Maggiano’s Little Italy

This year La Bella Vita is a salute to all things Italian.  Edesia has enlisted the considerable skills and experience Maggiano’s Little Italy® Denver culinary team to create a special menu for the VIP luncheon. Partner Chef Michael Rodgers, from Maggiano’s Denver Pavilions, will lead the team.

Chef Michel grew up in a large Italian family where people love to cook. He recalls that he was always surrounded by delicious homemade food.  From a young age Chef knew his way around the kitchen and would cook dinner for the family to help his parents who worked two jobs. His passion for food continued to grow and has taken him all over the USA.

Chef Michael has been with Maggiano’s for over 17 years. His favorite part of working there is the people, experience and relationships he’s formed over the years.  “If you strip it all away it’s the relationships and experiences I believe that will last a life time,”  he says.  Chef Michael is proud “to oversee our scratch kitchen and happy to modify dishes to accommodate any allergy or personal taste.”

Maggiano’s, with 52 locations across the country, specializes in made-from-scratch daily Italian-American cuisine served in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Each restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and offers a convenient carryout service as well as catering, in addition to beautiful and accommodating banquet spaces for special occasions. The restaurant group opened the doors of its first location on the corners of Clark St. and Grand Ave. in Chicago, IL. Nov. 11, 1991.

Maggiano’s menu features both classic and contemporary Italian-American recipes. The Executive Chefs create homemade pasta sauces, signature salads, prime steaks, fresh fish, and monthly features. The chain carries a large selection of wines from acclaimed vintners as well as their own private wine label, Salute Amico.  Family style service or individual entrees are available.   In Denver, Maggiano’s has two locations.

Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant, 500 16th Street, Downtown

Maggiano’s at Denver Pavilions offers scratch-made Italian food in Denver, just like Nonna used to make. The downtown restaurant serves brunch, lunch, and dinner featuring the rich flavors of Little Italy. The staff says It’s the perfect place to celebrate with friends or to enjoy a quick antipasti and glass of wine during happy hour. This location offers an intimate dining experience for two as well as banquet halls for large celebrations.  For Reservations: Call (303) 260-7707 or book online.

Maggiano’s Restaurant, Denver, 7401 Clinton Street, Englewood

Maggiano’s at Denver Tech Center features season-fresh Italian food in Englewood, Chef-prepared and inspired by Nonna’s traditional recipes. The Denver flagship restaurant offers brunch, lunch, and dinner and invites diners to savor the rich flavors of Little Italy, or to enjoy a quick antipasti and glass of wine during happy hour.  Reservations: Call (303) 858-1405 or book online.

Executive Chef Eric Kolk hails from Buffalo, New York, and is a classically trained saucier. He attended the Art Institute of Colorado to formalize his training, and has been with Maggiano’s since 2000.  The best part of being a chef for Eric is the team that surrounds him and makes him laugh every day. Outside of being a chef, his passions are his wife and daughter.

When asked about his favorite dessert, he responds, “Ice cream. It doesn’t thrill me but it makes my daughter’s eyes light up.” At Maggiano’s he enjoys the Chicken Saltimbocca and the Beef Medallions. Eric would love to travel to the Caribbean and visit Central America to meet the families of people he has worked with to learn more about their food and culture.

Chef Partner, General Manager of Denver Restaurants Michael Rodgers, from Maggiano’s Denver Pavilions, will lead the team.

Featured Chef

Assistant Technical Professor Wayne Smith, CEC CCE

Chef Wayne Smith has been instructing students since the Culinary Arts program began at Western Colorado Community College, a division of Colorado Mesa University, in 1998.

With 30 years of culinary experience, including stints at major resort venues in Colorado, Hawaii and California and running his own restaurant, he is uniquely qualified to impart knowledge to aspiring chefs.

Specifically, he teaches Culinary Program Fundamentals, Introduction to Foods, Center of the Plate, International Cuisine, Advanced Garde Manger and Hors D’Oeuvre and Fundamentals of Healthy Cooking.

His courses offer students a hands-on opportunity to apply their leaning to the production of a wide variety of foods as well the science of cooking. His goal is to motivate students to be deeply curious about cooking to the point they forget they are earning a grade.

With other faculty members in the program, he has coached student teams in culinary competitions, where they have earned success on regional and national levels.

Chef Wayne’s culinary interests are varied and include international cuisines, fermented foods, and culinary medicine. Currently, he is studying the sciences to gain a better understanding of how food “works.”

A graduate of Colorado Mesa’s Culinary Arts program, Chef Wayne has served in leadership roles both at the University and with professional groups. He is recipient of numerous culinary awards, and twice has been named Outstanding Educator by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. Smith is a certified executive chef and certified culinary educator through the American Culinary Federation.

No stranger to public service, he has donated his time and skills to help numerous charitable causes over his long career.

When he is not in the kitchen, Smith enjoys skiing, mountain biking, camping, golf, tennis and playing his guitar and ukulele.

Chef Demos

Chefs will be demonstrating techniques and recipes during the main event  from 2 to 5 pm. The focus will be on authentic Italian cuisine.  Chefs will be demonstrating in the Vintner’s House Club Rooms. Samples will be shared!

Chef Vincenzo Favale

Enzo’s Ristorante Italiano

Chef Chris Watson

Ristorante Pantuso’s

Chef Dave Kassera

Wine Country Inn