Jason Cott, 51, graduated from Emory University with a degree in comparative literature. While moonlighting as a bartender during his years in the publishing world, his hobby became a passion and, drawn to management, began growing the success of some of the finest restaurants and nightclubs in the city. He has spearheaded Alchemy Consulting from a company manifested solely on business cards and handshakes to an established firm sought after by large corporations and successful forward-thinking owners. Jason bridges the gap between creativity and fiscal responsibility. He understands that while service industry programs are kick-started by a labor of love, they survive as a business and must operate as such to ensure the longevity of a project.
Joaquín Simó, 44, has traveled a long way from his native Ecuador. While earning a dual degree in English and religion at Boston University, Joaquín tended bar in crowded college dives, raucous rock 'n' roll bars and neighborhood restaurants all the while furthering his education on food, spirits, and flavor combinations. As an opening staff member at New York's acclaimed cocktail bar Death & Company, Joaquín regales customers with colorful stories and hallowed history of classic spirits and cocktails, easily transitioning from describing particular Tequila regions to the history and production of Scotch. With achievements such as recipe editor for the Food & Wine 2009 Cocktail Guide, his amiable sense of energy and excitement along with his encyclopedic knowledge is indispensable in the training and furthering development of a staff. At Tales of the Cocktail, Joaquín was awarded American Bartender of the Year for 2012.
Chef Roxanne Spruance is a critically acclaimed chef, known for creating innovative, seasonal food, while respecting and incorporating regional traditions. Roxanne entered the culinary world as a pastry chef apprentice in the highly regarded restaurant, Blackbird in Downtown Chicago. While recruited to play field hockey at Michigan State University, she received two degrees – a B.S. in Environmental Biology/Zoology and a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife. In 2010, Roxanne landed a coveted spot as Chef de Partie under world-renowned chef Wylie Dufresne at New York’s WD~50, where she took full advantage of the opportunity to absorb invaluable modern techniques into her repertoire and to explore and experiment with flavor profiles and menu creation. Her tenure at WD~50 was followed by a Sous Chef position at Blue Hill at Stone Barns under the guidance of Dan Barber, where the daily exposure to fresh and local ingredients reinforced her passion to continue to support that cause in her cooking today. She followed Blue Hill by joining Alison Eighteen as Executive Chef in April 2013. It was here that she began to be known for her creative use of local ingredients and whole animal butchery while utilizing a wide range of techniques. She received the coveted “Snail of Approval” certification awarded by Slow Food New York for chefs who have sustainably driven kitchens. Chef Roxanne Spruance opened her own restaurant, Kingsley, in the winter of 2015/2016 to rave reviews. Kingsley was named Zagat’s “Best New Restaurant” and “Best American Restaurant” in 2016. It has been Michelin Recommended since opening and also has been awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the wine list, designed by Chef Spruance. Chef Spruance has been a featured chef at the James Beard House, and events such as Taste of T, New York Taste, and the New York City Wine and Food Festival. She also won “Chopped” on The Food Network, which featured bacon as a main ingredient and showcased her skills and depth of techniques under pressure. She was also named in Crain’s 40 Under 40 class of 2017. A frequent contributor on the Today Show, Chef Roxanne is always thrilled to share her tips and recipes on live TV. You can see Chef Spruance on the highly acclaimed show “The Butcher”, as a judge on the History Channel. Growing up an athlete in Chicago, Chef Roxanne has taken her fearless, winning attitude toward sports and translated it into a fearless attitude towards food. She’s unafraid to experiment with different genres and ingredients and believes in creating a culinary product that is stimulating while never losing respect for the product. Chef Spruance is thrilled to bring this vision and passion to her cuisine daily.