Jennifer Jasinski to be inducted into 2021 MenuMasters Hall of Fame

7/26, 4:00 PM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

DENVER, July 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jennifer Jasinski, a pioneer in the Denver dining scene who has helped make the Mile High City a culinary destination, is being inducted into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame in October.

She will be honored along with other MenuMasters award winners at a party by Nation’s Restaurant News sponsored by Ventura Foods on the evening of Oct. 4 at Mile High Station in Denver. She is also collaborating with Nation’s Restaurant News to develop the menu for the evening.

The hall of fame honors chefs who have spent their careers promoting culinary excellence in American foodservice.

“I’m honored and humbled to be inducted into the NRN MenuMasters Hall of Fame,” Jasinski said. “Joining the astounding list of chefs including my mentor Wolfgang Puck, José Andrés, Tom Colicchio, Daniel Boulud and others is super cool. I can’t wait to collaborate with the NRN team on a Colorado menu for the MenuMasters celebration – especially since it’s happening right here in my hometown of Denver.”

Other past inductees into the hall of fame, which was established in 1998, include Jeremiah Tower, Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, Jacques Pépin, Paul Prudhomme, Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse.

Jasinski is the head of Crafted Concepts, which operates Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Stoic & Genuine and Ultreia restaurants in Denver as well as Ultreia Paella Catering.

“I am so glad that we’re finally inducting Jen into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame,” NRN senior food & beverage editor Bret Thorn said. “She has been a terrific champion of great food and fun restaurants, and a brilliant mentor for other chefs. She’s also a fount of knowledge when it comes to sustainability issues and takes all of the responsibilities that modern chefs have seriously.”

“Ventura Foods is delighted to celebrate the 2021 MenuMasters Hall of Fame honoree, chef Jennifer Jasinski,” said Jim Goggin, Senior Vice President, Ventura Foods. “Her life-long passion for cooking, dedication to extraordinary culinary execution and deep commitment to her staff make chef Jennifer an outstanding Hall of Fame inductee. MenuMasters is our once-a-year opportunity to recognize the achievements of menu innovators and culinary trailblazers, such as chef Jennifer. I can think of no better way to celebrate the foodservice industry than with a curated tasting menu that chef Jennifer will be developing exclusively for this year’s event.”

Originally from Santa Barbara, Calif., Jasinski studied cooking at Santa Barbara City College and then The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Her first cooking gig was at The Rainbow Room in New York City, but she soon returned to southern California and before long came under the wing of Puck, working closely with him since the only restaurants he had at the time were Spago in Beverly Hills and Chinois on Main. She stayed with him for 11 years as he expanded before spreading her own wings and landing in Denver at a Kimpton Restaurants property, Hotel Monaco, where she was executive chef of an Italian restaurant, Panzano.

Receiving critical acclaim there, she opened Rioja with business partner Beth Gruitch in 2004. They went on to open their other restaurants, most recently Ultreia, which debuted in late 2017.

The venues are consistently listed among top restaurants in local press and Jasinski herself has won “chef of the year” and similar awards from Denver Magazine, The Denver Post, and 5280 Magazine as well as Restaurant Hospitality. Rioja was inducted into NRN’s Fine Dining Hall of Fame in 2011.

In 2013 Jasinski became the first Denver chef to win the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the Southwest.

Other accolades include the 2007 Jean Yancey award in the National Association of Women Business Owners Outstanding Women in Business awards presented by the Denver Business Journal, 2004 Colorado Chef of the Year and 2005 Western Regional Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation and the 2014 Princess of Pork at the Denver stop of the Cochon 555 festival.

Qualified restaurant and foodservice operators are welcome to attend the MenuMasters celebration. For registration and more information, please visit

MenuMasters is an invitation-only event for foodservice executives celebrating excellence in menu research & development. The MenuMasters Awards identify and recognize research and development executives and their respective foodservice companies for outstanding dedication and achievement to the area of research and development, and the product lines that are developed and marketed by their restaurant and foodservice companies. Follow #MenuMasters on social media to join the excitement, and get more information on the gala and how to attend on the MenuMasters website.

Nation's Restaurant News (NRN) is the No. 1 source of business information for the foodservice industry. For more than 50 years, NRN has served the information and engagement needs of foodservice professionals, offering award-winning content across all mediums with the goal of driving businesses forward. NRN was named Best Media Brand by the Jesse H. Neal Awards in 2019. NRN is part of the Restaurant & Food Group by Informa Connect, the leading B2B integrated media group connecting products, solutions and thought leadership with the largest, most engaged and highly qualified audience in foodservice and food retail. The group connects the entire food and foodservice ecosystem of operators, chefs, retailers, manufacturers, vendors and solutions providers through traditional, digital, social and custom media as well as digital and live events. Learn more at

Ventura Foods’ mission is to help our customers delight their customers. We continually do so by creating the flavors and custom food solutions that our foodservice, food manufacturing and retail customers value. Ventura Foods fuels your passion for great food. No one keeps ahead of flavor trends and develops delicious dressings, sauces, mayonnaises and other products like we do. Think of Ventura Foods as your secret ingredient for attracting and keeping customers. Learn more at

Jesse Yeung
Nation’s Restaurant News
605 Third Avenue, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10158

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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Jennifer Jasinski

Jennifer Jasinski
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