Steamboat Resort hires new director of culinary operations |

Steamboat Resort hires new director of culinary operations

David Mullen always dreamed of serving up hot plates and creating culinary experiences while surrounded by natural beauty.

After accepting a position as Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. director of culinary operations, Mullen’s dream has officially come true.

A 25-year culinary veteran, Mullen began his career in Telluride, then moved to Park City and eventually landed in Steamboat Springs, after taking a year off to camp and travel the country with his wife.

“It’s very similar to Park City and the surrounding areas, but it was a really good opportunity here in Steamboat to work with the culinary team,” Mullen said. “The teams are already plugging away.”

Mullen is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and most recently oversaw executive chefs for 50 properties across the U.S. owned by Davidson Hotels and Resorts headquartered in Atlanta as their corporate executive chef. He also has served as resort executive chef at Sundance Resort and chef de cuisine at Montage Deer Valley Resort.

Mullen will oversee all of Steamboat’s culinary operations including on-mountain, the base area, the Steamboat Grand and Haymaker Golf Course.

As the director of culinary operations, Mullen will be in charge of all menu and concept development, procurement strategy, development of a strong safety culture and adaption to evolving COVID-19 regulations.

“Being a part of the Steamboat team means I am able to combine my passion for innovative culinary offerings, new concepts for business development and my love of the outdoors all in one location,” said Mullen. “I am thrilled to move the culinary experience at Steamboat Full Steam Ahead, along with the other base area and on-mountain improvements.

“This is an exciting time to be in Steamboat and I know our team will step up to the challenge to make sure the future of Steamboat’s dining options matches the reimagined resort experience,” he added.

Rob Spence, Ski Corp. vice president of food and beverage, said Mullen brings unique experience to the position during a rapidly-changing time.

“As we embark on a new era of culinary operations with Full Steam Ahead, (Mullen) is a fresh perspective to elevate our already outstanding teams and restaurants to new heights,” Spence said. “His specific background in developing and implementing new concepts and creative menus for properties, especially his experience with luxury ski destinations, will be incredibly valuable for our future resort offerings.”

While Mullen said he is excited for the season to fully kickoff, he is inheriting the position at a tumultuous time, as Steamboat Resort has received almost no natural snow and had to push its Opening Day back. And the resort has struggled to hire employees, particularly those staffing its restaurants.

“We’re trying different avenues as a team, and everybody is on board and helping with the interview process,” Mullen said.

Loryn Duke, Ski Corp. director of communications, said the resort’s biggest barrier to hiring more restaurant staff is housing, which is why the resort recently acquired 132 more employee units at the Fairfield Inn and purchased the former Steamboat Hotel and Steamboat Mountain Lodge to provide housing for its seasonal employees.

Because the resort has had more trouble hiring cooks than any other position, Ski Corp. has agreed to cover the first and last month’s rent for cooks living in their employee housing.

“I think that’s been a really good recruiting tactic,” Duke said.

Mullen’s background is in working with ski resorts and hotels surrounding them, and he draws his culinary inspiration from wanting to serve guests who are looking to relax after a long day on the mountain.

“I think after COVID, everyone was really gearing toward that comfort style of food,” Mullen said. “We want people to feel like they’re in a really warm, happy place while they’re having fun.”

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