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.

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