Meet Our New Chef Ellen!
We are very excited for you all to experience the delectable food that Chef Ellen and her team will be cooking this summer! In the mean time we did a little Q&A so you all could get to know Chef Ellen before your summer vacation. See you all soon and make sure to bring your appetite!
How did you choose Montana?
By plane. When the executive chef of Glacier Park Inc. passed away suddenly I was asked to fly out to help get the culinary team through. Through was never defined and I never asked. I flew out from the east coast the next morning. My reason was simple, I knew from personal experience what it was like to loose a chef. Chef Gorski at Glacier Park Inc. was loved by his staff, they all were in shock when he passed away and I wanted to help his staff in any way possible.
What are some of your highlights while working at Glacier Park Inc.?
It was the hardest job I have ever held, and yet meeting and working with so many students from all over the world has been wonderful. There is nothing more fulfilling than being able to teach someone a concept without a common language and seeing their expression when they understand the message, or their face when they try avocado for the first time.
Where did you gain your culinary knowledge?
At the age of 14 I started cooking at the Putney Inn as an apprentice. That program brought me to the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe and then the Fox Fire Inn. From there I was hired at South Seas Plantation training under Chef Banigan. I then applied to Stouffer Hotels and Resorts for their culinary management program. Upon completion, I opened one of their restaurants in Florida. It was a truly amazing experience.
How many years have you been cooking?
Over 35 years
Who is your culinary mentor?
Chef Joanna Jenkins, her creativity and use of fresh local products made the two years I was her Sou Chef the most inspirational of my entire culinary career. Chef Bob Walton was the executive chef of Grand Teton Lodge, St. Mary, Colter Bay and The Jacksonhole Golf club. He taught me the importance of team building and what it means to run a team.
What is your favorite dish to make?
That changes daily. I love to try new ideas and use locally grown products. Some of my main stay ingredients are dark beers, cheese, and fresh veggies.
How did you come up with this year’s menu?
This menu is a combination of traditional recipes that are a central part of Flathead Lake Lodge and my ideas that incorporate fresh local ingredients. Some courses are more traditional in concept; others are more of a modernist food fusion with a blend of flavor profiles.
Anything we should anticipate?
Memories of a wonderful vacation filled with great food!
What are you anticipating?
To build a culinary team that is going to elevate dinning at Flathead Lake Lodge, so perhaps next year you will be coming back for the food, the view, the horses, and the staff. . . notice the food was first!