Utah’s Chefs Go to The Big Apple
Recently, I attended a remarkable media dinner – a preview of some of the new dishes that will be appearing on restaurant menus throughout Deer Valley Resort this ski season. The evening’s delights were created and cooked up by a team of six uber-talented Deer Valley chefs, including Director of Food and Beverage, Jodie Rogers, and chefs Chris Gibson, Stephen Harty, Brian Henning, Ryan Lloyd, and Ryan Burnham. On Friday, October 25, this Deer Valley culinary team will be preparing a one of a kind dinner at New York City’s esteemed James Beard House. The team was invited by the James Beard Foundation to design and prepare the dinner, which is a sell-out.
Said Director of House Programming for the James Beard Foundation, Izabela Wojcik, of the Deer Valley culinary team, “The Beard House is absolutely delighted to be hosting this dinner, as it not only represents an opportunity for our guests to meet a group of chefs from such an enchanting place, but more to our mission, to explore the flavors, the regionality, and the impact these chefs have had on their community.”
New Menus for a New Season at Deer Valley
While you and I might not be able to attend the Deer Valley dinner at the James Beard House in The Big Apple, we can enjoy some of the dishes presented there this season at various Deer Valley Resort restaurants. Here’s a sampling of what we have to look forward to.
The evening kicked off with some inventive canapés like Nashville Hot Fried Pheasant with Cajun Cheddar and Chive Waffles, Vinegar Slaw, High West Campfire Whiskey and housemade Sriracha Syrup. Toasted Pine Nut-Basil Macarons with Lemon Mascarpone and Prosciutto was spot-on, as was Butter-Poached Shrimp with “Popcorn,” Bacon-Lobster Crumble, and Caramel. Don’t expect to find anything mundane like crudités with ranch dipping sauce at Deer Valley, where even the hors d’oeuvres are way above par.
When you visit the Seafood Buffet at Deer Valley Resort this season, be certain to hunt down the Garlic Herb Butter Seared Scallops from among the myriad of delicious food choices offered there. Served with orange gastrique, blood orange pearls, crisp pork belly, microgreens, asparagus noodles and arugula salad, this is a very elevated version of surf & turf that Snow Park Lodge Executive Chef Brian Henning and his staff have come up with.
The Mariposa is one of Deer Valley’s fine dining restaurants and it was well-represented by Silver Lake Lodge Executive Chef Chris Gibson’s marvelous mushroom dish. The Wild Mushroom Beggar’s Purse features freshly foraged seasonal mushrooms in a crispy phyllo dough casing with Shepherd’s Dairy goat cheese, salt-roasted beets and Pinot Noir gastrique. I’m not even particularly fond of mushrooms (it’s a texture thing), but I ate every morsel of my scrumptious Beggar’s Purse.
One of my favorite dining destinations in winter is Deer Valley’s Fireside Dining, where dinner courses are cooked and served from a quartet of large stone fireplaces at rustic Empire Canyon Lodge. I can’t get enough of the gooey Raclette melted over the fire there. But an astonishingly delicious new dish from Fireside is Grilled Guinea Hen Gnocchi. It’s simply brilliant, and contains a number of ingredients that I love. It’s a magnificent melange of grilled guinea hen with Meyer lemon and thyme infused gnocchi in a smoked Gouda cream sauce. Additionally, there’s housemade chorizo, cured egg yolk, fresh fava beans and slow-roasted tomatoes to round out the presentation. That’s a tough dish to top, and kudos to Empire Canyon Lodge Executive Chef Ryan Lloyd and his team for this killer creation.
Ryan Burnham is the remarkably talented Food & Beverage Director at the Goldener Hirsch Inn, another Deer Valley Resort property. His contribution to the evening – and one which will buckle the knees of attendees at the James Beard House dinner – was Goldener Hirsch’s Utah Lamb with farro, foraged mushrooms, parsnip and huckleberries. The lean, beautiful lamb chops were cooked perfectly until just pink and tender. I don’t know where Chef Burnham gets his huckleberries, but the flavor of those wonderful berries took me back to my Montana grandma’s kitchen. She used to forage for huckleberries and I could never get enough. Goldener Hirsch Inn guests won’t be able to get enough of this lovely lamb.
Deer Valley Resort Restaurant
Throughout the evening, gorgeous wines selected by Deer Valley Resort Restaurant Operations Manager, Clint Strohl, were perfectly paired with the wide variety of dishes, flavors and textures – no simple feat. I especially enjoyed a wonderful Spanish wine which was paired with the Wild Mushroom Beggar’s Purse, called Bergesio Collezione ‘Rufián’ Rufete which was aged in used Burgundy barrels, lending rich, earthy tones that nicely complemented the earthy mushrooms.
Deer Valley Bakery
As Executive Pastry Chef, Stephen Harty and his team prepare a multitude of pies, cakes, cookies, macarons, Chocolate Snowballs, and dozens of other desserts for the entire collection of Deer Valley Resort eateries. For the James Beard House preview dinner, we were treated to a Chocolate Trio from the Deer Valley Bakery. Wow! The “trio” consisted of hazelnut and cinnamon milk chocolate; Grand Marnier white chocolate and fleur de sel, and my favorite: warm chocolate chip cookie crumble with elderberry coulis. It was accompanied, beautifully, by 2008 Vieira de Sousa 10 Year Old Tawny Port Douro.
Personally, I can’t wait for the 2019-2020 ski season to begin at Deer Valley Resort so I can once again enjoy some of these fine dishes. And, best wishes and congratulations are in order to the award-winning Deer Valley Resort culinary team as they travel to New York City for the upcoming “Regional Spotlight: Destination Deer Valley” dinner at the James Beard House. Good luck and safe travels!
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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