Meet Our Chef-Instructors:

Kitchen Table Instructor Diego Coconati

Diego Coconati

Born in Argentina, I grew up in Puerto Rico, then moved to South Florida, where I attended Johnson and Wales University’s North Miami campus.

During my time in South Florida, I was able to work in the Fairmont Hotel as a Sous Chef in the French restaurant and then in the signature restaurant (Pacific Rim Cuisine).

After that I worked for well-known chefs including Chef Allen and Chef Jose Mendin, winner of, and nominated for James Beard awards.

At the Fairmont hotel I was privileged to cook for celebrities, including Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and the prince of Monaco.

In 2005, I moved to Colorado, where I started working in Boulder as Executive Chef at Seven on Pearl, a Latin/Asian Cuisine restaurant.

Other places where I’ve worked: Happa Sushi, California Café, and Atticus and Boones Tavern as Executive Chef.

I have a beautiful family: my wife Anna and I have been married for 6 years, and we are blessed with two great little girls, Louisa, four years old and Noelle, who is one year old.

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Kitchen Table Instructor Hamilton Cowie

Hamilton Cowie

Despite spinning all those pizzas during my high school years, I didn’t intend to spend most of my life cooking. Born and raised in the "weird" state of Florida, I moved to Colorado in 1996 with the intention of attending graduate school and teaching immortal literature to college students. I eventually decided against that path and instead began cooking at Trinity Grille in Denver while I figured out my next step. This turned out to be attending The Colorado Institute of Art, the School of Culinary Arts.

After graduation I traveled to France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, the American West, the American East and ate anything in my path: street food, fancy food, ridiculous food…it didn’t matter as long as it was well-executed. Brain tacos? The perfect Grand Marnier Soufflé? Spam sushi? Yes, please. 

For eight years I worked in legendary restaurants around Denver including Potager, Restaurant Kevin Taylor and Sacre Bleu. One day at Sacre Bleu, I was given my first shot at running a restaurant kitchen. In the next few years I headed up a few more restaurants, and eventually became a hotel chef. Here I mastered the finer points of multi-outlet management, including hotel restaurant service, room service and execution of large-scale banquets.

Nearly 30 years after spinning my first pizza, I eased into something new: culinary instruction. I had never considered teaching culinary arts professionally before seeing the clean, professional facilities of the Kitchen Table Cooking School and meeting the cool staff here. Working here allows me to have the work/life balance a professional chef can only imagine, and this manifests in my classroom enthusiasm and an honest desire to help others become better cooks. When not teaching or cooking my wife and I are enjoying traveling, sailing, fly-fishing, hiking, or camping.

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Kitchen Table Instructor George Martinez

George Martinez

I was born in San Jose, California, where I first became interested in food preparation in kindergarden when my instructor served BLUE EGGS: scrambled eggs with blue food coloring.

In junior high school, I took Home Economics so I could concentrate on food prepartion and cooking techniques. During my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I was lucky enough to attend a school that taught introduction classes for many different regional cuisines. As a senior, I was able to focus entirely on international cuisines.

In 2003 I graduated from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. I worked at Google Kitchens as a personal chef for Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google. I've also been employed by several fine dining restaurants in northern California, including SentSori in Saratoga, and in country clubs. I've developed a long list of original, unique recipes, but none of them have featured blue eggs.

My specialty is in Pastries, but I'm also learning more about Savory cooking. My favorite class to teach is Bison & Bourbon. The students must like it too, because classes are almost always full.

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Kitchen Table Instructor Nicole Swan

Nicole Swan

At the age of 13, I got my very first job cooking and baking at Overlook Farm Market in Middlehope, NY. This is where I learned how to bake cakes, pies, make donuts, carve turkeys, make sandwiches by the truck-load, and how to run a store-front. Because of this experience, I was determined to exceed everyone's expectations and become a chef.

Following my high school graduation, I decided to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Whilst attending the CIA, I came to Colorado and worked during my externship at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs Colorado. After graduating with my Associates degree in Baking and Pastry Arts I immediately joined the Pastry team at The Ritz Carlton Naples Golf Resort. While working there I went back to school and got my degree in hospitality management.

Two years later, I moved back to Colorado and for eight and a half years I worked as the pastry chef for Sodexo at The University of Denver. As of October 2014, I changed positions within the company and am currently Sous Chef of the Catering Kitchen. Through this experience, I am looking to pursue and further my career in either cooking or baking. In late 2014, my passion for baking and pastry led me to join the team at Kitchen Table. Here at Kitchen Table I get to use all my experience to teach the art of baking, and share my secrets and knowledge with others!

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