The Culinary Arts Program Chef Instructors
Chef John began his storied career with eight years in the restaurant industry in Denver, San Francisco, and Germany. To expand upon his inherent talent, John attended Cook Street’s Professional Culinary Program in 2005. After establishing himself as a respected Personal Chef he returned just six months after graduation to join Cook Street as a Recreational Class Chef Instructor. He worked his way up to Lead Chef Instructor and in 2012 was promoted into the Professional Culinary Arts Program. In January 2014 he was assigned the prestigious role of Executive Chef Instructor for the school. He brings to us an invaluable sense of creativity, passion, and fathomless knowledge. Combined with his patient demeanor he is the ideal instructor to usher our students into their new culinary endeavors. Read the Denver Westword’s Chef & Tell blog about Chef Parks, here
Growing up in a big Italian family from Fishkill, New York, food was the focal point of every get together. Chef Jenna learned from a young age just how important, and celebratory, food can be. Her love for pastries and the culinary arts started at those family meals and continued to grow with time. Chef Jenna started her culinary journey in a small bakery at the age of 15 washing dishes and baking cookies for the lunch rush. She then went to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and obtained an Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) where she learned the ins and outs of specialty breads, chocolates and confections, and menu development. From then on, Chef Jenna has worked in high production bakeries and as the Assistant Director of a flavor company where teaching the science and components of a flavor to future clients became her passion. After obtaining her Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificate, she moved to Denver, Colorado where she worked at Mercantile as the Assistant Pastry Chef, and Etalia as a Gluten-free bread baker. It was here that she began honing her craft and learning the science of every dessert and bread she could get her hands on. This journey led Chef Jenna to Cook Street where her passion for pastries and love for explaining the what, why and how, come together as one.
Chef Cindy Eger brings 25 years of extensive experience in the bar and restaurant industry with her to Cook Street. In early 2014, Cindy chose to formally pursue her true passions of wine and cooking, and she found Cook Street’s Professional Culinary Program to be the perfect fit. Since graduation, Cindy joined the Cook Street staff as an Assistant Chef Instructor with the professional program, and has since taken charge of both the professional and recreational wine programs. She is a current Level 2 Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine, Professional Member of the Society of Wine Educators, and is constantly striving for further advanced certifications in her field. Drawing from her travels in France, Germany, and Italy, Chef Cindy offers a sincere passion and an ever-expanding knowledge of wine, spirits, and food to all of our students, with the enthusiasm you’ve come to expect from the Cook Street Chefs
Recreational Class & Event Chef Instructors
Chef Claire developed a passion for food at a young age, and growing up in the rocky mountains of Colorado, she developed an interest for foraging and preparing Colorado’s local ingredients. Many years later Claire attended Johnson & Wales University graduating Magna Cum Laude with and Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Food Service Management and Entrepreneurship. Claire’s work experience is primarily in fine dining and she is drawn to the “farm to table” movement and to New American cuisine. A huge world traveler, Claire has been to over 20 countries including: Malaysia, Korea, Australia, Ireland, France, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Claire’s travels have taught her that food creates universal connection, “where ever I am and who ever I meet no matter how different we are, or how different our culinary tastes are, we all connect because we all have a favorite recipe, meal, or food experience that has impacted us.” Claire was drawn to teaching because she loves sparking excitement and an interest in creating great food as well as helping others find joy, humor, and a sense of accomplishment from the process.
After graduating from Cook Street’s Professional Culinary Program in 2014 Chef Christa was excited to put her new skills to use. As a self-proclaimed foodie with a passion for art and history she was a natural fit for the program, blending her attention to detail with a deeper appreciation for beauty. Chef Christa can guide you through the simplicity of a roast chicken as well as the complexity of a rich Mole. Her travels have taken her all over the world, most recently on the European Culinary Tour in Parma, Italy with Cook Street’s Culinary Arts Program. Her worldly experience with food makes her a dynamic tool in the Cook Street kitchens and you can find her in classes all the way from Knife Skills to Mexican cuisine. Her warm personality draws people together and she loves discovering how food can bring people together every single night!
Knowing she wanted to work with food her whole life, Chef Cada found her place of passion within the wholesome, slow-food sector of the culinary industry. Her love of things fresh and local extends far beyond food as she is passionate about urban homesteading, gardening, and raising livestock. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in both Culinary Arts and Clinical Nutrition, Cada attended culinary school in Lima, Peru where she grew to appreciate the sustainable practices of ancient Andean culture and strives to encourage those she teaches the same. An avid food photographer and video blogger, Cada enjoys sharing nutritional fun facts and pro-tips both online and in the classes she teaches.
Chef Peter is an alumnus of Cook Street’s Professional Culinary Arts Program, January 2015 term. Shortly after graduation, Peter was hired on to the Cook Street team as an Assistant Chef Instructor for the Recreational Class Program. He has since worked hard and through passion and dedication, Peter has now become a full fledged Chef instructor and leads classes with passion and pride. Peter also has a thriving Personal Chef business and additionally owns a successful family operated business. Peter has honed great teaching techniques by mirroring how he was taught by our own Executive Chef Instructor, John Parks, in the Professional Program. Peter is very knowledgeable and cooks from the heart which translates directly to our guests when the join us for a class!
A passionate home cook for over 20 years, Chef Chris completed the Cook Street Professional Culinary Program in 2015. His knowledge of classic Italian and French cuisine comes from raw curiosity, eager experimentation as well as his travels overseas. Chef Chris is also a Certified Specialist in Wine and holds many wine studies and wine making certificates. His primary love is Italian wines, and was fortunate enough to travel throughout Tuscany and participate in making wine near Siena. He has a breadth of wine knowledge that brings the food and wine experience together in a thoughtful way for his guests and students.
Tara attended Cook Street’s Culinary Arts Program in December of 2011 and used her culinary education as a new tool in her professional arsenal. With a successful career in restaurant operations from corporate to independent – and front to back of the house, Tara has a well-rounded perspective on leadership standards, employee development, and industry expectations. She is a current Level I Sommelier with the International Sommelier Guild and a Level 1 Cicerone – Certified Beer Server. She sits on the Association Board of Directors for the American Culinary Federation CO Chefs Association and strives to continue to advance her prowess as a dynamic cuilnarian and a well-rounded leader. Tara heads up Cook Street’s administrative team and uses her industry experience and networking connections to continue to grow and develop the school and increase community involvement and brand awareness.
Hillary joins Cook Street’s Administrative team as our Student Services and Alumni Coordinator. Her experience in admissions as well as marketing merge with her natural affinity for fine cuisine to make her the ideal counselor to guide you through your culinary experience at Cook Street. She comes to us with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania – a program that took her to Spain in a study abroad program. Thus began her exposure to the most important culinary regions of the world. Her organization, kind demeanor, and attentiveness combine with her worldly knowledge to make her a wonderful contribution to the Cook Street team.
Mindi came to Denver in 2008 for her second year of AmeriCorps, and she has been working with both the nonprofit and hospitality industries ever since. Getting her start with Denver favorites, Duo and Olivea, she’s worked with some of Colorado’s best Chefs and restaurants to create a gold star standard for front of the house service. Mindi joined the Cook Street team in 2015 as a host for recreational classes and private events. She has since risen to the role of Event Coordinator and Front of the House Manager. Since attaining the position, she’s combined her passion for community outreach with her professional goals and aspirations. She loves travel, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, and a well-chilled bubbly Syrah.