- Teamwork -
Jessie is the Chef/Owner of Mesa|Terra and a Pittsburgh-native. She’s cooked just about everything from health food meals to pies; she’s flipped burgers and run kitchens for some of the biggest names in the game for the past 15 years.
It all started during her stint at the Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park NY, graduating in 2009. Truth be told her family has been making and baking in Pittsburgh for many years. Her Grandfather’s Barkus Bakery, boasted some of the best-baked goods in Western Pennsylvania for over a decade.
Upon arriving in Chicago after graduation she immediately began working at the River North powerhouse, The Purple Pig. Jessie subsequently put in 4 years under Chef Carrie Nahabedian (2008 James Beard, Best Chef Great Lakes) at Naha, whilst simultaneously putting in time at their sister space Brindille. In 2014, she was running Oak Mill Bakery and Cafe and started her own private events company IVY O.M.B., under the same roof.
That business-like mindset led her to begin a series of big restaurant openings the first being, The Lunatic the Lover and the Poet being named Executive Chef in 2016. She moved to Denver with her partner in crime, Matthew in 2018. This lead to opening Alon Shaya’s (2015 James Beard, Best Chef South) Safta being named the Chef de Cuisine. Fast forward to 2019, Mesa|Terra Catering and Private Dining was born out of her love for cooking and the communal aspects of sharing and telling stories. It’s her philosophy however that sums it up: it’s who you’re eating with, not where you’re eating. This is the motor behind the boat. And the best part, now she can do it her way.
Director of Ops/Co-Founder/Chef
Matthew Manowski has amassed over 20 years in the hospitality industry. He’s had his paws in everything from fine dining and premiere cocktail labs to polished casual and fast food joints. No stranger to all aspects in restaurant operations, he’s worked the line, behind the bar, out on the floor and the rest.
Matthew has opened numerous restaurants with acclaimed and James Beard Award-winning chefs. Recently managing both cocktail gems: Kiss and Ride and Big Trouble in Denver, CO’s RiNo Arts District. In Chicago he was part of the Basque-inspired, Bib Gourmand-Awarded mfk. and James Beard-Awarded, Naha.
Matthew’s hospitality journey bloomed during an 8-year residency in Minneapolis, MN. From the avant-garde, midwestern confines of Haute Dish (R.I.P.) to the massively successful Butcher & the Boar. This spilled over into his work with Isaac Becker (2011 James-Beard, Best Chef Midwest) at Bar La Grassa. He also opened the super high-volume Tequila filling station Barrio, under Tim McKee (2009 James Beard, Best Chef Midwest). He moved to Seattle in 2013 and landed a gig at Bottlehouse, the boutique retail wine shoppe and Parisian cafe in Madrona.
Matthew is an artist. He earned his MFA from Seattle University in 2015. He has been awarded several residencies including; Belgrade, Serbia and Evoramonte Portugal and he has exhibited his work internationally, most recently in Prague. He founded LGHTLSSNSS in 2015.