I Dream Of…An Instructor Less Ordinary.
Mark M. DeNittis, Director of Curriculum
A Massachusetts-born, first-generation Italian-American, Cook Street Curriculum Director Mark DeNittis comes by his rich food heritage honestly, drawing inspiration from the boldly crafted, artisan flavors of family dishes to bring passion to the Denver table.
Mark brings to Cook Street a broad history in culinary education coupled with a specialized, award-winning expertise in meat. As a pioneer in the world of modern artisanal butchery, he was named one of the Ten Rising Stars Under 40 by Meat Processing News in 2007. He’s a former multi-campus chair of the Meat Cutting curriculum at Johnson and Wales University and recently founded, in collaboration with Cook Street, the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat Fabrication, a state-certified series of professional programs that offer continuing education points accredited by the American Culinary Federation, as well as non-accredited programming.
Mark comes to Denver by way of Palm Beach, Florida, where he honed his craft under the tutelage of Jean-Michel Matos at the Breakers Country Club. A highlight in his career was sharing a celebratory jar of caviar with Jim Mills of the Houstonian Hotel Club and Spa as he opened the Shadow Hawk Golf Clubhouse there as executive chef.
His frequent recognitions include the 2008 Gallo Family Vineyards Gold Medal in Meat and Charcuterie, Chairperson of the Lamb section revision team for NAMP’s Meat Buyers Guide 6th Edition in 2009, and most recently, in 2012, the Exceptional Newcomer Award through the Colorado Restaurant Association’s annual Industry Spotlight. He also founded the The Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat and the former II Mondo Vecchio-Salumi in South Denver's art and antique district.
John Parks, Chef Instructor
Before returning to his culinary school to teach, Chef John had a storied career as a personal chef. Today, he brings his creativity, passion and fathomless knowledge to a Chef Instructor role in Cook Street’s professional program. A true minimalist, Chef John can do just about anything with a simple chef’s knife.
Cindy McKnight, Pastry Chef Instructor
After getting her children off to college, Cindy followed her culinary passion to Cook Street's professional program, graduating in 2004. Cindy worked as a personal chef and a caterer before returning to Cook Street as a Recreational Instructor in 2006. After taking a three-year break to try her hand as a Pastry Chef at Vi in Highlands Ranch, Cindy returns to us once again to pursue her love of cooking and teaching.
Cindy OnkenGlimm, Wine Instructor
Cindy’s passion for wine began in her former life with an oil and gas company when she was tasked by the firm to find vineyard land in Paso Robles, California, through seeing the completion of their winery. From there, she knew her life would change and she pursued wine training with the International Sommelier Guild, later becoming their instructor. With a Masters of Art in French, Cindy has studied and taught abroad, and has been an affiliate wine instructor with Metropolitan State University of Denver since 2008, as well as a wine instructor for Cook Street's Recreational Program. Cindy is also a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, and has her certificate in Winemaking from U.C. Davis. She is currently pursuing her Level I certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Marisa Fontana, European Tour Coordinator
Marisa worked in a restaurant kitchen for a year and in a corporate kitchen for two years before enrolling in the Cook Street 180° Culinary Arts Program in October 2005. Combining her culinary background, her training at Cook Street, a college degree in French, and extensive European travel, she is the ideal European Tour Coordinator. Having experienced the tour both as a student and a guide, Marisa is able to ensure that every student will get the most out of their travels to France and Italy. A true natural, Marisa enjoys bringing natural ingredients to every dish.
Terry Freeman, Chief Operating Officer
Terry combines her passionate love for food and wine with a solid business background as Cook Street’s Chief Operating Officer. Terry, who studied at Cook Street and even possesses her level-two ISG wine certification, cut her teeth in the wine industry after earning degrees in philosophy and business.
Karla Peterson, Admissions Coordinator
An alumna of Cook Street, Karla brings a wealth of experience in business development to her role as Admissions Coordinator. Her passion for food, wine and the professional program at Cook Street ensures every prospective student feels at home the moment they walk through the door - and leaves feeling confident they've taken the right step.
Thomas Allen, Alumni/Student Services Coordinator
Wine Instructor Thomas Allen began his culinary work at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City, where he immersed himself in the world of celebrity and haute cuisine. Following a stint at a specialty food store chain, he fell into a professional publishing career, and avidly pursued his primary loves — eating, drinking, and being merry. When his career took him to Denver, he decided it was time to return to his childhood passion and entered the Cook Street 180° Culinary Program in 2008. A graduate of the International Sommelier Guild’s Sommelier Diploma Program and a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, Thomas is currently working on his Certified Wine Educator accreditation and maintains a reputation as a true epicure among epicures.
Kathryn Brinkmann, Special Events & Recreational Class Coordinator/Wine Buyer
Skilled in event planning and saturated in the world of food and wine, Kathryn cultivated her craft at Denver institutions like Project Angel Heart, Mondo Vino, and the Colorado Culinary Series before joining Cook Street. Kathryn prides herself on being in tune with the tastes of both die-hard foodies and casual cooks, a skill she developed during a long career in fundraising, wine sales, and events direction.