here, according to Power who calls her “a rising star in the Denver culinary scene.”

With that change, the RiNo restaurant also decided to modify its approach to the tasting menu. Previously, a seven course tasting menu had consisted of a mix of daily specials and existing menu items that changed a bit each day. Gillette and the kitchen crew are now tasked with creating a unique set of seven dishes, not available on the a la carte menu, that will run for six to eight weeks at a time. The cost of this menu is $90 for two, with wine pairings available for $30 per person.

May 25

With chef Amos Watts departing Old Major to join upcoming Boulder restaurant Corrida, chef and owner Justin Brunson, announced new leadership roles in the kitchen at Old Major. Willie Mack is stepping into the chef de cuisine role after spending the past 18 months working with Justin as executive sous chef. A Denver native, he graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Jean Georges Spice Market and the Michelin starred Betony in New York City.

Nohe Weir-Villatoro joined the Brunson & Co. team in 2016 as a line cook at Old Major, and recently assisted with the menu overhaul at Masterpiece Kitchen in the Lowry neighborhood. He now returns to Old Major as the executive sous chef. A veteran cook, Weir-Villatoro served as executive chef at King James Public House and the executive sous chef at Zambra Tapas Restaurant and Wine Bar, both in Asheville, NC.

James Menkal
Jennifer Olson

LoHi speakeasy Williams & Graham recently hired bartender James Menkal. California-born and Denver-raised last bartended at EDGE. His resume that also includes stints at Departure and Ste. Ellie.


2785 Iris Avenue, , CO 80304 (303) 443-1365 Visit Website

Ste. Ellie

1553 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 (303) 477-1447 Visit Website


249 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206 (720) 772-5020 Visit Website

Bar Dough

2227 West 32nd Avenue, , CO 80211 (720) 668-8506 Visit Website

Masterpiece Kitchen

, Denver, CO (720) 324-8873


1431 Larimer Street, , CO 80202 (303) 820-2282 Visit Website

Stoic & Genuine

1701 Wynkoop Street, , CO 80202 (303) 640-3474 Visit Website

Fish N Beer

3510 Larimer Street, , CO 80205 (303) 248-3497 Visit Website