Mawa McQueen: Owner, Mawa's Kitchen Aspen

The story of Mawa McQueen is equal parts passion and serendipity. Born on Africa's Ivory Coast and raised in Paris, France, Mawa's first introduction to the culinary world came at an early age as the eldest of 11 siblings. With her mother working around the clock to support the family, Mawa was designated chef (among many other titles) for the entire McQueen family. It wasn't until Mawa attended culinary school in Paris in the late-'90s where she studied hotel and restaurant management with a minor in cooking that Mawa’s culinary story began. After completing her studies, she worked around Paris and the French Alps. Then, in an effort to achieve her dream and be fluent in English, Mawa moved to Stratford upon Avon in England where she worked in the front of the house. While in London, Mawa’s long-time dream came true when she won the green card lottery that made it possible for her to move to the United States in 2002.

Upon her arrival in America, Mawa first lived in Kennebunkport, ME where she worked at the White Barn Inn, a five-star five-diamond resort hotel and restaurant, where she mastered the art of New England hospitality and cuisine. Another dream of hers came true when she got the opportunity to go Aspen, CO and work for The Little Nell, another five-star five-diamond hotel and restaurant.  During her time in Aspen, Mawa saw a niche for high-quality catering and culinary services. In 2004, she founded M&M Home Dining Services and continued to work at The Little Nell.  The success of M&M allowed her to continue her own story and move to Aspen permanently in 2006. In early 2014, Mawa rebranded M&M as Mawa's Kitchen, a full-service culinary company.  Then in 2015, she remodeled her commercial kitchen into a full-service restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating for breakfast and lunch through the week and brunch on the weekends.  Mawa also continues to provide In-Flight catering on private jets out of Aspen and other nearby airports, private catering and cooking classes, as well as meal pick-up and drop-off service out of the restaurant.

Mawa’s story now includes her second restaurant, Market Street Kitchen, a crepe and taco café in Basalt, CO that opened in 2015.  Her most exciting chapter is unfolding now as she prepares to open her third location, The Crepe Shack, a French inspired creperie in the new Snowmass Base Village in Snowmass Village, CO.  A lifelong lover of crepes, Mawa has one of the most interesting crepe menus with such inspired items as Osestra caviar crepes, Iberico Jamon crepes and Duck foie gras crepes. In addition to all of this, Mawa has launched her own line of Vegan, gluten-free granola called Mawa’s GrainFreeNola.  In each of the three mouth-watering flavors, Mawa only uses organic nuts and seeds and sweetens them with Medjool dates and pure Vermont maple syrup.  In addition to the low sugar content, all of the flavors are oat free which makes them a perfect snack, breakfast component or ingredient for your favorite treats.

My Goal of the Day: Create, embrace, be open to new adventures, and stand in my truth.

My Thought of the Day: Be grateful.

My Action of the Day: Be kind.

What do you love most about Your City?

I love my city because it’s breathtaking and looks like a Hallmark card every day. I like the distinct seasons like Fall when the colors are beautiful, the aspen turn golden yellow and the mountainsides go all red and orange.  Summer is amazing, it’s green all over and you can bike, hike, mountain climb, go to events like Food and Wine, Jazz Aspen Festivals, etc.  In Winter you ski, snowshoe and can still hike.  Then Spring is a renewal with blossoms and green hillsides and a return to warmer weather activities.  Better yet, the people of Aspen are its very soul.  They care for one another, the environment and even the well-being of the wilderness they live in. Every day Aspen blossoms and makes you want to stay and never leave.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I have two favorite breakfasts the first is homemade, from scratch, buttermilk pancakes (no mixes), two fried eggs on top and two cherrywood Tender Belly bacon slices (crispy) with real Vermont maple syrup.  This is my go-to on the weekends.  

The second is my weekday go to, my GrainFreeNola Parfait with coconut or almond milk yogurt, berries and banana that I wash down with a homemade veggie smoothie.

My favorite restaurant, other than my own locations are Cache Cache for their classic French cuisine (with a modern twist), Meat and Cheese, and Monarch Restaurant all in Aspen, CO.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Done with my work out, I’m eating breakfast and reading the Aspen Times, then I go over my calendar for the day.  This is my “me-time” until 7:00 am

10:00 AM – I’m at the restaurant. Placing orders, reviewing orders, cooking, developing new recipes, and taking care of my wonderful customers.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

I don’t have time to go to a power spot, this is my crunch time at Mawa’s Kitchen taking care of my customers.  I get my lunch at 3:00 when service is over and that is usually a Curry Chicken Bahn Mi or a Salmon Nicoise Salad from my restaurant.  If by chance I go out to lunch, for a meeting or something, it’s usually to The White House Tavern or Meat and Cheese in Aspen.

7:00 PM - During the season I’m cooking for my high-profile clients.  Off-season, I relax with my husband and review the day.

11:00 PM – I’m reading a book.  Usually I read books about business or empowerment.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Champagne, champagne, champagne.  I mean “real” champagne, from Champagne, France. It never lets you down.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Mawa’s Kitchen, MKStreet Kitchen, The Crepe Shack by MK (these are my restaurants)

What should everyone try at least once?

Escargot, caviar, and foie gras, or anything that’s edible!

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In my thoughts.  I’m always in control and doing, so when I’m alone, I’m all about relaxing with myself in solitude, letting my thoughts wander and getting lost with them.

My Deed of the Day: Be generous.

My Tip of the Day: Be loving.

My Pic of the Day: