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Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show | March 8 & 9 | Colorado Convention Center | Denver, CO

AN INDUSTRY ON THE RISE: INNOVATION, SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS

The Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show delivers the tools, resources, and ideas that chefs, managers, operators, and owners need to maintain their competitive edge in a crowded marketplace. We're extremely proud to present the 2022 line up of keynote and educational speakers:

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

GARY OBLIGACION

Director of  Development, The Alinea Group

"Hospitality is a Two-Way Street"


Gary began his hospitality career in 1984 as stock boy at Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse, moving from there into food and beverage and event management roles at San Francisco’s Boulevard Restaurant, Ritz Carlton, and Mandarin Oriental; Pebble Beach Resorts and Pebble Beach Food & Wine; the Sebastian Vail; and the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. Along the way, Gary spent five-plus years as director of service operations for the Alinea Group before taking on his current role there developing growth.


EDUCATIONAL SESSION SPEAKERS

Erin Boyle
Executive Director, CHOW (Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness)

"Return on Assets: How Health & Wellness Can Bolster You, Your Team, and Your Bottom Line"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Erin Boyle is CHOW’s Executive Director, friend, sister, wife, daughter, dog momma, potter, reader, crafter, walker, nanny, and chef. She trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and went on to work in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Denver.

Erin has watched staff, family, and friends in hospitality struggle with mental health and substance abuse; she, like many, struggles with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In 2019, Erin decided to dedicate her energy toward improving access to mental health and wellness resources for all in the hospitality business. As executive director, Erin focuses on outreach and aims to normalize mental health conversations in the restaurant industry.

 

Matt Browning
President, Performance Foodservice Colorado

"Prepping for the Next Pandemic (and Surviving This One): Solutions for Tech, Logistics & Talent"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  2 - 3 p.m.

Matt Browning joined Performance Foodservice Colorado as President in 2019, following two decades in foodservice distribution. His career began when he graduated from culinary school at Sullivan College in Louisville, Kentucky, working as a chef in that city for several years. Matt moved into distribution thereafter, spending 16 years with US Foods and three with Shamrock Foods Company, managing teams and business for those brands across the country. At Performance Foodservice, Matt oversees the company’s mission of providing quality products, innovative technology, and custom solutions to culinary businesses. It’s the perfect role for Matt, allowing him to satisfy his passion for food and love of servant leadership here in Colorado.

 

Melissa Edmonds
Senior Director of Product -- Restaurants, SpotOn

"Prepping for the Next Pandemic (and Surviving This One): Solutions for Tech, Logistics & Talent"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  2 - 3 p.m.

Melissa Edmonds has over a decade of experience solving problems and creating products her users will love. She started her career answering phones in a call center, learning firsthand the impact a software product can have on the day-to-day life of a restaurant operator. Melissa wanted to be in a position to act on the feedback she was hearing and transitioned to a role that jump-started a career in product management and, more importantly, a career driven by her radical empathy for restaurant owners and operators.

Melissa prides herself on always making it a priority to understand who she is building products for. Her work experience, which includes time on the restaurant floor as a server and bartender, lends a deeper understanding of how important it is to have a product that can keep up with a fast-paced industry. Melissa now serves as the Senior Director of Product for SpotOn, where she has spent the past year and a half doubling SpotOn’s restaurant footprint and future-proofing her clients’ businesses.



Todd Fredrickson
Attorney and Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP

"California, Here We Come: 2022 Labor & Employment Law Developments for Restaurants"
Tuesday, March 8, 2022 |  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Todd Fredrickson, a partner at the Fisher & Phillips Denver office, is one of a small number of Denver labor attorneys who practice traditional labor law, representing employers in union campaigns, contract negotiations, grievance arbitrations, and unfair labor practice charges. He also tries employment cases before juries, judges, and arbitrators. His practice involves representing employers in various matters arising under such laws as Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).

Todd regularly counsels clients on a spectrum of personnel management issues, with the goal of avoiding litigation. To that end, he advises employers on developing and enforcing proper policies, employee handbooks, and employment and compensation agreements. Todd also counsels employers on compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws. Much of his practice focuses on training supervisors, managers, and other employees on such issues as sexual harassment, discrimination, employee discipline and discharge, and investigation of employee grievances.

Todd is "AV" Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been included in the Colorado Super Lawyers list since 2006. He has also been listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers since 2009, and in The Best Lawyers in America since 2012. He was recognized as an Employment Law – Management Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America for 2014, 2017, and 2019. Todd was also selected as a BTI Consulting Group Client Service All-Star for 2011 and was named the "People's Choice" selection as the Best Employment Lawyer in Barrister's Best by Law Week Colorado six years in a row, beginning 2011 and again in 2021. He has also been named on 5280 magazine’s list of Top Lawyers since 2008.

Alex Jump
Co-Founder, Focus on Health

"Return on Assets: How Health & Wellness Can Bolster You, Your Team, and Your Bottom Line"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Alex Jump originally hails from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she grew up breathing Southern hospitality. A BAR 5-Day Program graduate, Alex honed her skills by working behind and running bar programs at multiple James Beard Award nominated restaurants. She has competed in several national competitions, including Speed Rack, Lustau Solera Standout, Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year, and Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender. In 2018, Alex joined the opening team of Death & Co Denver as the Head Bartender; she currently serves as Bar Manager, as well as the company’s Cocktail Class Coordinator. She was named a PUNCH Bartender in Residence in 2019, nominated for Bartender of the Year at the 2020 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, and was included on Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Food & Drink list in 2021.

In early 2020, Alex joined forces with co-founder Lauren Paylor to bring to life Focus on Health, an initiative dedicated to bringing health and wellness to the forefront of the hospitality world. Through Focus on Health’s community outreach, training, and podcasts, Alex and Lauren are working towards creating better lives for those who work in the food and beverage industry.



Heather Lundy
Founder and CEO, Khesed Wellness

"Return on Assets: How Health & Wellness Can Bolster You, Your Team, and Your Bottom Line"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Heather Lundy (they/them) is a licensed mental health therapist and entrepreneur. Trained in art, psychology, and theology, Heather creates ethic-centered business models to support and expand human consciousness; they started five companies by age 32. Five years ago, Heather founded Khesed Wellness, a mental health nonprofit making therapy affordable for the underinsured – including the restaurant community -- at discounted rates. Khesed Wellness has provided 14,000 therapy sessions in Colorado during its first five years and is growing nationally. Heather was born in L.A. and resides in Denver with her mini goldendoodle, Nooma.

 

James Park
Operating Partner at Savory Fund and Founder of Wing Wok

"Growing With the Savory Fund -- How to Go from Two Units to 20 -- and Beyond"
Tuesday, March 8, 2022 |  2 - 3 p.m.

Denverite James Park is armed with two decades of restaurant and retail operating experience, as both a franchisee owner/operator and a top-level executive. His is former CEO of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and held executive operating roles at Which Which Superior Sandwiches, Charley's Grilled Subs, and Penn Station East Coast Subs, as well as a global marketing role at 7-Eleven. Park was recognized on the 2018 and 2022 Nation's Restaurant News annual Power List and has won numerous awards, including be named Most Admired CEO in 2018 by the Denver Business Journal. In early 2021, Park and partners opened the first location of Wing Wok, a Korean fried chicken concept in Centennial.



B. Hudson Riehle
Senior Vice President, Research & Knowledge Group, National Restaurant Association

"Data-Driven Insights: Where the Restaurant Industry Is Headed in 2022"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  11 a.m. - Noon

Hudson Riehle directs the National Restaurant Association’s consumer, economic, technology, market, human resources, tourism, and operations research as well as oversees its extensive knowledge center activities. Frequently cited by major national and international news organizations and appearing on national television broadcasts, he has authored a variety of articles and serves as an information source and spokesperson for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Hudson received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Skidmore College in New York and his Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Appointed by the Secretary of Labor, he has been a member of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Research Advisory Council; a former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Alexandria (VA) Convention and Visitors Association; a member of the Center for Food Integrity Consumer Research Advisory Panel and the Wharton Executive Advisory Panel;  and is currently included in the current edition of Who’s Who in America.

Rayme Rossello
Owner, Comida

"Prepping for the Next Pandemic (and Surviving This One): Solutions for Tech, Logistics & Talent"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  2 - 3 p.m.

Raised mostly in New York City by eclectic, food-loving parents, Rayme Rossello’s love of street food started early: Stopping at hot dog and pretzel carts on the way home from school were some of her first culinary obsessions. Couple that with a deep affection for good tacos and endearing hospitality, and it’s easy to see how Comida, Rayme’s Mexican soul food restaurant, was born.

Rayme began working in restaurants at age 16 and she has been a part of the Colorado Front Range restaurant community since 1990, both as an employer and an employee. In 1999, Rayme partnered with Pam Proto to form Proto’s Pizza. After eight years and five successful Proto’s store openings, Rayme went to pastry school, though she quickly learned that a career in Pastry Arts was not her path.

Instead, Rayme opened Comida in 2010, first as a hot-pink food truck and later as brick-and-mortar restaurants at the Source in Denver and Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. The Aurora location remains, where Rayme and her team foster their passion for killer Mexican food and travel every day.


Emily Shaya
Director of New Projects and Co-Founder, Pomegranate Hospitality

"Return on Assets: How Health & Wellness Can Bolster You, Your Team, and Your Bottom Line"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Emily Shaya brings her background in entrepreneurship, real estate development, and finance to the Pomegranate Hospitality team, which owns and operates Safta in Denver and Saba and Miss River in New Orleans. In her roles as director of new projects and co-founder of Pomegranate Hospitality, Emily seeks out and vets potential opportunities, works with the team to develop their restaurant concepts from inception through opening, and stabilizes operations and beyond.  


Laura Shunk
President, Colorado Restaurant Foundation

"Return on Assets: How Health & Wellness Can Bolster You, Your Team, and Your Bottom Line"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

"Prepping for the Next Pandemic (and Surviving This One): Solutions for Tech, Logistics & Talent"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  2 - 3 p.m.

 

Laura Shunk is the President of the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, where she works to help restaurant industry employees advance and thrive through education, training, and health and wellness initiatives. Laura is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in many different roles, including fine dining front-of-house, fast-casual training and development, hotel customer service, public relations, and marketing. Prior to joining the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, she spent nearly a decade in communications, including five years in journalism as a restaurant critic in Denver, a food editor in New York City, and a columnist in Beijing.



Anthony Valletta
Senior Vice President of Operations, bartaco

"Prepping for the Next Pandemic (and Surviving This One): Solutions for Tech, Logistics & Talent"
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 |  2 - 3 p.m.

Anthony Valletta is a restaurant and hospitality industry veteran with over 20 years of experience and deep knowledge in growing brands, both big and small. Throughout his career, Valletta has opened two dozen restaurants with varying concepts. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Operations at bartaco, the upscale street-food restaurant brand with a coastal vibe in a relaxed environment. Prior to joining the bartaco team, Valletta served as Chief Operating Officer at Denver-based restaurant-tech concept Birdcall. Other previous roles include Chief Operating Officer at fine dining concept Michael Mina in San Francisco, as well as Director of Operations at Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, where he oversaw locations in Chicago, Denver, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Boston.

Valletta is passionate about humanitarianism and has been named Humanitarian of the Year twice, once in 2014 by the Greg Hill Foundation and again in 2018 by March of Dimes. He received his Bachelor of Hospitality Administration and Hospitality Administration/Management from Boston University.