Original article by Christine Benedetti, Time Out Food Columnist Mar 1, 2019
This week, television station Aspen 82, a media partner of the Aspen Daily News, has been profiling local women in business on its mountaintop morning show.
About a dozen of the same women gathered at Ellina for a dinner on Wednesday. Ellina is now owned by Jill Carnevale. She started as an expediter and then became the restaurant’s sommelier for eight years, curating a 1,200-label wine program. When an opportunity to purchase the restaurant popped up, she pounced. Combining her Wall Street background with business grit, less than a year into her ownership the restaurant is thriving.
Carnevale still runs the restaurant’s wine program, and during dinner she thoughtfully poured a red Italian blend from a female winemaker. She acknowledged other women in the Aspen food-and-beverage community who have inspired her, including Mawa McQueen, who also sat at the table.
McQueen started at The Little Nell in 2002 before stepping out on her own. Today, she owns a mini restaurant empire comprised of Market Street Kitchen in Basalt, Mawa’s Kitchen at the Airport Business Center and The Crepe Shack, which debuted in Snowmass Base Village this winter.
But what makes McQueen unique among other female restaurant owners is that she’s also the chef. Besides running the business, she executes on the culinary side; McQueen wields sharp knives and sharp business acumen. And don’t think that she’s done yet – the community should eagerly await her next moves.