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Chef Profile

Chef Profile, DINING

CHEF PROFILE: BRIAN ACKERMAN

That’s So Classic! Brian Ackerman of Splendido at the Chateau elevates the classics but keeps them fun Brian Ackerman’s childhood didn’t exactly scream “destined to become a culinary powerhouse.” As it happened, he got lost in an unexpected adventure. “It was one of those homes where Monday was spaghetti, Tuesday was lasagna —just all-American stuff,” says the chef-owner of Splendido at the Chateau in Beaver Creek, one of the best fine-dining experiences in the valley. Certainly one of the most consistent. But he didn’t grow up cooking or thinking much about it. After graduating from high school he headed off to the University of Missouri — Mizzou — where he dutifully began pursuing a business degree, and took a job in a restaurant. Sometimes it’s those little decisions that end up being so consequential.  The ball just started rolling, one restaurant leading to the next, then the Culinary Institute of […]

Chef Profile, DINING

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Chef Wade Eybel talks food, family and the mountain lifestyle By Krista Driscoll, Photography by Brent Bingham If you want some insight into Wade Eybel, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek executive chef, look at his burger. It starts with Colorado Meat Co. grassfed, naturally raised beef, sourced within a 100-mile radius of Avon. The pork belly bacon comes from pigs raised by a man named Tom Walsh in Meeker, and the lettuce from Robert Anthony’s Buttercrunch Farm in Eagle.  Stacked with aged white cheddar, crispy onion fritz and special sauce on a house-made brioche bun, this is The Local Burger. It smacks of the mountains and provides a lens for viewing Chef Eybel’s culinary vision: wood-fired, noseto- tail Colorado cuisine.  “It’s a heck of a lot cheaper for me to buy lettuce from the Central Valley of California or pigs from Iowa or beef from Nebraska,” he says, “but it’s […]

Chef Profile

Executive Chef Paul Wade

A simple description of Paul Wade would say he is a chef in Vail, and it may even elabo- rate to list the restaurants on his resume and his decorated career of awards and accom- plishments. But those who know Wade well — and even for those who have had the pleasure of knowing or working with him for a short time — would likely agree that there is nothing “simple” about him, his contributions or his accolades. He is as dynamic and impassioned as the dishes he develops for menus; as inspired and creative as the music he composes at home to wind down after work. Now in his fifties, Wade’s career has taken him from his roots in Sonoma, California, to the island of Maui and then to the Colorado moun- tains. He worked his way up early from pastry chef to line cook to sous chef, then […]

Chef Profile

LOVE OF FOOD & FAMILY

What makes a great chef? Talent and creativity, of course, and always at least a dash of passion. The must-have ingredient, however, eludes taste or presentation and simmers from a deeper area of experience in the industry. It’s that which life measures, not a spoon or a cup, and what David Gutowski accounts for his journey and success as an executive chef in Beaver Creek. It’s work ethic “If you want something, work hard and go get it,” says Gutowski. “I did it—I’m a perfect example. You can thrive in this town; it may cost you a powder day.” And that’s not to say that Gutowski doesn’t get out and enjoy thigh-deep turns on his snowboard when he can carve out the time. He moved to the mountains for his love of the sport, but now as a full-time executive chef with a house, a family and all the expenses […]

Chef Profile, DINING

A Hearty Visit to Germany

Once upon a time, in the German mountains, there lived a girl name Resi. After losing her beloved fiancé, Florian, Resi retreated to an isolated cabin and dedicated her time to looking after the travelers that passed by, thus trying to heal her broken heart. Her hospitality became known far and wide, with locals who felt spoiled, loved and completely at home saying, “It’s just as lovely here as it is at Almresi.” So begins the story of Almresi, a legend in Bavaria and the inspiration behind the new restaurant in Vail Village. An evening here almost feels as if you’ve been immersed in a fairy tale, from the rustic cabin decor to the almost magical warmth and comfort that emanates from the staff and the cuisine. But it’s not magic: The story behind Almresi Vail is firmly rooted in hard work, dedication A Family Affair Almresi opened in December […]

Chef Profile

Sweet Expressions

They boil and bake and flour and fold. From custards to cakes, these sweet chefs keep the Vail Valley’s collective cravings satisfied. And when they’re not hard at work in the kitchen creating beautiful confections, they’re out and about feeding their souls. How sweet it is! Did you always want to be a chef? Since childhood, I baked cakes with my father, and my grandmother would keep the recipes. I don’t think I could have been anything else. Did you begin as a pastry chef? Well, I began working in the industry 25 years ago in Chile, where I’m from. Fifteen years ago, I became a pastry chef and developed my career in hotels. I perfected wedding cakes in Singapore, desserts in Brazil and dough and fondant in Argentina. I heard that you tool around town on your bike. I like riding and enjoying the view. It is a street […]

Chef Profile

Helmut Kaschitz

At age 14, Helmut Kaschitz received the most basic lesson in cooking—cleanliness. And he instills that philosophy in his employees at Pepi’s Restaurant, where he works as the executive chef. Kaschitz grew up in Austria, and after completing nine years of primary school, he began a cooking apprenticeship. An after-school program had introduced him to cooking and from the moment he stewed his first soup, he fell in love. “I got such a kick out of it, how to slice the vegetables and dice the vegetables and cook,” Kaschitz says, reflectively. However, like any 14-year-old, when his Austrian supervisor ordered him to clean a storage pantry early in his apprenticeship, Kaschitz only wiped down the front of the canned foods. But, when his supervisor saw his superficial effort she was outraged. She removed every can from the shelves, completely clearing the edges before scrubbing down each one and neatly rearranging […]

Chef Profile, DINING, Dining and Nightlife

Chef Profile with Fernando Ocampo or Ristorante Ti Amo

Ask Chef Fernando Ocampo for a recipe and he will give it to you, but don’t be surprised when the dish you make doesn’t taste like it did when you were dining in his restaurant. “The last ingredient I put in is 100-percent love,” shares Ocampo. And that’s Ti Amo — an Italian “I love you” that always tastes so good. This year marks two decades of Ocampo in the Ti Amo kitchen. He just celebrated his 40th birthday, and this summer he becomes part-owner of the establishment. Ocampo’s childhood was spent in Buenavista de Cuellar, Guerrero, Mexico, and he moved to the United States in 1993 at age 16. He started in Chicago, then California, before landing in Colorado in 1995, and his work at Ti Amo began in May of 1996. The restaurant’s original owner, Vincenzo Perucchini, hired Ocampo to prep food in the kitchen under the guidance of chef Rafael Ortiz. Ocampo soon moved into the sauté station, and after two years under the […]