We know the people of Alta and Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge are one of a kind, and the stories of how they ended up in Alta and at the Lodge are just as unique and interesting. We’ve told you a little bit about Jenn, Trainer, Ross, Jonathan, and Liz, as well as the stories of a few of our guests. We have big plans to keep these stories coming and are excited to unveil those plans in the coming months, but for now we are eager to tell you the story of Chef Mike.
To begin, we have to take you to Nantucket, Massachusetts in the summer / fall of 2008. While working in Nantucket, Chef Mike happened to see an ad for a sous chef position at Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge in Alta, Utah. Having spent most of his life in Florida Mike had never skied before, yet had a desire to learn more about the ski culture (for a season), he applied and was offered the position. Just a few months into his first season at the Lodge, Jenn and Ross offered him the Executive Chef position overseeing both restaurants at the Lodge. And, as we hear so very often one season has quickly turned to the start of his seventh season, with no end in sight (at least we hope).
As Executive Chef at the Lodge, Chef Mike has been instrumental in several noticeable changes at the lodge. If you’ve spent time in the lodge over the last several years, you may have noticed or maybe not. Chef Mike does things because they are the right thing to do. We don’t often hear him “tooting his own horn”, but tend to notice things improving year after year due to his determination to make a difference.
Some of the changes he is most proud of include a move to feature fresh, locally grown and raised food (Beehive Cheddar, Criminelli Meats and organic, free range chicken), improved green standards and exclusively handmade items throughout the both the Top of the Lodge Restaurant and the cafeteria menu. It is not very common to enjoy hand pattied burgers and homemade soups in a ski area cafeteria, but at Slopeside Café, that is what you get.
Each summer, Chef Mike returns to Florida to spend time with his daughter and five-year-old granddaughter. When asked the difference between ski bums and the beach bums he knows so well, he casually highlights the altitude as the primary difference.
When asked why he returns year after year, he mentions the energy of the lodge and the excitement of getting the lodge up and running each year. He loves how much freedom Jenn and Ross give him with ordering and menu creation and looks forward to the people, both returning and new guests and employees and their arrival at the lodge. His favorite time of year is when the lodge is full, the restaurants are full and all are having a good time.
As we approach the first busy time of the season, Chef Mike invites all to enjoy dinner at the Top of the Lodge Restaurant. Many aren’t aware that the dining room is open to the public, but he encourages both Alta visitors and residents and residents of Salt Lake City to experience a night at the Top of the Lodge Restaurant.
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