We are honored to welcome Chef Zane Holmquist of the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah to present at our 2016 Roots Conference.
Chef Holmquist is an award winning chef and oversees the entire food and beverage operation at Stein Eriksen, which has been voted the best ski hotel in the nation. The property's Glitretind restaurant has earned the esteemed Forbes Four Star award, the AAA Four Diamond Award, Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence, the Santé restaurant award, the DiRONA award and Zagat Exceptional Rating.
But Chef Holmquist's work extends well beyond the kitchen. He is committed to striking a balance between work and health and at Roots this year he will participate in a panel discussing ways to live a healthy lifestyle while still keeping up with the demands of a busy restaurant work life. He will also participate in our chef advocacy panel to discuss the social justice work he is committed to in an effort to strengthen his community and provide opportunities for disenfranchised groups.
We are so thrilled by Chef Holmquist's participation in Roots and know that the examples of advocacy and healthy living he discusses at the conference will inspire everyone in attendance and provide tangible templates that we can all implement in our own busy working lives.
In the following interview, Chef Holmquist provides us with a sneak-peek into his presentation at Roots, discusses why the Roots conference is important to him, and most importantly, shares with us his favorite vegetable!
The traditional stereotype from restaurant or hotel owners that chefs must work a 70-80 hour week creates a great deal of conflict, especially for younger chefs. We also put this pressure on ourselves as many of us grew up with mentor chefs that put in these type of hours so we expect to do the same. In addition, the continued pressure of staff shortages due to low wages, solid economic growth in the US and tighter immigration makes staffing the kitchen more difficult putting more pressure of chefs and sous chefs.
Building time into my schedule to focus on myself through exercise, essentially making it as important as work, has been the key driver. I found that the sport of triathlon is similar in many ways to the kitchen. The demands of an endurance sport with the focus and training on multiple sports, focus on nutrition planning and organization in transition has many similarities and overlaps for a chef.
I have also had to modify my diet significantly. I can no longer snack throughout the day and eat only when and what I find time for. I try to eat a set breakfast and lunch each day and work to eat dinner earlier than the traditional after-service meal.
Develop the skills to delegate to your kitchen team, develop a team that has the ability to work without your constant direction and have the trust in them to meet your expectations. Take the expectations that you put on yourself and your team in the kitchen and demand those same expectations of yourself when it comes to work-life balance. Schedule personal time and family time the same way you schedule meetings, ordering and menu tastings. Look at personal time as equally important as time in the kitchen.
Most of what I do focuses on helping children and working with student and young chefs. For the last 10 years I have worked very closely with 3 Squares, Inc. to deliver food education and enable food access for underserved populations in the Salt Lake community. I am involved with putting on the fundraising events as well as the one on one time working with kids to understand health, nutrition and food. I find these educational and guidance opportunities to be very rewarding and provides a great sense of direction for me in the other parts of my life.
I have the opportunity to work with a number of our ProStart programs in the Intermountain West and I work with the externship program at the Culinary Institute of America to provide externship and graduate employment opportunities. It is a great experience for me to mentor them and guide them in their hospitality education and experiences. It continues to inspire me each season to see the motivation passion for food in these high school and college students.
I find that the time I spend working in our community allows me to be more focused in my business and cooking life as the time spent helping others returns itself tenfold. To take the skills I have learned to help kids understand nutrition, healthy eating and see the opportunities that the hospitality and kitchen can offer is a great reward.
You've attended Roots before and we'd love to know what you most enjoyed about your past experiences?
The personal connections and relationship building with others within the industry. I have enjoyed the opportunity to see what other chefs and restauranteurs are doing to heave impacts in their communities and I always come away inspired.
It also is grounding for me to see the Jones family and the farm team. Their commitment to people, friends and passion for what they do always recharges my batteries and I return to work and my community with a greater sense of purpose.
I can't choose just one but the combination that always reminds me of my childhood is peas and carrots.
Be a part of the conversation #RootsEmpowe2016