*Where are you from?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona; a beautiful, magical, highly austere, amazing desert landscape. In high school, I moved to the crazy kinetic energy of the east coast, around DC. In 2000 I moved to Boulder, transferring to Naropa, where I studied religion and the Sanskrit language. Naropa had a profound impact on who I am, and how I look at life.
*Can you tell me about your experience at Naropa?
I took an amazing variety of classes, like plant spirit medicine, shamanism and tai chi, all sorts of crazy things. Through religious studies, I was given a much better sense of the human system. It is really complex, diverse and sacred. My draw towards Reiki as a healing practice was there all along.
*When did you begin working in restaurants?
I worked at a couple places in Tucson, then I worked at the Greenbriar Inn for eight and a half years before I came to The Kitchen. At The Kitchen, my sense of value towards service increased, hospitality became something that I loved, and wanted to do for a long time.
*What are your personal philosophies regarding hospitality and service?
Hospitality is about knowing yourself, being comfortable in your skin, and being able to be authentic. It means knowing your limitations, being able to move past them, and being able to hear another person. The ability to create an amazing experience at the table is directly related to this, and at The Kitchen, service is held to such a high degree, its hard to not want to move into excellence.
*You’ve been studying wine?
I just passed my intro exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Wine is awesome, wine is a story, and its been around since antiquity, parallel to humanity.
*Tell me about Fort Collins?
Fort Collins is an intimate space on the walking mall, similar to Boulder. New Belgium worked with us to pair a saison with our food. It was the first time that New Belgium had ever done anything like that. It’s been a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to developing more ties in the Fort Collins community. Our Head Chef Joel Ryan has lived in Fort Collins for 12 years, and has formed long-standing relationships with local farmers. He’s been talking with them for months now, they’re planting for us, and plan to harvest throughout the year.
*Are you a “foodie”?
I think it’s a term that’s being thrown out a lot, and I’m not sure what it means. I love well-prepared food, and I love well-prepared drink. I don’t know if I would say that I’m a “foodie,” but do I love going to restaurants, sitting down and relaxing with friends, and having an experience created for me. Yeah, absolutely.
Interview and photo by Veronika Sprinkel