©Megan Newton Photography
Jessica Benjamin Bio
For nearly two decades, First Bite Producer Jessica Benjamin has committed her time and energy to connecting her community to local food. From marketing one of Boulder’s most prominent restaurants to producing events with restaurants across Boulder County, to now taking one of Colorado’s most popular food events to the next level, Jessica is an important part of the fabric of the Boulder County restaurant scene.
After growing up in Colorado and receiving her degree from the University of Colorado, Jessica worked her way from hostess to managing the marketing for The Kitchen, where she coordinated their events as they were just opening up The Upstairs. She then shifted to Access Marketing & Events, a local small business producing large-scale corporate events, including global conferences and trade shows. As Director of Operations, she managed sponsorships from more than 300 businesses every year through six events worldwide.
In 2010, Jessica founded 1517 Events, first as a side-hustle and then in 2014, left the corporate world to dive in full time to craft world-class events to serve Boulder County. She has since designed and executed dozens of events in Boulder with non-profits and their established partners, including Jax Fish House, The Kitchen, Isabelle Farm, The Post Brewing Co., Corrida, Avery Brewing Co., Snooze an A.M. Eatery, and many others.
Throughout her time in Boulder, Jessica has collaborated and worked with area nonprofits, businesses, restaurants, the University of Colorado, and even as a Campaign Manager for her husband’s campaign in 2017. After experiencing Boulder’s growth and evolution for more than 15 years, Jessica invested even more into her community by purchasing First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week in March 2019. In her first year as Executive Producer, First Bite saw a more than 30% jump in diners, serving over 11,300 guests over the nine-day event. Through partnerships with over 68 restaurants, non-profits, local businesses and organizations, First Bite delivered over $542,000 economic impact to Boulder County.
With an intrinsic desire to deepen the connection between her community and the Boulder County food industry, extensive knowledge of the Boulder restaurant scene, invaluable long-term partnerships with area eateries, and an undeniable entrepreneurial spirit, Jessica is driven to build and connect First Bite’s guests to the Boulder County restaurant and food scene all year long.
In her free time, Jessica enjoys all Boulder has to offer with her husband and two small children. On the weekends, they often enjoy gardening, traveling, cooking and exploring Colorado’s outdoor wonders. She has worked with Garden to Table (Growe Foundation), both as a board member for four years, and as a volunteer for more than a decade, to support their efforts to improve nutrition at school, and enrich education experiences through school gardens and curriculum.