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September 8, 2022

The Colorado Restaurant Association hosts the Denver Food + Wine Festival as a fundraiser for the association’s foundation. But, it is also designed to showcase the diverse culinary scene and to celebrate all those who make our restaurants work. The restaurant industry has come under fire during the pandemic. And, just as diners returned, food prices soared and workers were hard to find. Restaurant workers need a little appreciation and an owner threw a party for her staff.

“It’s amazing,” said Chelsea Jones, at the party she attended with her Comida colleagues.

Jones has worked at Comida for six years as a bartender/server. She was thrilled when owner Rayme Rossello announced she was hiring a shuttle to take her staff of 40 to her home in Boulder County for an afternoon of food and fun.

“It just makes people feel more important, and that their job isn’t just a job, it’s more than that,” Jones told CBS News Colorado.

Rossello hired chef Jeff Stoneking to provide an Asian-inspired spread, so his staff wouldn’t have to lift a finger.

“It’s nice to be taken care of, instead of having to take care of others,” Jones said with a laugh.

“I just want them to feel connected. And, being able to come together outside of this space, where people work so hard, and just let loose and have fun, I think that’s really important,” explained Rossello.

Comida Cantina weathered the pandemic with government grants and loans, but now the business model has changed.

“I gave everyone raises,” Rossollo said. “I’m now paying a week’s paid vacation for everyone in the kitchen.”

She is committed to making her employees feel good when they come to work every day, and she wants them to see that foodservice can be a lifelong career.

“It can be that thing you do on your way from here to there, but it can also be the thing that you do all your life, which is completely respectable, and which can pay your bills and live well”, she said. said.

Above all, Rossollo wants her staff to know how much she appreciates them.

“I love Comida. It’s a great community. It’s a great company,” Jones said.

LINK: Tickets & Denver Food + Wine Festival Information

The Denver Food + Wine Festival held a Yoga + Bubbles event on Tuesday especially for restaurant workers. Money raised from Dining Under the Stars will be used to make mental health care available to industrial workers. The Colorado Restaurant Foundation’s mission is to enhance the career development of anyone working in the restaurant business.