Fresh n’ Wild with Pine Creek Cookhouse Executive Chef Chris Keating
Summertime at the Pine Creek Cookhouse means the freshest and most sustainable ingredients served in a truly wild setting.
Even for people who live here, the Pine Creek Cookhouse is a special destination. Tucked into the upper reaches of the Castle Creek valley where the surrounding peaks stand tall and immediate, it’s one of the last truly wild places where cell phone reception and development haven’t encroached on its raw beauty.
In addition to being perhaps one of the most beautiful places to dine anywhere in the world, the Pine Creek Cookhouse creates a menu to reflect its natural setting by creating menus inspired by fresh local ingredients, from micro-farmed organic veggies to wild game exclusively bred for Executive Chef Chris Keating.
We caught up with Chef Chris to talk about what’s in store for summer and the story behind the Pine Creek’s world famous momos (if you don’t know what a momo is, read on).
Tell us about the summer menu.
I’m a little different than most chefs. I ask the farms to grow what they grow best, and then I’ll write the menu around that.
Colorado isn’t exactly known for its fresh produce. Is it hard to find good vegetables?
No, not at all. I locally source from a local micro-farm where the product is beyond organic. In the heat of summer, I get tomatoes from Bradley Family Farm. I’m also able to get lots of greens, like kale and spinach. At the end of the summer, baby heirloom carrots with mixed greens are really good.
Talk to us about your meat and wild game. Now that’s something this region is known for.
The elk chop on our dinner menu is something you can’t get anywhere else in the country. The ranch I buy from raises their animals in such small quantities that I buy everything from them. I can’t even give you the name—it’s a top secret mission. The quail is from a ranch in Texas and they are fresh and never frozen. All of the chickens come from the Bradley Family Farm. We also have Kurt Russell raising beef on his ranch for our lunch menu, which is how the open-faced patty melt got its name.
Tell us about the momos—those are a local favorite for sure.
Momo is Nepalese for dumpling. The owner of the restaurant, John Wilcox has made several documentary films in the Himalayas and has traveled extensively in Tibet and Nepal. We have sherpas who live here on the property. Sarah Sherpa makes all the momos from handmade dough and ground buffalo. The dipping sauce is oven roasted tomatoes with spices and garlic and onion—but I can’t tell you which spices.
What’s your favorite thing about summer at the Pine Creek Cookhouse?
In the summer you feel like you’re in a national park: no cell phone no internet no television
It’s fun to watch people show up and they’re trying to bang away on their smart phone until they realize that they don’t don’t work, and then they put their devices away and start interacting with each other. That’s when the party begins.
The Pine Creek Cookhouse will be open weekends starting June 9th, then 7 days a week starting June 21st. Please call for availability: (970) 925-1044