Now Announcing Our 8th Season!
New Chefs – New Attitude
Join Leigh Sullivan Enterprises and FIVE™ throughout our 8th season as we return to our roots with Colorado’s elite team of tastemakers.
A labor of love, FIVE™ is a Leigh Sullivan Enterprises concept that sprung from a deep admiration for the city of Denver and its ever-evolving culinary tradition. On behalf of each deserving Denver restaurateur, FIVE™ hopes to assert our city’s rightful place in the national spotlight.
The 2015 line up includes: Aniedra Nichols, alumna chef and executive chef at Elway’s Cherry Creek; John Depierro, executive chef at Bones; Noah French, co-owner and executive pastry chef at Sugarmill; Kevin Grossi, chef de cuisine at Lola Mexican Fish House; and Enrique Socarras, executive chef at Suehiro Old Town. The Denver FIVE experience, which is set to include five unique dining experiences throughout the city, will be enhanced by beverage gurus Gerard Collier, bar manager at Pinche Taco and Aaron Forman, owner and sommelier at Table 6. Stay tuned for announcements on the upcoming event from the Denver FIVE, Class of 2015.
Since 2008, FIVE™ has been a dedicated collaboration between Colorado’s most influential chefs in an effort to put our state’s exceptional regional cuisine on the national culinary map. A select group — chosen by Leigh Sullivan Enterprises — our FIVE™ chefs exemplify the passion, creativity and purpose that have become the staple of the Denver dining.
Download the full story on FIVE™ and how the project came to be: 2013 Five Article.
Enrique Socarras was born to Cuban exiles, and raised in Miami, Florida. While growing up, he was exposed to the dynamic Cuban food culture, and enjoyed the dishes from generations of women in his family, including his mom, who is an excellent cook. Through this family culture, Socarras was able to see firsthand how impactful food is to a family, a community and a culture, overall.
Growing up in Miami, Socarras was also exposed to a variety of ethnic foods and quickly developed a passion for food in general. At 14, he landed his first job, prepping and dishwashing at a neighborhood restaurant. When he turned 23, he moved to Denver to open Cuba Cuba – a funky Cuban restaurant in the Golden Triangle – whose kitchen he helmed for a decade. He has made Denver home, and is always seeking ways to integrate Cuba with his adopted city. Through his passion for food and creativity, he’s pushed the boundaries of Cuban and Latin cuisine, without losing touch of their origins.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Socarras enjoys spending time with his two daughters, and that involves a lot of glitter, painting nails and Monster High. He also enjoys fishing and snorkeling and in a perfect world, would have more time for painting and working out.
Suehiro Old Town
Kevin Grossi is the Chef de Cuisine at Lola Mexican Fish House – a Big Red F Restaurant Group restaurant – and a true Midwestern boy, having grown up in Michigan. He knew his path to be a professional chef, from an early age, wasting no time starting a cooking career by enrolling in the Schoolcraft College culinary program in Livonia, Michigan right after high school graduation. From there, the quest to eat, learn and work under amazing chefs like Brain Polcyn and Joseph Decker, became an addiction.
With time in Boston, San Diego and Vail, Grossi finally settled in Denver, where he cooked at Tamayo, Zengo, The Coral Room, Parisi’s, Jax Fish
House and Lola – cultivating most of his Denver experience with the Big Red F group. His hard work, diligent effort and knack for putting bold flavors together, made him the ideal chef to open Jax Fish House in Fort Collins. There, he rekindled his relationship with farmers, showed the town a true fish to farm to table approach, and established Jax as a powerhouse in the northern Colorado community. Now, he’s back in Denver, ready to take Lola to new places with a focus on the local bounty and his unique perspective on Mexican Fish House fare.
When not in the kitchen, Grossi spends his time maintaining relationships with farmers in Fort Collins and across the front range, shredding on snowcapped mountains, enjoying his mountain bike and tending to his garden.
Lola Mexican Fish House
Noah French, a native of New Jersey, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. His pastry chef career began shortly afterwards with the opening of Disney’s Grand Floridian Beach Resort, the Yacht & Beach Club and the Team Disney Corporate Dining Room.
His pastry chef mentor, Chef Colavita, recommended French to be the assistant pastry chef at The Palace Hotel in Sun City, South Africa and there, he was involved in the pre-opening and opening phases of the hotel, and responsible for the daily operations of the pastry shop until Colavita arrived. After returning to the U.S., French began work at the prestigious New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. He oversaw the production of desserts for both of their restaurants, as well as banquet facilities, which catered up to 1000 people.
In 1996, he was recruited by Roy Yamaguchi as the Corporate Pastry Chef for his Hawaii restaurants. As Yamaguchi expanded his restaurants to the mainland, French moved to San Diego and was responsible for the opening and pastry training for 24 of Roy’s Restaurants during his 12 year tenure.
French then joined the famed Setai Hotel on Miami’s South Beach. There, he worked with Chef Jonathan Wright, who 2 years later recruited French to go with him to Barbados, to be the Executive Pastry Chef at the Sandy Lane Hotel. At that time, Chef Troy Guard and French began long distance talks about opening a dessert and restaurant concept in Denver. Wanting to fulfill a career-long goal of opening his own dessert bar, French moved to Denver, where he’s currently the Pastry Chef/Owner of Sugarmill.
In his free time, French enjoys mountain biking and scouring thrift shops for cool finds.
John DePierro is the Executive Chef at Bones, a Frank Bonanno restaurant in Denver. At Bones – an eclectic noodle bar inspired by French, Asian and Spanish cuisines – DePierro orchestrates an open kitchen where small plates, large format dishes and decadent noodle bowls take the stage.
With 36 seats, DePierro and his crew offer a single page meny bright with seasonal vegetables, fermented umami flavors, deep sauces, rich broths, fresh-flown seafood and thoughtfully sourced meats.
DePierro received his formal cooking education from the Art Institute of Denver, and honed his skills at Row 14, TAG and AIX, before landing at Bones, where he’s been the Executive Chef for over two years. His cooking style, which he describes as ‘classic techniques without boundaries’ stems from a childhood ripe with cultural influences and family roots in Italy, Puerto Rico and Texas. When he’s not cooking, DePierro enjoys spending time with his dog, collecting cookbooks, attending concerts and traveling.
From the front of the house, to the kitchen, Chef Aniedra Nichols has spent most of her adult life learning her craft from some of Denver’s finest chefs and restaurateurs. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Nichols graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2003 and met Elway’s Culinary Director and FIVE™ alumni, Tyler Wiard, during an externship. Following school, she joined Wiard at the acclaimed Mel’s Bar and Grill, which led to a general manager position at Bistro Vendôme in Larimer Square, with James Beard Award-Winning Chef, Jennifer Jasinski. In 2007, Nichols rejoined Wiard in the kitchen of Elway’s Cherry Creek, where she was promoted to Executive Chef in 2013.
In her free time, Nichols enjoys going to dinner with friends, focusing on the newest spots to open in Denver. When the weather is gorgeous, she likes to be outside and when it’s not [which doesn’t happen often in this part of the country, enjoys reading inside.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Born and raised in Japan, Gerard Collier moved to Hawaii at the age of 13. Growing up, his love for cars led him to pursue a career as an Automotive Technician, which he later chose to switch to a university major in Hospitality & Tourism. Collier worked at multiple restaurants during high school, first as a dishwasher, then line cook and on to the front of the house. He began working as a glass polisher at the world-renowned Roy’s Restaurant in Honolulu, and eventually worked his way up to bartender. He also helped open and manage a well-known teppan-yaki restaurant from Tokyo – Jinroku Pacific – in Waikiki.
In 2011, Collier left Hawaii to continue his career in the food and beverage industry, landing in Denver. He’s worked as a bar manager for Denver’s esteemed TAG Restaurant, among others, and now holds that position at the beloved Pinche Tacos’ original location on York Street.
A 2014 Restaurant Hospitality Magazine Best Cocktails in America nominee, a 2014 Toques & ‘Tails Judges’ Choice Best Pairing award winner, a 2013 Toques & ‘Tails People’s Choice Best Cocktail award winner, and a 2013 Westword Denver People’s Choice Best Bartender award, Collier has been rightfully recognized for his skill behind the bar.
Fluent in both English and Japanese, he can also hold a great conversation with you in either language!
Continuing a long familial line of pastry chefs and bread bakers, Chef Nadine Donovan’s passion for pastry was instilled at a very young age. Born in London, Ontario, Chef Donovan wound up in Denver after her parents took the scenic route through America on their way to British Columbia. Donovan’s first exposure to the restaurant industry came at fourteen, when she was hired to scoop ice cream at Parisi, which allowed her to experiment with pastries and desserts throughout her high school years. Chef Donovan eventually found herself at Fuel café, owned by a former co-worker at Parisi, Chef Bob Blair. After studying pastry at Johnson & Wales and brief stints in Hawaii and Portland, Chef Donovan was contacted by Chef Justin Brunsen who was looking for a young talent to helm his pastry department. Chef Donovan relocated to Colorado to open Old Major where her dedication to her craft has earned her accolades from Westword and 5280 Magazine.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
From her beginnings in Louisiana to her stunning career in Colorado, Chef Elise Wiggins has purposely and progressively moved up the culinary ladder, honing her skills and developing the talents that have won her, and her home at Panzano, numerous awards for fine dining. Chef Wiggins began her career in Dallas in the front of the house, but it wasn’t long before she made the move to Colorado to attend the Art Institute’s culinary program, graduating with honors. Following school, Chef Wiggins spent half a year traveling through Central America, which led her to the Westin Rio Mar Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico where she led the kitchen as Chef de Cuisine at the resort’s four-diamond rated restaurant, Palio. Since making her way back to the Mile High City, Chef Wiggins has caused quite a stir being named as the 2005 Colorado Chef the Year by the American Culinary Federation and her restaurant, Panzano, was awarded 4 out of 4 stars and included in the Top 25 Restaurants in Denver by 5280 Magazine.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Chef Carrie Blake’s love for food became apparent back in 1995 when she started working in the bakery department of Colorado grocery store chain, Wild Oats. Chef Blake immersed herself in an organic lifestyle while learning about the Farm-to-Table movement before packing her suitcase and heading for San Francisco in 1997. It was there that Chef Blake grew as a creative culinary force, enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu and training in various kitchens in the Bay Area. In 2006, hearing the call of the mountains, she returned home to Colorado where she began working at Table 6, where she has been ever since. Chef Blake is now the executive chef of one of Denver’s most respected restaurants.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
A Colorado native, Jenna Johansen had an interest in cooking professionally since childhood. She has earned her reputation as one of Denver’s top chefs by following her passion and sharing her love of food with all of her clients. Jenna has traveled the world including spending a year working in Tuscany for a family owned restaurant, where the nightly menus were determined by selecting the freshest seasonal ingredients from the local market, and her appearance on the Bravo Television show, Around the World in 80 Plates. With stints on her resume including Zino Ristorante and Ventura Grille, she is a regular in the Denver food scene and frequently serves as a judge for cooking competitions locally and nationally. Today, Jenna is the Innovation Chef at Epicurean Group, where her focus is developing exciting new dishes and enjoys pushing the culinary envelope.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
A native Coloradan, Matt started his culinary career at an early age, working at corporate restaurants before moving into some of the most influential kitchens in Denver, including his 15 years at Vesta Dipping Grill, Steuben’s Food Service, and Ace. Eat. Serve. Community service is a passion for Chef Selby—winner of the Noel Cunningham Award for Outstanding Commitment to Ending Childhood Hunger in Colorado—who strives to be a positive influence on the chefs and culinary students he continues to regularly mentor. You can find Chef Selby at Central Bistro in LoHi.
Chef Ian Kleinman is a Colorado native and has been cooking in some of the state’s most beloved restaurants since he was seven years old. 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. 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.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
The Inventing Room
It seems that Denver natives are as rare as the white truffle, but Denver-born Jorel Pierce is the exception that proves the rule, even graduating from Johnson and Wales University in the Mile High City. Kitchen stints as diverse as Le Manoir aux Quat Saison in Oxford, England, Willie G’s and other chain operations in Denver led Pierce to the kitchen of Rioja as a line cook where he told the other cooks he would be sous chef in just a few weeks. Chef Jasinski promoted him after 18 months and he has never looked back. As Chef de Cuisine at Euclid Hall, Jorel explores his creative style of cooking and love of butchery.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Deemed as one of Denver’s top chef’s with a passion for Latin influenced cuisine, Yontz began his culinary career over eighteen years ago at the Rattlesnake Club in Denver. Under the supervision of Jimmy Schmidt, Dean of southwestern cuisine, Yontz was promoted to sous chef after working every station in the kitchen. From Rattlesnake, Yontz went on to open a slew of Denver institutions, Vega Restaurant, Tamayo, Zenith and served as the director of operations for Café Iguana, Brasserie Z, Dandelion, Palettes, Jou Jou and Restaurant Kevin Taylor. Born in East Los Angeles and raised in Denver, Yontz credits his parents and Hispanic heritage for his passion for traditional Mexican fare which he now proudly serves at El Diablo.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Chef Brian Laird of Sarto’s is a Northern California native who is widely lauded as a master of Northern Italian cuisine. Having moved to Denver in 1994 to work with renowned chef Kevin Taylor, he was hired away two years later by the owner of Barolo Grill, which Brian established as a Denver standout during his 14-year tenure as executive chef. After leaving Barolo in 2010, Brian successfully launched and consulted on more than a half-dozen restaurant concepts in Colorado, including El Diablo, Deno’s Mountain Bistro, Highland Tap & Burger, The Armoury, and Sketch, which won the Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant in 2012. His reputation and strong following, amongst patrons and media alike, are well earned with over two decades dedicated to refining his craft, resulting in dozens of local and national accolades. Listed in the inaugural publication of “Best Chefs America,” Brian is also one of the esteemed chefs known as the Denver FIVE, a group that represents the local culinary scene at events around the country, including at the James Beard House in New York City.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in New Jersey, Jonathan made his way into the kitchen by helping his mother cook daily meals for his extended family. Like many professionals however, Greschler’s aspirations to become a writer kept him from fully committing to the industry until a fateful Saturday lunch service and a bottle of 1972 Corton-Charlemagne. Over the next 12 years, Greschler tested with both the Court of Sommeliers and with the International Wine Guild to become a sommelier and has overseen wine programs at many of Denver’s finest establishments including Proto’s, TAG, and the eagerly anticipated Old Major.
The only Chef returning for his fifth consecutive year, Chef Tyler Wiard honed his considerable talent in several of the country’s hottest kitchens alongside legendary chefs such as David and Stephen Rosenthal, Michael Mina and Michel Richard. At Denver’s acclaimed Napa Café and Mel’s Restaurant and Bar, Wiard earned a reputation for imaginative, exciting and superbly balanced food. Now with over five years at the helm of Denver top steakhouse, Elway’s Cherry Creek, Wiard has continued his pattern of excellence garnering acclaimed reviews in Denver’s top print publications. Chef Waird has made multiple television appearances and has been featured in Cooking with Paula Deen magazine and recently helped open Elway’s in Vail.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Elway’s Cherry Creek
Many know Chef Morrison as the proud owner and operator of Pinche Tacos, Westword’s 2012 Best New Restaurant of the Year winner. But prior to opening Pinche Tacos, Morrison was the founder of Red Tomato Specialty Produce and co-founded the Spicy Pickle Sub Shop in 1999 as well as co-founding of Spicy Pickle Franchising in 2003. Chef Morrison’s culinary career includes stints at Vinci Restaurant in Chicago and Barolo Grill in Denver. In 2010 Kevin left the restraints of corporate life to develop other grass root food concepts including the Pinche Taco Food Truck and Restaurant that has garnered accolades from 5280, Epicurious, Westword and Bon Appetit.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Brandon Biederman was born and raised outside Chicago, Illinois where his culinary career began as a prep cook at a local steak house at the age of 13. He attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he earned his degree in Hotel Restaurant Management, serving everything from fine French cuisine, to local Southwest specialties. Shortly after graduation, Biederman moved to Denver and made his way through the kitchen ranks to Executive Chef of Steuben’s, the latest addition to the Vesta Dipping Grill family. At Steuben’s, Chef Biederman presents his take on Regional American Classics using the highest quality ingredients.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Ace. Eat. Serve
Originally from Taos, New Mexico, Hosea’s passion to cook professionally drove him to work his way up the restaurant ranks for the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Kevin Taylor, Sean Yontz and Dave Query at Jax Fish House in Boulder. Since his tenure at Jax, Hosea has taken his culinary skills beyond the restaurant opening Blackbelly Catering in 2011, a full service catering company that draws from fresh, seasonal ingredients, including naturally raised animals and produce from Hosea’s Blackbelly farm. Hosea has won numerous awards and accolades over the course of his career including his crowning as the season five winner of Bravo’s Top Chef.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Part of the new breed of entrepreneurial professional chefs, Massachusetts- born Mark DeNittis is a first-generation Italian-American who grew up surrounded by the food of his European heritage. As founder of Il Mondo Vecchio, Colorado’s only USDA inspected Salumeria, DeNittis handcrafts and dry-cures meats such as peppered veal bacon and duck breast prosciutto for his Front Range clientele. As passionate about education as he is about his trade, DeNittis was also a former Chef Instructor at Johnson & Wales University and currently teaches artisanal butchery classes from his facility near downtown Denver.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Cook Street School Of Culinary Arts
Bryan Dayton’s passion for the cocktail is reflected in his growing list of accomplishments. A bartender with over 15 years of experience, he is also a certified Sommelier and has graduated from the Beverage Alcohol Resource Program (BAR) with honors. Prior to opening OAK at Fourteenth, Dayton oversaw the beverage program at Boulder’s acclaimed Frasca Food & Wine, while owning his own cocktail catering service, Sweet & Sour Cocktails. Dayton has been featured in several prominent publications, including Vanity Fair, Men’s Journal, 5280, Westword, and The Denver Post.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
OAK at Fourteenth
Hailing from the Washington D.C. metro area, Chef Jamey Fader began his Denver culinary career in 1996 as part of the team that opened Jax Fish House, immediately setting a new standard for fresh seafood in landlocked Colorado. In 2002, Jamey joined forces with Colorado restaurateur and dining visionary Dave Query to open Lola, which quickly gained popularity and won numerous local and national accolades including rave reviews from Food & Wine magazine. Focusing on coastal Mexican fare, Fader’s menus reflect the rich food culture of the Yucatán, Oaxaca, Pacific and Gulf Coast regions of Mexico. Fader is currently the culinary director for the six highly acclaimed restaurants within Dave Query’s Big Red F Restaurant Group.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Big Red F
After growing up in New York’s Hudson Valley, Chef Paul Reilly moved to Colorado to attend CU-Boulder but quickly found that the chef’s life was his calling. He packed up for Telluride, where he worked at Allred’s and 221 South Oak. Reilly moved back to New York to hone his craft and enrolled at the esteemed French Culinary Institute. In 2004, Reilly moved back to Denver to help open Mirepoix and became Executive Chef of Encore on Colfax in 2007. At Encore, Reilly takes inspiration from his youth in the lush Hudson Valley, sourcing the highestquality ingredients and putting his unique riff on new American cuisine.VIEW CHEF WEBSITE
Beast + Bottle
FIVE’s youngest member began her culinary career in San Diego watching her mother baking holiday cookies and birthday cakes. Chef Scott took her first job in the industry in La Jolla, California, where tenacity landed her a position in the pastry department under the former Executive Chef of Jean-Georges, Tony DiSalvo. She made the large leap from pastry to sushi, but quickly decided that the world of precise measurements and sugar work was a better fit and continued to hone her pastry craft throughout California. In January of 2010, Scott made the move to Denver where she landed at the TAG Restaurant Group where her desserts won accolades in 5280 Magazine, Westword and Details magazine.
Professional Pastry Personality
Sponsorship means supporting your city. It means supporting its culture. But above all, being a sponsor of FIVE™ means supporting our philosophy—a philosophy founded on the belief that geography does not determine a world-class culinary experience. With the right talent, the right passion and a little help and encouragement from the people that believe in you, it is FIVE’s™ belief that together we can take Denver to even greater heights. Contact us about Sponsorship opportunities.