Friday, September 28, 2012

Employee Salute

Employee Profile: Todd Ashcraft
General Manager of Lake McDonald Lodge
By: Seth Eagleton

Employee Salute

We would like to introduce our readers to some of the stand-out members of our team here at Glacier Park, Inc. Check back for more of our Employee Salutes in the future. 

     There is something to be said about an employee who has the merit and perseverance to work their way up from the bottom of the ladder.  When you occasionally meet a manager who can claim this attribute, they are usually someone who genuinely cares a lot about those around them.  It doesn’t happen very often, but Todd Ashcraft is one of the elite few.  At times, people hold the position they do because they have learned the traits necessary to accomplish their responsibilities. With Todd, it’s easy to see that he is the General Manager of Lake McDonald Lodge because he is naturally hospitable.  Todd started with the company 18 years ago working in the laundry facility of Glacier Park Lodge. Since then, he has worked a number of positions throughout the park including bellman and transportation manager before reaching his current post as General Manager of Lake McDonald Lodge.

      I recently had a chance to visit with Todd as he gave a mini-tour of the Lake McDonald Lodge. One of the first things I noticed was that his staff felt comfortable interacting with their leader, which says a lot. And with all his time working in Glacier National Park through the years, you better believe he has some good stories to share. He mentioned a guest who awoke to a loose horse giving her the stare down through her window, and a staff member who had a stare down with a mountain lion outside of her dorm window! He mentioned that his biggest claim to fame (or infamy) was when he sunk his own boat twice in one week. The first time was because of an unknown leak, and he’ll take credit for that. The second time he passed responsibility off on a well meaning employee who disconnected the boat’s battery to avoid possible shorting out. Unfortunately, the bilge pump was relying on power from that same battery, and down went the boat again. Oops! 

     Most of the employees under his direction are college age and at a time in their lives when they are making some critical life decisions. He rejoices in the right decisions and cringes to hear of the poor ones.  He wants to see these kids do well. All in all, he is the kind of boss who not only knows how to work all of the positions he oversees, but isn’t afraid to jump in and get his hands dirty when needed. Todd Ashcraft, we salute you! 

Lake McDonald Lodge, the property that Todd oversees.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall In Glacier

Fall in Glacier National Park is a special time of year. Everything quiets down as the season winds to a close and there is a serene feel in the air, unmatched by any other time of the year. It's a nice opportunity for everyone and everything to soak up the last bit of sunshine before the winter blows in and the region is covered by clouds for the next few months. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Harvestfest Tour and Dinner

The inaugural Harvestfest event was a great success on Friday. The farm tours were appreciated by all who attended, and thanks go out to Terrapin Farms, Purple Frog Gardens, and Chef Mike Garcia for making our wonderful dinner possible.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Harvestfest Menu

·         Tomatillo and Winter Savory Bruschetta
o   Topped with French sorrel
·         Corn and Lower Salmon River Valley Squash Fritters
o    Topped with herb and tangy sour cream

·         Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
o   With toasted almonds, fennel, parmesan and oven dried tomatoes tossed with a mustard vinaigrette

Main Course:
·         Sliced Top Round of Beef
o   House-smoked with a lovage horseradish sauce and au jus
·         Cedar Plank Salmon
o   Topped with fresh herbs and tomato beurre blanc
·         Roasted root vegetables
o   Multicolor fingerling potatoes; sunchokes; and onions; seasoned with lemon and sage
·         Char-grilled broccoli
o   With chili and garlic

·         Apple and Rhubarb Crisp
o   With Zestar and Granny Smith apples

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Night Football

    It’s Monday and that means one thing around here – Monday Night Football at Logan’s Bar in Grouse Mountain Lodge. Swing by for $0.36 wings and happy hour drink pricing during the game - $2 domestic drafts and $3 microbrew drafts. Each week, we price the wings as the total of last week's combined score. Chargers 22 + Raiders 14 = $0.36 wings! 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Harvestfest 2012

You’ll find these beauties at Kettle Care, the last stop of the Harvestfest farm tour

Harvestfest 2012

We are thrilled for our first annual Harvestfest, taking place Friday, September 21, 2012. Here is a little background on Chef Mike Garcia, Executive Chef of Grouse Mountain Lodge, who designed this custom menu for this inaugural event.

Dishwasher to Executive: Chef Mike Garcia
Chef Mike Garcia grew up in Western New York, where he landed his first job as a dishwasher for a seasonal restaurant. By the end of the season, his hard work and great attitude saw him working the kitchen on his own. It’s not every day that a boss finds a worker with these kinds of attributes, so when Chef Mark Segobiano met the younger version of our new Executive Chef at Grouse Mountain Lodge, he invested some time into him. It was Chef Mark who encouraged our Chef Mike to attend culinary school at Johnson Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was also Mr. Segobiano who took a chance on a kid in his early 20s, just out of culinary school, giving him a position as a Sous Chef with Princess Cruise Lines in Alaska. Mike was in charge of a kitchen, staffed by 17 students, and loving the new challenge.

It’s not all fun and games
Although Mark Segobiano gave Chef Mike his passion for the industry, it was a man named Tom Polizzi that he credits with mentoring him into the great chef that he is today. Working for Chef Polizzi had its ups and downs. Some evenings, Mike admits, he had to wonder if he even wanted to go back to work in the kitchen the next day. He was pushed to learn how to run a kitchen and be efficient, which goes beyond just having a passion for great food. In those early years, Chef Polizzi allowed Mike to follow him to the local markets in search of quality, fresh ingredients. It was this experience that taught Chef Mike the importance of fine ingredients, and those that come from local growers. Chef Mike’s opinion is that developing a relationship with the local growers is crucial in creating great food. He’s not about ultra fancy plates with lots of ingredients. Instead, you’ll find a simpler dish on the menu, with 4-5 high quality ingredients. When asked what his motivation is, Chef Mike answers with a smile and replies, “Seeing the joy of people when they eat the food I prepare. That’s what drives me!” 

On Friday, Sept. 23, 2012, Grouse Mountain Lodge will host the first annual Harvestfest, which Chef Mike hopes will be the beginning of a long term relationship with a few of our local growers.  Harvestfest participants will have the opportunity to tour local farms including Terrapin Farms and Purple Frog Gardens. Following the tours, Chef Mike has prepared a special dinner utilizing and highlighting ingredients from these local growers.

·         2pm:  Depart Grouse Mountain Lodge for a 3-hour tour of local farms (transportation will be provided)
·         5pm:  Return to Grouse Mountain Lodge for Beer and Spirits tasting in outdoor pavilion
·         6:30pm:  Buffet dinner in outdoor pavilion highlighting the food from the farms and gardens toured
·         7:30pm: Music by Moonshine Mountain
·         9:30pm: Complimentary shuttle service to various locations around Whitefish

·         3-hour tour, Beer and Spirits Tasting, Dinner and Live Music:  $49/person
·         Dinner only tickets:  $37/person
·         Overnight Harvestfest Package including 3-hour tour, Beer and Spirits Tasting, Dinner, Live Music and lodging at Grouse Mountain Lodge: $89/person (based on double occupancy)
For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 406-892-2525.