DAN WITHERSPOON is the owner and Executive Chef of The Seasoned Chef Cooking School. He is dedicated to teaching enthusiastic home chefs the culinary skills and techniques that will “change their life in the kitchen”. For 31 years, Dan has worked as a professional chef and culinary instructor, working his way up from apprenticeship under celebrated Belgian Chef, Henri Bergmans, to executive chef positions in Southern California and the Denver area. His parent company, The Witherspoon Group, Inc. also does business as The Gourmet Spoon, specializing in Corporate Team Building, Private Cooking Classes for all ages, and Gourmet Custom Catering. Please visit The Gourmet Spoon at: thegourmetspoon.com.
MARY HOULEHAN, Manager and Marketing Director, became part of our team in the Fall of 2011. Mary is a seasoned marketing professional and holds an extensive, award-winning background in Journalism and Art Direction during her time in Los Angeles, Seattle and the Chicago area. She has also received National Awards of Excellence for her participation and reporting of the response and recovery of Hurricane Katrina and the California Energy Crisis and is still regularly approached for advisement in both local and emergency management. Having a family history, personal passion and professional background in the Culinary field, with a top, family-owned restaurant in Europe, Sur La Table, Wine Business Monthly and Shun Cutlery, Mary is a perfect fit in The Seasoned Chef and Gourmet Spoon's efforts to continue to grow, innovate and move forward in both the corporate and recreational arenas.
CATHY HAROKOPIS is a accomplished cook who lives in Laramie, Wyoming. Feeling the need to get out of the house after her husband retired 12 years ago, she attended the techniques series at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, where she met Dan Witherspoon, her culinary mentor. She went on to work at a bakery for 5 years in Laramie, where she was responsible for the homemade soup served at lunch everyday. Many of her travels also involve culinary adventure. She has taken cooking classes in Mexico; Oaxaca and the Yucatan – and a week of culinary indulgence and classes in Italy. She teaches an occasional class at The Copper Kettle, a kitchen store in Laramie, and does some catering for food starved Wyomingites.
AMY HOYT, Chef de Cuisine of The Gourmet Spoon began her culinary career nearly 25 years ago. She honed her professional skills working at Strings and then Zenith under Kevin Taylor. In 1991 she opened the popular Bobby Dazzler Bakery. named Best of Westword in 1993, 1994 and 1995. Her bakery was famous for its breads, wedding cakes, and American-style desserts. Her favorites are from her collection of old family recipes. Chef Amy has taught classes for more than 14 years and loves sharing her passion for simple food made with the best ingredients and lots of love.
KEITH JONES, “The Champagne Chef” with the big personality, feeds all the senses while sharing twenty-three years of culinary artistry and chef’s secrets through his “Eatertainment” presentations. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Chef Keith studied under certified Master Chef, Edward Janos for eight years, learning classical French cuisine and techniques. “Edward is my mentor and I owe my culinary skills to him. He took a genuine interest in me at an early age and created the foundation that my career is based upon today.” Chef Keith was certified as an Executive Chef in December 1999 and has served at several prestigious country clubs. He has won several medals in culinary salons in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Colorado, including the grand prize in the Clos Du Bois Wine and Food Pairing competition. He keeps his participants spellbound with his unique sense of humor and wealth of culinary knowledge.
SHELLIE KARK, chef and culinary educator, Chef Shellie is passionately dedicated to instilling renewed joy and communion through cooking by bringing friends, families and loved ones back to the table. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Chef Kark has worked in a number of renowned restaurants including La Folie in San Francisco and Seattle’s Dahlia Lounge. She has an AOS degree from the California Culinary Academy, is a certified Chef of Wine Arts and certified Sommelier. Returning to her native Denver, Chef Kark established the Cook Street School of Fine Cooking where she was the Chef de Cuisine and taught the Professional Food & Wine Career Program. Chef Kark is the co-founder of the DVD-based KitchenCUE™, the future for in-home culinary education.
DEVIN LAMMA, a native of Virginia, has lived in Colorado for eight years. He combines 20 years of food industry experience with a degree in education to inspire others about cooking. Influenced by Thomas Keller, Michael Pollan and Anthony Bourdain, Devin leads culinary team building events, cooking classes and private tastings. Devin spent 6 months in 2009 travelling in Tuscany studying sustainable and organic farming. He continues these travels each year, learning new specialties and sponsors other like-minded individuals.
ANDREW LUBATTY was born in Southampton, NY and began his culinary career at the age of thirteen working summers in local restaurants. After graduating from high school he attended music school at Berklee College of Music in Boston and continued dividing his time between music and cooking. At the age of 28 he decided to become a chef and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Upon graduation Andrew apprenticed at the four diamond Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona, Arizona. Looking for new culinary challenges, Andrew took his first executive chef job for a corporate restaurant, Sfuzzi. His responsibilities included management consulting, menu development and opening new locations. Andrew moved to Denver in 1997 and took a position at The Avenue Grill where he is now Executive Chef. The San Francisco style restaurant is the perfect backdrop for his style of New American cuisine with Asian and Italian accents. He has appeared on local television spots as well as teaching cooking classes. He is a Certified Executive Chef by the American Culinary Federation and has received numerous awards for his works at culinary competitions. www.avenuegrill.com
SCOTT McCLELLAND, Manager of Operations for The Gourmet Spoon. A 3rd generation native of Colorado, Scott McClelland started his culinary life in the kitchen of his mother's restaurant, ‘The Happy Cooker’ in Georgetown, and has been a foodie ever since. As a teen, Scott began working for Le Petit Gourmet Catering where he learned his fine service skills from the master of catering, Bill Bown. Scott was then chosen to manage some of the grandest parties in Denver’s history including the Royal Family, the Papal visit, Summit of the Eight, and six, sitting American Presidents. One of his most exciting experiences was cooking with the legendary Julia Child. His love of fine food and impeccable service continue today, where he is indispensable at The Gourmet Spoon.
CHERYL ROJIC is a board certified holistic health and nutrition coach. After years of being a personal chef for clients with chronic health issues, and having beaten cancer twice herself, she knows the importance of the connection between nutrition, healing and health. Cheryl now works to educate and empower clients through bio-individual nutrition for not just the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Her specialty is assisting and guiding cancer patients in all stages toward their health and life intentions. For more information, please see www.intentionalhealthcoach.com
DEB TRAYLOR is an extremely motivated chef, who has knowledge in all areas of the food industry. Chef Deb is also the owner and manager of A Divine Dish in Longmont, Colorado and writes a food blog called ‘ The Tasty Bits’. She has managed private kitchens, coordinated culinary camps for teens, and managed muti-station banquets for large celebrations. Throughout her career, Chef Deb has had a muti-faceted experience in all areas of the industry. She is also an advocate of using local produce, building relationships with local farms and artisan food producers. She received her Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and graduated from the professional culinary arts program at The Culinary School of the Rockies.