We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Albertini and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always wanted to start my own business. It is something I have been working towards for my whole career. I took my craft very seriously and wanted to feel as though my culinary well was full of knowledge before venturing out on my own.
About three years ago, I knew it was time to start the process. So, I began taking classes to help with my business plan. I had planned to open a small retail shop specializing in house-made pasta and sauces. It would include a chef counter to dine at, off-site catering, and locally sourced goods.
When covid became a global pandemic, my daughter was three months old. My husband and I wanted to protect her above anything else. So, we sat down and worked on simplifying my concept. I still wanted to work towards the shop but do it in a way that felt safe. I am very passionate about using locally sourced grains and teaching others about food sovereignty and the grain value chain. This adjusted business concept allows me to make pasta add value to my local community, and keep my family safe.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have cooked for over a decade, always intent to learn more. As my cooking career went on, I developed my culinary skills and also grew personally. I became an advocate for the community of marginalized people around me. I grew to understand how fragile our food system is and how important it is to support local value chains. I realized that I wanted to build a company focused on food but kept my advocacy to others and food sovereignty as its core values.
Milling and using fresh flours are not things many pasta companies do. Most people today have grown only consuming commodity grains. They do not realize that there are much healthier, more flavorful options out there. Using fresh, locally sourced grains, I make a product that supports the local grain value chain and gives people a better pasta option. That is something I am passionate about and find very exciting!
Being in the food and beverage industry is never easy. You work insane hours in ridiculous conditions for barely any pay. I had to have multiple jobs working 80 plus hours a week for parts of it, to keep my head above water. Self-care goes out the window when you are working that much; it is just about making it through the day. Even when it was tough, and the chefs were borderline abusive, I still always enjoyed the energy of working in restaurants and having access to great food.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since the birth of my daughter, I have become such a homebody it took me a minute to imagine this scenario. I have not yet been to Wildflower in Lohi; I can’t wait to try it. One of my favorite chefs, Will Harris, is there. He is a culinary genius, in my opinion. After that, I would eat at Sputino in the highlands. Mason’s dumplings and Anette’s in Aurora, and Yuan’s wontons wherever she maybe.
I love the MadebyUs pop-up markets that have given me an outlet to sell my pasta. It is a roaming market that pops up all over the city. Each location has a distinct charm and draw to them. You can get the best samosas I have had in Denver from the samosa shop, burgers from twans burgers, and Birra tacos from the chimichurri brothers.
The week would not be complete without a meal at Hop Alley, Potager, Cart Driver, and Safta. After eating at all of those places, we would head to Winter Park for outdoor activities.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This list of people who help me along the way is a long list at every period of my career. There has been someone who has helped me advance to the next level.
Someone who has gone to bat for me time and again over the past 15 years is Chef Chip Travelute. We first worked together at winter park ski resort. Chip was one of the first people to teach me what it meant to be a hospitalitarian. Later on, he helped me learn how to be a line cook in my career, then a chef. I was lucky enough to work with him when I was developing my business plan, and he influenced that as well.
sean o’brien www.seanobproductions.com