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Chef Reviews

Jeb B. - February 13, 2016
I just wanted to drop you a line about our experience at this year’s trip. As you know, we have been coming to Alta for more than 25 years. This trip was clearly one of the best. The food and service were top-notch. The menu was not only varied but plentiful. I particularly appreciate that you were able to meet some of the dietary requests that we had including the vegetarian menu and some last-minute requests for change simply due to personal taste. That was clearly above and beyond. The wine selections were again top-notch and consistently complemented the menu. We also all appreciate the snack assortment for those of us who would rather pack a lunch than fight the crowds on the mountain. Not to mention that cafeteria style food is also a disappointing step down from what we receive at the Chalet. Over our many years at Alta, we have had the opportunity to try a variety of places in the Canyon. It makes us appreciate what you do even more. It really adds to the experience when at the end of the day you can simply relax with hors d'oeuvres, wine and a great meal rather than having to gather a large group and go out for food that would not be nearly the quality that you provide. Combine this with a consistently friendly and helpful staff who are more than willing to go the extra mile to guarantee a great experience and you have an unbeatable combination. Keep up the great work! We can’t wait to get back this winter.

Leslie G. - December 24, 2015
"Our large family of 24 gathered over the holidays for a great week of skiing in Utah. We asked Dan and his crew to stock the house with full breakfast and picnic lunch items, beverages, wine and booze, and then to cook in house and set up dinner for each night. After a day of skiing we would all return home to the delicious smells of our cooking dinner and lay eyes on a gorgeous apres ski spread prepared by our chef Joe. Dan managed to feed three meals a day to 24 people for 5+ days for a remarkably low price (much lower than other caterers when we compared prices). His team knows how and where to provision with healthful, organic food and great wines at low prices and his chef certainly knows how to make gourmet meal after gourmet meal. And the kitchen was left spotless after each fabulous dinner. While putting the finishing touches on dinner, Dan and Joe would recount stories of ski or river adventures and share great tips for where to find the fun ski runs under certain conditions. They also helped with other transportation and logistics questions we had. They were like part of the family and made our holidays very merry and bright". ~Leslie form Portland, OR

SKI Magazine Review  - "A Moveable Feast" by Julie Upton - February 2, 2004
Imagine retreating to your mountain digs after a day on the slopes to be greeted by a crackling fire and a chef busily arranging a medley of appetizers, your wine already decanted. That's just the prelude: Dinner, plated and served, is Colorado striped bass over rock shrimp risotto, assorted baby vegetables and a chocolate soufflé with espresso crème. "It's the ultimate in luxury, and it used to be the best-kept secret of Alta," says Julie Matthews of Baltimore, Md., who has hired chef Dan Ketner of Alta Gourmet Services every year for the past decade.

Ketner is one of a growing number of chefs offering private dining services at condos and homes in resort towns. The benefits are obvious: You don't have to get dressed up or drive to dinner, you can request favorite foods and menus, and best of all, you don't have to cook—or clean up the kitchen. But at what cost? Expect to spend roughly the equivalent of going out for a fine dinner. Prices vary based on the chef's reputation and résumé, as well as the menu you choose. Per person rates can range from $30 to $100 or more for dinner (Ketner charges $75 per person for breakfast and dinner). That said, there are ways to make private dining less costly. "The difference between a $40 and $100 dinner is in the number of courses and the type of food served," says Lisa Friedman, owner of the Wooden Spoon, a catering company in Vermont's Mad River Valley near Sugarbush and Jay Peak. If you're on a budget, opt for heartier foods such as stews. Also, prices are best when there's a larger group (10 or more), as chefs have to do the same prep work for a party of five as they would for a sitting of 10.

As another option, some local caterers deliver fully prepared meals that just need to be "finished" in your kitchen. Friedman posts menus on her website, where customers can place orders for delivery. The price: $15–$35 per person. The service is popular on Fridays when weekenders arrive too bushed to run to the store.

Unfortunately, hiring a high-end chef is no guarantee of a high-class affair. A visitor from London secured a "celebrity" chef (at celebrity rates) in Telluride, Colo., last season and was disappointed with the food as well as what she considered the chef's condescending attitude toward her guests.

So do your research: Ask for references. Get an agreement in writing spelling out what the chef will provide (shopping, serving, clean-up, etc.). Then snag a spot in front of the fire, lift that glass of wine, and let someone else do the work. You're on vacation.