Rising Star Chef Max MacKissock of Bar Dough - Biography

Denver, CO

March 2017

At just 14, New Hampshirite Max MacKissock found his true calling at Sonny’s Italian Restaurant in upstate New York. He got off to a rough start in a dish pit, though. It had no ventilation, he was scrubbing dishes without machine, and he was in constant fear of the 450-pound chef who spent more time yelling than anything else. Despite the obstacles, MacKissock moved up the ranks, and gained formative training at Figliomeni’s in Albany. From there, his passion for Italian cuisine brought him to Italy, where he worked for a family in Calabria and took breaks to travel, eat, and explore the Mediterranean region. 

Back stateside, and after an influential experience working for Chef Frank Tardio at Glen Sanders Mansion in Schenectady, New York, MacKissock moved to Colorado, where he was chef of Great Northern Tavern in Keystone for six years. He was about to leave for San Francisco when his would-be wife, Chef Jen Jasinski, convinced him to stick around. MacKissock went on to opened Vita in Denver and followed that up with a successful run at The Squeaky Bean, receiving The Denver Post’s only four star review. The Bean was named one of Bon Appetit’s “50 Best New Restaurants” and Eater Denver’s “Restaurant of the Year;” and MacKissock was named Eater’s “Chef of the Year” in 2011 and 5280’s “Best Chef” 2013 and 2016.

In 2015, MacKissock opened modern pizzeria Bar Dough—a Denver dining destination, where you can get meatballs and a margarita or small plates to wash down with amaro. Having recently returned from travels in South America and Mexico, MacKissock has a second Latin-inspired concept, SeƱor Bear, in the works.