As you may know, the main reason we were invited to come visit The Lodge At Vail was to check out the new Wildflower restaurant menu. The restaurant has been around for years, but Chef Paul Wade was hired last Fall and just completed a total revamp; including everything from interior design to menu concept.
After skiing on Saturday, we met with Chef Wade to discuss the Wildflower’s new gluten-free menu. (You can see it here, click on Cuisine In Balance) It turns out his culinary career spans 20 years and he has worked all over the world at restaurants such as The Four Seasons Wailea in Maui, Hawaii, where he was voted one of the top 10 chefs in Hawaii. It was a treat to talk to someone so passionate about food, plus we loved his super fun-sarcastic-quirky side.
He started to explain to us his personal beliefs about food and dining. He summed up his goals with straightforward descriptions like “healthful cuisine” and “responsible dining” while referring to himself as a student of “social, cultural and culinary anthropology.” Finding the American obesity problem truly unsettling, he wants to be a part of a “countercultural movement for authentic food sources”; which would include farm-to-table ingredients, minimally processed foods, no hormones, antibiotics, GMOs and zero artificial ingredients.
The responsibility goes both ways though, the consumer needs to be “body responsible”, meaning we have a responsibility to learn how to take care of ourselves and eat accordingly. He’s making it easier for his guests to do just that with his menu choices.
As if this part of his belief system didn’t already hook us, he leaned forward and eventually told us something that he hasn’t ever before made public. He wasn’t sure if you wanted or needed to know this, but we convinced him that you did.
He has lived with Crohn’s disease for 25 yrs.
Yes, initially he was interested in new healthy cuisines professionally, but when he applied them personally he saw big health benefits.
So, like us, he understands what it’s like to be sick and live with diet restrictions. And, also like us, his condition inspired him to discover a whole new world of food choices. As a talented chef, he’s created a delicious healthful cuisine. He’s “not just grabbing on to a market trend, but trying to do the right thing and give people a new choice.”
We really loved all of Chef Wade’s beliefs and philosophies surrounding food and his concept for The new Wildflower menu. And we’re so happy that serving safe gluten-free food fits into his whole vision, and he wants to do it right.
Thank you, Chef Wade!
Notice the difference in the decor since the remodel? Love it! The aim was “casual elegance”.
OK, it’s time to go eat!
Oh, and see the rock in the photo? It was such a nice rustic touch, all of the place settings had rocks.
Ayurvedic herbs and spices are found in the Tumeric Saffron Oil and Coriander Cumin Ginger Extract. They’re fun and pretty!
Don’t worry, the Chef knows the difference between wheatgrass and wheat. Technically, there isn’t gluten in wheatgrass. It’s your personal choice whether you want to indulge in these or not. We did because we were being “wild”;) And how fitting, we were eating at The Wildflower!
Our mystery guest ordered this from the non-gluten-free menu titled American Alpine Cuisine: Grilled Elk Loin, Blackberry Braised Red Cabbage, Parsnip Carrot Puree, Gingerbread Jus
Organic Chocolate Tempura, Banana Glass, Cinnamon Marshmallows, Pistachio Custard Note: The marshmallows were Kelly-friendly, as in they aren’t made with corn syrup! When I found this out I had to hold myself back from kissing the chef!
We were stuffed, but happpy from our sensuous feast! OH, and the whole staff was so fun, a complete cast of characters! We miss you! [air kiss]
(Moi, Mystery Guest and Kim) Yay for hat hair! Yeah, people are so friendly in Vail, that they just join you for dinner after meeting you on the slopes! That’s called Rocky Mountain Hospitality.
So, if you can’t tell from the photos…Chef Wade’s gluten-free menu puts the “rock” in Rocky Mountain cuisine! If you are ever in Vail, or live nearby, be sure to stop by and check it out. We’re sure you’ll be blown away.
And don’t forget to say “Hello!” for us!
Kelly & Kim