Chefs from the resort’s six restaurants shared and discussed 40 new dishes over two hours, with Executive Chef John Murcko noting that in the food industry, “you’re dying or growing.”
Sun Valley (Idaho) Resort Executive Chef John Murcko is eager to offer skiers and boarders new dishes to lure them off the slopes and into the resort’s six mountain restaurants, so he asked his chefs to concoct new taste sensations in late November, the Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News reported.
A few items can’t be omitted, such as the warm chocolate chip cookies that Sun Valley resort owner Carol Holding insisted be restored when chefs tried to delete them from the Warm Springs Lodge menu. Also, the taco bar, which attracts dozens of youngsters in search of a filling but inexpensive meal every weekend at Bald Mountain’s Lookout Lodge, the Times-News reported.
“You’re dying or growing,” said Murcko, who was named Utah’s Top Chef while working in Park City. “Food has to evolve. Even if we’re doing a burger, we have to look at what we do better.”
Sun Valley’s chefs prepared a variety of new dishes, then paraded them before their toughest critics: Murcko and other Sun Valley chefs. Chefs eyeballed the dishes for appearance’s sake. Then each dug in, taking one tiny bite each of the 40 dishes they would test over two hours,the Times-News reported.
Armis Torres and others presented an array of dishes, including sweet potato fries laced with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese, a pulled-pork waffle slider and a waffle sandwich featuring chicken salad, fried onions and pickle. A finger-style Caesar salad was designed to let skiers have fun with their food. Torres, from Colombia, presents a smoked brisket on waffle, noting that the brisket takes 16 hours to cook,the Times-News reported.
“Would that be one portion?” one chef asked, eyeing the plate boasting enough for two.
“The waffle is a little too sweet,” said another.
“I think the waffle is a little overbearing at this point,” said another. “I think a smaller waffle would be better.”
Murcko tasted a bison roast flatbread with Burrata cheese, chimichurri and Cabernet onions, which were to come with vegetable chips and grilled broccoli,the Times-News reported.
“That’s a great start, man,” he said, nodding approval. “Coming out strong. Talk about pressure—having a panel of chefs critique you. Intimidating!”
Torres brought out a waffle with maple bacon and tomato jam, the Times-News reported.
“I like the crunch, but I need a saltier, more savory waffle,” Murcko said. “This waffle smothers the filling. Maybe a spicier barbecue sauce would be better for me as well. I like the idea of a chicken and gravy waffle. Just think. Cold day, hot chicken. I think that’ll be a winner.”
“I’m going to try to make a waffle that looks less uniform,” Torres said. “I want one that looks more gourmet, that’s smaller, thinner, more crisp.”
A few days later, Murcko and Todd Rubenstein, Sun Valley’s director of Mountain Food and Beverage, sat together again while the chefs presented retooled versions of dishes that had invited question marks. Among them, a burger sporting a fresh new bun, which got an immediate thumbs up, and fresh shrimp atop a waffle had been retooled from a sweet doughy concoction into a savory waffle with corn and black bean mixed into the batter, the Times-News reported.
“A lot of times in the South, they put black beans inside waffles,” Murcko said.
“This has potato, leeks,” Torres said.
Out came Murcko’s long-awaited chicken waffle with a salad of red cabbage, noodles and cilantro. “We added a little curry to the gravy to take it out of the realm of regular gravy. But we added so little you can’t even tell it’s there,” Torres said.
One bite and Murcko’s ready to add the recipe to the 200-page book Sun Valley’s chefs will use this winter, the Times-News reported.
“Comfort food has gotten so popular the last few years. And chicken waffles are so popular in the South,” he said. He took another bite. “The gravy is spot-on perfect—homestyle!”