2021 Denver Food + Wine Festival

Explore The CHEFS, BAKERS + beverage pros

Julia Rivera

Julia Rivera runs her family food truck, Mukja, with her son James and daughter Kayla. (You will occasionally see Julia’s husband Victor taking orders when he is off work from his 9-5.) Mukja means “Let’s Eat” in Korean, and that’s what their family does: share their twists on Korean fusion cuisine, where Julia takes traditional Korean flavors and fuses them with whatever culture she sees fit to make fun, creative Korean-fusion street food.

Julia and her family started Mukja in late 2019, with no experience in the food-and-beverage industry. Growing up, Julia was a very picky eater… but in a Korean household, food is everyone’s love language and Julia had to try everything if an adult offered it to her. So, when she became an adult, she decided to only eat what she wanted to eat and to feed her kids only what they wanted to eat.

Then, Julia met her husband. Victor was very adventurous and wasn’t scared to try new things. They started traveling and, throughout the years, became curious and excited for new things to eat. James went off to college and after a few different majors, he really liked culinary, inspired by his late great grandmother. While James was going to culinary school, Kayla, who was getting a BA in accounting, decided that she and Julia wanted to share all the yummy things they’d been eating while traveling, as they saw an absence of diverse and fun fusion menus in Denver. Julia quit her job after 10+ years in accounting and started the food truck on Kayla’s days off from school. The family took a short break during Covid, but when they came back in late July 2020, people in Denver were excited about trying new cuisines. James, who came home from college because of the pandemic, joined the food truck in October 2020.

Now, the three — sometimes four — family members enjoy every moment of working on Mukja and being creative with their food. They love sharing what they love to eat! The Mukja journey has led them to experience a lot of things they didn’t know they could achieve, including being on the Food Network, where they won on the show Food Truck Prize Fight!

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