Learn from the best in the industry as they take you along to combine their passions of wine, food and the great outdoors. You wont just sip, sniff and swirl with them – you’ll ride down a mountain or hike up a trail with them. Engage with winemakers, vineyard owners and Master Sommeliers in their element in both a professional and recreational setting for so much more than a lecture.
Hi, I’m Ashley! Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee and an official resident of Summit County, Colorado for a year. I’ve always been in love with the mountains, spending my formative years exploring the Great Smoky Mountains. After spending a fair amount of time in the Rockies I decided it was time to graduate to bigger mountains so here I am exploring all the beauty that Colorado has to offer.
I began guiding Fat Bike Tours with Ridden shortly after arriving in Summit County and love having the opportunity to get out and enjoy the scenery while making new friends on each tour.
I look forward to riding with you!
The Cheese Shop of Breckenridge
Courtney and her family moved to Breckenridge to open their cheese shop in 2015. She has great energy and a love for cheese and education. Her knowledge of cheese and pairings is constantly growing and she’s excited to share it with all. Making gourmet memories in the mountains is what she does best.
Leanne is a Southern girl, who lived in the beautiful Pacific Northwest for the last 16 years, where she discovered her love of wine. In 2013, she made the departure from her 21-year corporate career to pursue new horizons, which ultimately led her to her dream career – in wine! She enjoys sharing her passion for wine with customers from all over the world and is thrilled to be part of the up-and-coming Colorado wine region. Besides wine, her other passions are food, art, traveling, fashion, and being active, especially skiing and hiking!
Todd Nelson started working in the restaurant industry in 1982 at 16 years of age as a prep cook and dishwasher with TGI Fridays in Dallas Texas. Restaurants and food became a passion for Todd and after several years working through the ranks of the industry and holding most every position in a restaurant Todd moved his focus to a more formal education and graduated from Culinary Institute of America in 1994.
Immediately after graduation Todd moved to Zurich Switzerland working at the Michelin Starred, Restaurant Sihlhalde. After 2 years of working in Europe Todd returned to Dallas in 1996 and headed the kitchen of Mi Piaci, a fine dining Italian concept.
When it was time for Todd to become an Owner/Operator in 2001 Todd felt the Town of Breckenridge, Colorado a place he and his family enjoyed vacationing would be an ideal venue for his skills. Eventually Todd along with his two business partners opened four independent restaurant concepts in Breckenridge, Colorado; Giampietro Pizza and Pasta in 2002, Empire Burger in 2006, Briar Rose Chop House and Saloon in 2008, and Park & Main Quality Foods in 2012.
In 2016 Todd and his partner at Giampietros Ken Nelson completed an extensive renovation of Giampietros tripling seating capacity and increased kitchen capacity dramatically.
Master Sommelier (MS) – February 2008
Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma (DipWSET) – July 2011
Certified Sake Professional (CSP) – July 2012
Sean Razee is one of only 236 wine professionals worldwide and one of the first 100 people in the United States to achieve the title of Master Sommelier.
Sean’s curiosity in wine was set in motion while studying food science for his under-graduate degree and through weekend trips to California wine-country. Shortly before heading to U.C. Davis to pursue a graduate degree in wine-making, Sean was given the chance to run a wine and spirits program. This turned out to be a seminal moment in Sean’s career which led him down the path toward becoming a Master Sommelier.
Sean’s wine career began in 2002 and since then he has developed award-winning wine and spirits programs for The Ritz-Carlton and Wolfgang Puck, as well as consulted on numerous esteemed beverage programs. In a move away from the hotel and fine dining business, Sean assumed the role of Corporate Beverage Director for Vail Resorts, overseeing world-class beverage programs at all 11 of the company’s domestic ski resorts. More recently, he was tapped to build and manage Artisanal Fine Wine, a fine wine and craft spirits distribution company in Colorado where he currently serves as general manager. When not lecturing, conducting staff trainings, or working with aspiring students, Sean also works as an instructor and examiner for the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Outside of his job and teaching, Sean has spent a portion of his free time organizing the wines and service for charity events around the state including Roundup River Ranch in Colorado, STARS (Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports), and Can Do MS.
Although he holds the industry’s most prestigious titles, Sean maintains a down-to-earth approach to his craft, and believes strongly in removing the formality and pretence surrounding wine. Striving to become a “highly-acclaimed” home chef, Sean spends much of his free-time cooking, exploring exotic markets, and working on innovative food and wine combinations.
Alex Wright, a local Coloradan, represents the Hahn Family Wines. Thriving on the interplay between people, palates and places, Alex is equally at home in the mountains as he is in the wine business. Outside of work you can find Alex on his bike or on the River with his wife Carrie and their two dogs.
Growing up on a farm in Western Kansas, Chef Ray Clinton learned at a young age what it meant to work hard and strive for quality. It is no surprise he found an appreciation for pure ingredients and with and inherent knowledge of cooking he left for San Francisco. California is a culinary Mecca, and Ramon spent two years absorbing everything he could from chefs with a multitude of backgrounds. From straight restaurant work to catering to private yachts, he learned from some of the best, and his initial interest blossomed into passion. Indiana was his next destination, and Ray took his first position as a Sous Chef in a historic steakhouse. Those years were personally his most experimental, and his hard work ethic, inherent knowledge and passion combined, just like a recipe, into a career. In 2003 Ray relocated to Denver pursuing yet another dream. As a child, he had spent time every summer in the Spanish Peaks area, and his love for the mountains never subsided. Soon after arriving, Ray took a job as a Sous Chef for Colorado Catering Company. Two years later he became their Executive Chef. Than he moved on to the Executive Chef position at Café Terracotta in Littleton, where he further broadened his culinary skills and made his food an attraction in historic Downtown Littleton. Shortly after his tenure at Café Terracotta he headed to Evergreen Colorado where he took a job as Chef de Cuisine at a high-end specialty grocery market called Blue Spruce Market. Here he taught classes and added that to his repertoire of skills. He participated in the teaching of adults to children in a variety of classes and lessons. His love for people shined through with his daily interaction with customers and students. Boulder was his next stop and found his love for food was ever more accepted. Than he found food trucks. Ray ran into Hosea Rosenberg who had just won top chef and Hosea brought Ray on to help run his food truck for Streat Chefs. Being the first in an era of food trucks for Boulder streat chefs didn’t last long and he started at The Med and rose to being promoted to executive sous chef at their sister restaurant Brasserie Ten Ten. Ray was then employed by Comida to operate the lone food truck and help with the build out of their first stick built restaurant. His friend Hosea, called again and asked him to help with Blackbelly catering. Transitioning it from a food truck into a stick built restaurant. 2015 brought Ray back to Denver where he has been hired as the Sous chef for Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton. After a few years, there it was time to take a position at The Hound in cherry creek. Hired as a sous chef and rapidly promoted to Head chef he looks forward to the food and comradery at the hound. Chef Ray focuses his art on high-quality ingredients, eye-popping presentations and most of all just having fun doing what he loves to do everyday: sharing the joy of food.
Brooke has worked with Winesellers LTD for the past five years representing a dynamic portfolio of family wineries from around the world. His interest of the wine industry started at a young age while working in the restaurant industry and has grown over the past 20 years. Brooke developed a great love for Spanish and old world wines while owning a Spanish bistro in Charlotte NC. After his restaurant days, while working for Empire Distributors of North Carolina he developed a much broader understanding of wines from all growing regions. He truly enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion of wine with others.
Chef Lou Ortiz, is a Philadelphia region native. Focused in Mexican – Asian fusion street food, Ortiz’s biggest joy is creating fun, camaraderie based dishes that bring people together. He has managed restaurants all around Denver from local Tag Restaurants to California based concepts.
With time in Boston, San Diego and Vail , Kevin finally settled in Denver where he pulled cooking stints at Tamayo, Zengo, The Coral Room, Parisi’s, Jax Fish House and Lola. His hard work, diligent effort and knack for putting bold flavors together on a plate for adoring guests made him the perfect chef to open Jax Fish House in Fort Collins, Co. There he rekindled his relationship with farmers of all types, took the town by storm with his fish to farm to table approach and established Jax as a powerhouse in the northern Colorado community.
With a move back down to Denver, a return to Lola as the head chef, was something that was always on his mind. Being named the new chef there he was able to take Lola to amazing new places with his fresh ideas, relentless pursuit of the local bounty and unique perspective on Mexican Fish House fare.
Being with the Big Red F group for 6 years, Kevin took the bold move to open his own concept, The Regional. A true taste of home, by recreating American hometown cuisine. Bringing the soul and comfort back to the great city of Denver.
When not in the kitchen Kevin spends his time maintaining relationships with farmers in Fort Collins and across the front range, shredding in snowcapped mountains, ripping some single tracks on his mountain bike and tending to his garden.
With stints at Vesta, Lola Coastal Mexican, Jax Fish House, Roy’s of Cherry Creek, Marczyk Fine Foods and Lucky’s Market stamped on his resume, widespread accolades from publications that have named his pies the best in Denver, and a namesake retail and wholesale bakery and café in Park Hill, John Hinman is one of the Mile High City’s most accomplished innovators of the rise of pies.
At a time when dessert chefs were dominating the Denver culinary landscape with over-the-top cupcakes, fanciful doughnuts and molded bomb cakes, John, a transplant from Upstate New York, was creating remarkable taste sensations by marrying simple ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, water, salt and fruit. His pies are legendary, as much for their flavor compositions as the ingenuity that goes into every pièce de résistance. “I love to see the craftsmanship in food, and pies really showcase that,” says John, adding that no two pies are the same. “The more imperfect the pie, the more element of life it has. Pies — and piecrust —represent humanity in terms of their diversity and imperfections, mostly because every single one is different,” explains John.
The pastry chef’s entry into bread and pie artistry wasn’t intentional. In fact, he never imagined himself as a chef, much less a pastry chef and baker; it was purely happenstance. John studied fine arts, with an emphasis on ceramics, at the University of Denver and moonlighted as a waiter at an Italian restaurant, where he was benched as a server after spilling a drink on a guest. But instead of getting the boot, he was reassigned to the kitchen. John also also did a stint at the original Chipotle Mexican Grill, near the University of Denver campus. And here’s a claim to fame that no one else can reproduce: He was the first person hired and the first person fired.
The kick to the curb opened doors, specifically to Vesta, Josh and Jen Wolkon’s award-winning LoDo restaurant. There, says John, he learned how to cook — and run a restaurant. And he—and the kitchen staff—quickly made an indelible mark on the Denver dining scene. The line crew, led by then executive chef Matt Selby, was all under the age of 23, but just one year after Vesta opened, 5280 magazine named it one of Denver’s ten best restaurants.
His pastry career officially began at the now-defunct Roy’s of Cherry Creek. “I attached myself to pastries because it was a loner job and I like to be invisible, plus it went with my art background—it’s like potting,” says John, who eventually moved on to work with Big Red F, the Boulder-based restaurant empire spearheaded by chef and restaurateur Dave Query.
But despite honing his cooking and pastry skills in some of the state’s most influential kitchens, it was John’s obsession with Hostess cherry pies that spurned his pie-in-the-sky dreams. “I had this thing for Hostess cherry pies, and while I still love them — and the ones from 7-Eleven, too — I was, like, I can do way better than this,” says John, who now sells more than 600 pies a week from this 11,000-square foot bakery in Park Hill. His favorite flavor is cherry, which also happens to be the scent that appeals most to his senses. “When the cherries are done cooking in the pie, I add almond extract, and the smell that comes out of that is the best smell ever,” says John, who sells those cherry pies—and numerous others—at the Union Station Farmers’ Market and Denver Flea. In addition, he supplies bread to a slew of local restaurants and markets—including Lola, Jax Fish House, Abejas, Annette, Steuben’s, Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, Olive & Finch, Parisi, Hamburger Mary’s and Marczyk Fine Foods.
Before John launched his namesake bakery in October of 2015, he competed regularly in pie smack-downs at local farmers’ markets. But he was the perpetual runner-up, his pies always second to those of a 98-year-old grandmother—his nemesis. But he also accomplished a feat that most pie masters (or grandmothers) never will: At a Niman Ranch pork farmer’s appreciation dinner in Iowa, John singlehandedly baked 75 apple pies in 24 hours. Most pastry chefs would call that purgatory; John thinks about it in terms of shaping memories. “I love being able to create throwback-y desserts that take people down memory lane, ignite the senses and bring a smile to their face.”
John’s approach to baking is manifested in passion and optimism. “Anything—and everything—is possible,” he says. But there’s a caveat, too, that’s rooted in simplicity and John’s own personal narrative. “There’s growth in suffering, and because I’ve always been a wallflower, baking gave me a social circle that made me feel like I fit in, but I don’t want to recreate pies, and I don’t bake to be kitschy. I bake to ensure that I’ve made the perfect pie. No one can make my pies with my fingerprints on them, and every batch of pies I create makes me think of someone or a good intention, and if you bake pies with love in your heart, they’re going to taste delicious.”
Now that John, who’s 43, has a thriving business that continues to grow, his mission is to empower his employees and pass along his knowledge to the next generation—the twenty-year-olds who bag bread, roll out the pie dough, bake the croissants and oversee the flattop that occupies the street corner adjacent to the bakery. “I’d like to think of myself as grateful and giving, and I want to give my employees opportunities and financial stability,” says John. “I get a lot of satisfaction from helping others.”
When he’s not at the bakery or farmers’ market, delivering pies or taking orders, which he does the old-fashioned way—with pen and paper—John zigzags across the country to stalk his favorite band: U2. “I’ve got a minor U2 problem,” he jokes, adding that he’s been a member of the group’s official fan club since he was thirteen.“ He’s also a self-described “record whore” with an extensive vinyl collection. “It’s fun to watch the records go round and round, plus they just sound better on a turntable,” says John, noting that he’s not above busting out Risky Business moves while grooving to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” And while John admits that he can’t carry a tune, his alter ego is music: “In an alternative life, I’d be sitting at the sound-engineer board at the Bluebird Theater every night channeling Jimmy lovine.”
Chef Chris is currently overseeing the culinary operations at Carbon Cafe & Bar and Habit Donut Dispensary in Denver and its plans for expansion. He moved to Denver to join the opening team for The ART, a Hotel and its signature restaurant FIRE, where he held the position of Executive Chef for nearly 2 years. Upon leaving the hotel he launched his own venture, Hutch Supper Club, a pop-up concept that has hosted dinner events at various locations throughout the area.
Prior to the move to Colorado, he was formerly the Executive Chef at Plume at The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC where he ran the entire food operations for the hotel, including breakfast, In-room dining, lunch service, catering and dinner in both Plume and Quill. Dinner service at Plume allowed Chris more freedom, and his natural creativity came into play. He described it as ‘traditional food, done right,’ with a heavy emphasis on impeccable cuts, proper seasoning and classic technique. It was this attention to detail that helped Plume receive Forbes’s elusive five star rating in 2013, presently the only five star restaurant in Washington, DC. With a refreshingly whimsical and relaxed approach in the context of the formal and beautifully appointed Plume, Chris’ seasonal menu showed flashes of fun that suggest he did not want guests to reserve meals at Plume for special occasions only. His Raw & Cooked Vegetable Salad featured zucchini marmalade, seasonal truffle, and verjus dressing. True to his roots – and to Thomas Jefferson’s own inclinations – he maintained a handful of delectable vegetarian dishes.
All of these experiences have led to an interest in organic agriculture, sustainability, and being responsible within the means of food consumption. Doing this all while still utilizing correct techniques, maintaining attention to detail, and promoting a culture of hospitality. He has dreams of bringing the farm-to-table concept one step further, to a garden-to-table concept, applying sustainability on a small scale. Food Theme: Garden to Table five star cooking with a more rustic and comfort food approach.
With stops in New York city, Miami, and San Diego working with such chefs as Alain Ducasse, Claude Troisgros, Damon Gordon, Marc Meneau, Jean-Michel Lorain, and Jean Pierre Vigato, his repertoire and experiences allow him to combine these elements in an effort to create an unforgettable dining event.
Breckenridge Distilleries Liquid Chef Billie. ” if it’s edible I can make a cocktail out of it”
Creating cocktails is my enthusiastic obsession. Putting smiles on faces with every sip of tipple.
William Davis started his career in restaurants, managing high-profile accounts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and in Denver, Colorado. He realized that wine and spirits was his passion, and when he sat for his Introductory Exam and Course with the Court of Master Sommeliers over a decade ago, his ‘wine bug’ was set in stone. In 2004, he decided that a full-time career with Charmer-Sunbelt in Colorado was necessary to pursue a greater understanding of the grape, and received the Certified Specialist of Wine, the Certified Specialist of Spirits, and the highest certification from the Society of Wine Educators, the Certified Wine Educator title (CWE). Restaurants were still ‘in his blood’, and the dedication that sommeliers give to their craft is a vital part of bringing wine to the consumer. So, he passed the Certified and Advanced Sommelier exams in 2007 and 2008 (on his first try, achieved by less than 3% of candidates), and is working to achieve the MS certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers. The academic approach to wine and spirits also interests him, and he is passed the Advanced Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in 2010, and is studying for the WSET Diploma. If that isn’t enough, he is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, and was the 2 time Regional Champion (2012 and 2013) Central and Great Lakes Regional Winner of TopSOMM, a competition to find the best wine professional talent in the United States. As a co-host of WineGuyRadio and TV from 2008 to 2012 decided to focus on the consumer in late 2012 by introducing Terroir Radio, to teach, educate, mentor industry folk including retail buyers and sommeliers, and share the love of wine to all. Currently, he is the Trade Ambassador, Mountain Region, for Wilson Daniels, one of the leading importer and marketer of wines in the United States. Sitting with winemakers, and traveling the wine world is essential to continued growth…and, well, having a glass of vino with the most interesting people on earth doesn’t hurt!
Bruce joined the Storm Restaurants team in 1992 after moving from the East coast. He has a passion for sharing regional Mexican cuisine prepared from scratch. He learned and studied under Chefs like Diana Kennedy, Rick Bayless and Zarela Martine in both Mexico and the Culinary Institute of America. Bruce is always looking to learn more about time honored traditions in Mexican cuisine and how to apply those techniques in modern ways.
Mike joined the Hearthstone culinary team in 2005, serving as our executive chef until the spring of 2012, at which time he followed his passion for music and spent a year in Steamboat Springs managing a live music venue. In the Spring of 2013 Mike and his wife Kristin returned to Breck, and Mike resumed his role as the Hearthstone’s executive chef. Originally from Chicago, Mike attended Culinary School at Kendall College, and later worked as chef de cuisine at Merriman’s, on the big island of Hawaii. Mike’s culinary passions center on great taste first and foremost, followed by freshness of ingredients, a belief that simple is often better, and a commitment to using locally sourced and sustainably raised foods whenever possible. Mike is a lifelong and always believing Chicago cubs fan, and would tele ski right through the summer, if there was only enough snow still left to do it.
Vice President of Fine Wines, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, American Fine Wine Division
Shelley Sale is a Colorado native who is celebrating over 21 years with Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado. Her credentials include 1 st level Sommelier with MS program, Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Sake Professional, and Certified Spirits Specialist. She is working on the next levels in wine and sake education.
Shelley left the Western Slope and headed back to Denver with an executive promotion to join the American Fine Wine Division as Vice – President of Fine Wines.
On the beverage scene, her passions are for sake, bubbles and roses. She loves to travel around the world to visit the land and dirt that grows the grapes, most recently exploring in Chile.
Her passion is to learn, share and grow the opportunities that are advancing for women in the wine and spirits industry, as it is changing everywhere in the work environment around the world.
Steve Arndt started in the restaurant business at the age of 14 at the Tea Room Alpenrose in Vail, Colorado. He later graduated from college with a Culinary Arts degree and has been in the culinary industry for over 35 years. In that time Steve has worked in over 25 restaurants in both back of the house and front of the house positions. Steve has opened 6 restaurants from the ground up in Tucson, Arizona, Vail, Colorado, and Casco Veijo, Panama. He has catered many events such as the Pro Challenge, Wings over Denver, Make a Wish Foundation, Tour De Tucson and the Tucson Beer Fest.
Steve started working with Breckenridge Ski Resort in January of 2013 as a Sous Chef at Ten Mile Station. In the summer of 2013, he was promoted to Chef of Vista Haus restaurant. Steve was promoted to Executive Chef of Ten Mile Station in the summer of 2014. His focus is the daily, winter ski business, night time Starlight Dinners and in the summer, Chef is the Executive Chef in charge of our Mountain Dining wedding operations.
Chef loves the Colorado Rockies, spending time with his family, snowboarding, skateboarding, camping, hiking and biking.