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Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. welcomes new director of culinary operations

Chef Jonathan Wood, a 20-year veteran of the culinary industry, has been hired in the newly created role of director of culinary operations for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.
Photo courtsey of Jonathan Wood

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. has created a new role dedicated to managing culinary operations at Steamboat Resort’s 23 restaurants. 

Chef Jonathan Wood, who is moving to Steamboat Springs from Los Angeles, will be the first to work in the director of culinary operations position.

“We’re looking to continue to introduce new concepts and food innovation to our restaurants,” said Rob Spence, vice president of food and beverage at the resort. “We wanted someone with a proven track record to bring that kind of experience to our team.”

Wood grew up in Kansas. While attending the Culinary Institute of America, Wood was attracted to French cooking due to its traditional and disciplinary nature.

“There’s definitely a certain type of intensity in the kitchen,” Wood said. “I gravitated toward that mostly because I wanted to learn the correct ways of cooking.”

As a second-generation Korean American, Wood’s mother had her own version of Korean food. Wood said her interpretations, as well as his grandparents’ more traditional cooking, helped inspire his love for food.

“It was an introduction to Korean food and its flavor profiles that a lot of midwesterners aren’t exposed to,” he said, adding his grandparents infused Japanese flavors into their food due to their exposure to Japanese food when they emigrated to America.

Wood said his love for cooking was first inspired by his love for eating, which he developed when visiting his grandparents in their Kansas City home.

“When I was younger, we’d be sitting around the dinner table, and I never made a peep,” he said. “I was so interested in the food I was eating that I didn’t want to talk to anybody.”

After graduating high school, Wood attended culinary school in New York City and completed an internship in Boston. After completing his education, Wood traveled to several different countries, which he said expanded his culinary skills.

Wood worked in several hotel kitchens in Los Angeles and said he prefers working in that environment due to its structure.

“My next step was to grow and take on a resort,” he said. “It goes along with my path of where I wanted to grow next.”

While Wood originally left his Kansas home because the city was too small for his taste, he said he’s excited to return to small town life in Steamboat.

“Everyone is so nice here,” he said. “I am a midwestern boy at heart, and being able to experience that through the interview process was what appealed to me.”

Wood’s jobs will look different this season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The restaurants are introducing a mobile app for patrons to order their food to avoid waiting in lines, Spence said.

Spence said the resort plans to build a tent structure at the top of the mountain as another place for patrons to eat, since Colorado only allows restaurants to operate at 50% capacity. 

Based on the concept of the Taco Beast, resort staff are introducing Pizza Ranger — a truck that staff will drive to various parts of the mountain and serve hot pizzas to those enjoying the slopes.

“This is to help provide opportunities outside of the restaurants,” Spence said. 

Wood moved to Steamboat in September and began his new role Sept. 26.


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