Holly Arnold Kinney and her brother Keith were raised in a replica of Bent’s Old Fort, now the world-famous Fort restaurant built by her father, acclaimed restaurateur Sam Arnold, located in the scenic foothills outside of Denver, Colorado. The Arnold family lived on the second level while the first floor housed the restaurant. As a young girl, Ms. Kinney learned the restaurant industry through holding many positions in the family business including busser and tortilla girl. Frequent trips with her father to London, Vienna, Switzerland and Mexico helped Kinney develop culinary knowledge and a worldly perspective at an early age.
In the 1970’s, Kinney was an account executive for KDEN News Radio in Denver and became the top billing sales representative. In 1978, General Electric Broadcasting Corporation’s KOA Radio hired Kinney as an account executive.
In 1981, Kinney founded Arnold Media Services (AMS), a public relations firm specializing in specialty food products and the restaurant industry. Swiss company Jacobs Suchard USA, makers of Toblerone Brand, hired Arnold Media Services to manage all promotions and media relations in the United States. This account launched AMS into the national and international markets. For more than 20 years, AMS provided public relations, marketing, and advertising and promotion services for local, national and international clientele including Nestle Specialty Foods Division, Perugina Chocolates from Italy, the National Bison Association, Hatch Chile Company, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Colavita and Monari Federzoni Balsamic Vinegar. In 2001, Arnold Media Services became the in-house public relations, advertising and graphic design agency for The Fort restaurant.
The passion that Kinney developed for history at a young age inspired her to partner with her father in founding The Tesoro Foundation, (www.tesorofoundation.org) a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization committed to protecting and making available to the community the artistic treasures and history of the American past in the Southwest. Bringing to life the traditions and events that shaped Colorado’s history and the Southwest’s heritage, Kinney has created a series of living history events, including: The Indian Market & Powwow, The Spanish Market & 1830s Rendezvous and Farmer’s Market, The Historic Dinner and Lecture Series, and the Christmas Eve Las Posadas reenactment. The Tesoro Foundation offers historic tours of The Fort and provides historic interpreters to present the Mountain Man & Woman Trunk Show for K-12 students at area schools.
In 2000, Kinney returned to her roots at The Fort, becoming her father’s business partner and 49% owner of the landmark restaurant. Active in the day-to-day management of the restaurant, Kinney was the driving force behind the Fort’s internet marketing and technology. She hired a full time Web master and advertising designer for The Fort’s web site www.thefort.com and recently markets The Fort through Facebook, YELP , TWITTER, Open Table, TV station web sites and other social media. She introduced a new tequila menu and an extensive wine list offering more than 130 varieties of fine wines. The Fort’s wine list has been honored by Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for four consecutive years since 2005.
Ms. Kinney launched the web-based Fort Trading Company in 2003. Marketing and selling The Fort’s world-renowned buffalo, elk and quail to customers around the country, Kinney has helped to fuel the healthy food trend of low-fat, high-protein and hormone-free meat. Since its inception, The Fort Trading Company’s product line has expanded to offer Colorado lamb, custom blended spices, and is the sole online provider of Coleman Natural products.
Holly Arnold Kinney became the sole owner and proprietress of The Fort LLC in December of 2006 after the passing of founder, Samuel P. Arnold. Like her father, she is passionate about history and cuisine, including the history of recipes and culinary traditions of the 16th, through the 19th century. She inherited her father’s 3,000 rare cookbook and western history library for her research and continues to hire antiquarians to continue to build and expand the library. Kinney remains loyal to The Fort’s historical and fine culinary roots.
In addition to owning and operating The Fort, The Fort Trading Company, The Tesoro Cultural Center and Arnold Media Services, Kinney currently serves on the Executive Committee on the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors. She also serves on the advisory board of Colorado’s Department of Agriculture Colorado Proud program. She is the former president and founding member of the Colorado Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Kinney is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), Meeting Planners International (MPI), Denver Metro Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Dining Committee, Denver Metro Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Marketing & Communications Committee, Colorado’s Energy Renewable Society, and Slow Foods International.
Recent Regional Television appearances:
May 2009: FOX 31 with Dan Daru- cooking demo on Powwow foods, specifically
KUSA “Good Day Colorado” – with Dr. Tom Noel Re: Fort history and Tesoro Lecture series
June 2006-2008: PBS documentary called “Shining Times” history of The Fort, Holly is interviewed.
May 2008- Fox 31- cooking demo re: Washtunkala Lakota Stew
KMGH ABC- interview on Tesoro Indian Market Powwow, May; Spanish Market , Sept.
Recent National TV Appearances:
2008- NBC’s Today Show with Al Roker- Holly preparing the Fort’s Rattlesnake cakes
2004: TV Food Network: On air With Bobby Flay- filmed “Food Nation” at The Fort
2006-present: Food Network “Unwrapped” – continues to air
Recent Speaking/Cooking Demonstration engagements:
May, 2009- Presenter at the Boulder Rotary Club re: historical foods of Bent’s Fort and Fort history
April, 2009- Featured speaker at Business Women’s leadership luncheon, So Denver Chamber of Commerce.
April 2009- Presenter and Cooking Demonstration at the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference, Denver. Also was co-chair of the Culinary Trust dinner and event held at The Fort.
April 2009- Yale University, featured speaker on historical foods and history of The Fort for Yale’s Howard Lamar Center of Frontiers and Boarders Western Studies department.
Kinney also voices all the weekly radio and TV ads for The Fort. Her voice tags “This is Holly From the Fort…” has established her as an on-air Denver area personality. Kinney also uses Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media to get her and The Fort’s message out into the public.
Kinney has a fully operational year round green house at her residence and an organic garden She home composts and is growing The Fort’s gardens to include heirloom vegetables, herbs, and is setting up The Fort to compost, to provide for the gardens. Kinney also manages The Fort’s teaching Fur Trade Garden in the Courtyard that grows corn, beans, squash and Mandan tobacco. Kinney owns over 40 acres east of The Fort which is zoned agricultural and already has the Colorado bee keepers housing bees on her land, making over 40 pounds of “Sissy bear honey” per hive.