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The Bindery’s Linda Hampsten Fox with her young daughter in 2000. Photo courtesy of Linda Hampsten Fox

What Local Chefs and Food Pros Want for Mother’s Day

Bike rides, beer, sushi, and snuggles are on their wishlists.

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Working moms don’t often get a break. That’s especially true for those who work in restaurants or other outlets of the food and beverage industry, known for its long, demanding schedules. We quizzed some prominent local mamas about what their perfect Mother’s Day would entail (if they weren’t actually spending the day running kitchens or managing food halls). They also let us in on the gifts—culinary or otherwise—they’ve been craving.


Mary Nguyen

Chef-owner of Olive & Finch; mom to twin girls, age three

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My dream Mother’s Day itinerary includes spending quality time with my family, whom I don’t see too often. A Champagne brunch at the Brown Palace with my mother and sisters (all mothers themselves) and all of our families. Then, an afternoon bike ride in the city with my husband and our twins, stopping for a couple beers and glasses of rosé at our local haunts: Great Divide Brewing Company, Black Shirt Brewing, Dunbar Kitchen & Tap House, Fish & Beer, Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza. The perfect gift would be a dinner date with my husband at Sushi Den.

Kate Kaufman

General manager of the Denver Central Market; mom to two boys, ages 12 and 14

We’d start with breakfast at Mercantile Dining & Provision, then I’d get a mani-pedi at Haven Salon. After a lunch of cheese (raw Roquefort and brie), salami, and rosé at the Denver Botanic Gardens, there’d be an afternoon stroll through the Denver Zoo and dinner at Beast & Bottle. The ultimate present would be a weekend in Crested Butte. If not, a porcelain birdbath for our front garden and a flowering crabapple tree planted for me.

Jennifer Jasinski

Chef and co-owner of Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, Stoic & Genuine, and Ultreia; fur baby mom to Gingersnap, an 11 year-old chocolate lab; Dean-o, a seven-year-old yellow lab; and Chester, a six-month-old yellow lab

A perfect Dog Mom’s Day is a beautiful hike: Herman’s Gulch is a favorite as it has water all along the way, amazing wild flowers, and a lake at the end, but [there’s probably] too much snow now. After that, Max [Mackissock, her chef husband] cooks me a fantastic dinner and we relax on the deck in the backyard and just chat and listen to music. The perfect gift for me is always flowers. I adore flowers!

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Linda Hampsten Fox

Chef-owner of the Bindery; mom to a daughter, age 22, and three stepsons, ages 21, 23, and 25

A dream Mother’s Day itinerary would involve getting a really good juice or smoothie in the morning and some yummy Bindery baked goods. I’d love to go for a bike ride with my husband Steve on the paths through Denver, out to the foothills by Morrison, and have a picnic along the greenbelt. Then, it would be fun come down to Union Station and watch families play in the fountain and eat ice cream. After that, I’d like to sit on a rooftop deck with a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the city. Last bite? Sushi or tacos. My ultimate Mother’s Day gift would be to have all the kids come home from college to spend the day together.

Jenna Johansen

Chef and former competitor on Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates; stepmom to two stepdaughters, ages 26 and 18, and a stepson, age 11

On the perfect Mother’s Day, I would start the morning with a mimosa; walk our dog, Gigi, around Barnum Park before it warms up; shop for plants at the Revision Mother’s Day Garden Bazaar; and have Mother’s Day brunch with my mom and family. We’d get cheese from from the Truffle Cheese Shop and Champagne and celebrate our grandmothers and the amazing women in our lives. The best present, without sounding cheesy, is time with the kids. I chose to have a successful restaurant career, but when I was ready to have kids, my body was not; Mark [DeNittis, her husband] and I couldn’t get pregnant. So I am so grateful for every kiss, every story, every minute I have with my stepchildren. As a stepmother, I still have the chance to attend concerts and recitals, hear about boyfriends and girlfriends, and have lots of snuggle time. That is the most priceless thing I can think of.

Taryn Kapronica

Director of sales, development, and media at ‎Leopold Bros.; mom to a son, age six, and and a stepdaughter, age 10

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I’d wake up very early and delve into one of the many history books I have piled high on my bookshelf. The husband [longtime local bartender Randy Layman] would make me a cup of coffee just the way I like it. Then the kids would wake up and I’d braid my stepdaughter’s hair. My son would cuddle up and ask to read Calvin & Hobbes. We’d grab breakfast at the Bagel Deli and for lunch, I’d get a Volcano Bowl from Aloha Poke Company [at Zeppelin Station]. And after an nap in the hammock, we’d have dinner at Hop Alley and drinks at the new Death & Co. [in the Ramble Hotel]. A great gift would be a warm slice of my husband’s homemade sourdough with a schmear of PB Love Co. Cinnamon Almond Butter, and a glass of sherry after a long soak in the saltwater hot tubs at the Westin in Avon.

Dana Rodriguez

Chef and co-owner of Work & Class and Super Mega Bien; mom to three daughters, ages 21, 22, and 23

I always work on Mother’s Day and I love that because I hang with my crew—my work kids. Also, us Mexican mamas always celebrate on May 10 [El Día de la Madre), so that’s my real deal. I get a massage, pedicure, and sushi. My best present is always just to hang with my three daughters that day and eat potstickers, sushi, and a lot of cheese from the Truffle Cheese Shop for dessert.

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