From wild game chili to Stein Burgers and Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, Chef Zane Holmquist has served it all. Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley VP of food and beverage, who grew up in Utah, oversees one of the most highly acclaimed dining rooms in skiing, but is just as much at home on his mountain bike, skis or in triathlons around the world.
His active outdoor lifestyle began as a young boy, skiing every chance he had. Along the way, he picked up a similar passion for bikes, making the jump to triathlons. Helping his mom at restaurants instilled a love for hospitality which grew into a culinary career, eventually leading him to the five-star Stein Eriksen Lodge, located slopeside at Deer Valley Resort.
As a chef, he enjoyed a longtime relationship with the lodge’s namesake, the late Stein Eriksen – Olympic champion from Norway and an icon of the sport in America for a half century. Learn more about Stein himself here.
At Stein Eriksen Lodge, he helps create memories. But what is it that makes that penultimate dining experience? It’s more than what sits on the plate. To Holmquist, hospitality is about the entire experience. The ambiance of the dining room. The snow falling outside the window. The crackle of a fireplace.
Taking a break from a ski outing at Deer Valley
Last Chair caught up with Chef Holmquist in an Alpen Globe on the deck at Stein Eriksen Lodge on the eve of the ski season. Here’s a small taste of what you’ll experience in this episode of Last Chair with Chef Zane Holmquist.
How did your passion for the mountains begin?
I guess I was sort of born to be here. I grew up skiing. My godfather, Zane Doyle and my namesake, built Brighton Ski Resort. So I grew up at Brighton. My dad was his first employee. My dad was one of the first certified ski patrolmen in the state, so I started skiing at two. I skied every day. My mom ran restaurants and so I went to work with my dad and whatever local would take me up for a few runs while my dad worked. I was two, three, four years old skiing 100 days a year. Then when they said, ‘you’ve got to go to school, there was a little bit of a shock for me. It was pretty special to really be born into skiing and have that connection to the mountain, to Utah, to the snow. You know, it’s pretty unique.
As a young chef, did you aspire to work here at Stein’s?
One day in about 1984 I drove past Steins and I said, ‘you know, it’d be great to work there. One day I’d like to cook there.’ I guess be careful what you say, it could come true. So, it’s one of those things, like, how did this happen? I don’t know. I just ended up where I was supposed to end up.
What stands out to you as you think of your time with Stein Eriksen himself?
Getting to know Stein and his family was amazing. He truly was a showman. He wanted to greet people, he wanted to say hello. He would stay and talk to every person and give everyone that same attention. He talked to everybody, whether you were a movie star from Hollywood or a ski racer or just an average skier off the hill. He talked to you like a friend. He talked to you like family. If you enjoyed food and wine and you enjoyed skiing, you were in his family.
What is it that creates a memorable dining experience?
The food links us to memories. And I think the smells and the taste linger longer and deeper than the other elements in our memory. It happens with people around the holidays with pumpkin spice and those Christmas flavors that smell of Christmas tree in the house, that smell of hot cider or of a turkey roasting. You know that smell when you go into an Italian restaurant or you’re walking down the street and you pass an Indian restaurant, those cumin flavors and coriander come out, those things really link us to time and place. And I think they’re special. They’re unique to us as human beings.
The rich and tasty sauce on Stein’s meatballs and mashed potatoes made the dish a favorite of Stein and a popular item with skiers today.
So, how many bikes and pairs of skis does Zane have hanging in his Park City garage? Check out more with Chef Zane Holmquist on Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcast presented by High West Distillery on your favorite podcast platform. Subscribe to get first access to every episode.
Tom Kelly: |00:01:58| Today’s Last Chair takes you up to Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley Resort and with me is the vice president of food and beverage for Stein Eriksen Lodge, Zane Holmquist. Zane, thanks for joining us here today.
Zane Holmquist: |00:02:10| So great to be here.
Tom Kelly: |00:02:11| You know, we’re just approaching the opening part of the ski season and I know holidays are coming up in a short time and it’s a busy period at Stein Eriksen Lodge.
Zane Holmquist: |00:02:20| Always a lot on our plate, you know, the whole ramp up through the fall to get to this point where, you know, we’re sort of standing in the gate ready to go. It takes a lot. And the great thing here at Stein’s – we have such an amazing team and so many veterans. We do our best to make it look easy. But behind the scenes, the machine is going full blast.
Tom Kelly: |00:02:38| Well, I always love coming up here and part of it is I was a big fan of Stein Eriksen and to go to his trophy case is really memorable to me. But the other thing that has always struck me up here and we’re going to get to this in the second half of the podcast is what all goes into a hospitality experience.
Zane Holmquist: |00:02:59| You know, I like to think we do an amazing job, but Park City in itself is really so inviting. Our team members and locals here are so special and we do so much to bring people here. You know, it’s what we do for a living. It’s our livelihood, but it’s also our connection to the mountain, to skiing, our summertime activities. It’s a combination of being in a place you love and doing something that you love is, I think, what makes it special for our guests.
Tom Kelly: |00:03:23| Well, Zane, before we get to Stein Eriksen Lodge, I want to talk about you and your own background growing up and how you got into sport and how you got into hospitality.
Zane Holmquist: |00:03:32| I don’t know. I guess I was sort of born to be here. Sort of a strange combination of things. You know, I grew up in the ski industry. I grew up skiing. My godfather, Zane Doyle and my namesake, built Brighton ski resort. So I grew up at Brighton. My dad was his first employee. My dad was one of the first certified ski patrolmen in the state, so I started skiing at two. I skied every day. My mom ran restaurants and so I went to work with my dad and whatever local would take me up for a few runs while my dad worked. So that was it. I was two, three, four skiing one hundred days a year. Then when they said, you’ve got to go to school, there was a little bit of a shock for me. I’m like, This is really going to cut into my ski time. I think I skied more before I was able to go to school than most people ski in their lifetime. So it was pretty special to really be born into skiing and have that connection to the mountain, to Utah, to the snow. You know, it’s pretty unique.
Tom Kelly: |00:04:25| Yeah, ski resorts tend to be great babysitters, don’t they?
Zane Holmquist: |00:04:28| Absolutely. I mean, it’s, you know, once you get the kids out on the hill, you can just let them go. And that’s sort of how I skied. And you know, as time went on, we moved here to Park City. So, you know, I went to school at Carl Winters before when the library was still a school. So I went to seventh and eighth grade here in town. So I’ve been around Park City for quite some time and skiing was always that connection. You know, we traveled around the West and skied really all over Colorado and Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, and had a great, just a great chance to experience the different flavors of all the great ski town, whether it’s Taos or Breckenridge or Jackson Hole or Sun Valley. It was very blessed to be able to have that opportunity to experience the unique characters of each of those towns.
Tom Kelly: |00:05:15| Zane, did you have an opportunity to ski here at Deer Valley in its early days?
Zane Holmquist: |00:05:19| I did in the early days, you know, when I went to school, Deer Valley was starting and we were making snowboards in shop class in Park City and we would come up and the off-time and do a bit of boarding here with homemade snowboards before you could even ride at a resort. But in the early eighties, I was able to ski here and it was great fun. You know, one of my favorite stories. I had friends working at Deer Valley cooking and I was working in Salt Lake. We were up here skiing. One day it was about 1984 and driving past Steins and I said, you know, it’d be great to work there. One day I’d like to cook there and I guess be careful what you say. You could come true. So it’s, you know, it’s sort of one of those things. I’m like, How did this happen? I don’t know. I just ended up where I was supposed to end up.
Sneaking out of the kitchen for a few runs at Deer Valley Resort.
Tom Kelly: |00:06:02| Well, you know, I give this advice to young folks as they’re coming up that if you see something like that you like and you have it in your mind, it’s a series of incremental steps, but you can certainly make it there, as you did.
Zane Holmquist: |00:06:14| I think you can. The road, sometimes people think the road is straight, but I think to get where you need to be, it’s a windy road and a few hurdles to get there. And that’s what makes it special when you’re there.
Tom Kelly: |00:06:24| I want to get back into hospitality in a minute, but aside from skiing, you have led a very active lifestyle. In fact, I know you’re still getting over a little mountain bike accident you had earlier in the fall, but you’re active in triathlon, cycling. What all do you do besides skiing?
Zane Holmquist: |00:06:40| Well, I grew up skiing and I do my very best to keep the Cooley Rosenberg Clinic afloat with my ski and bike injuries. You know, I grew up road biking, grew up skiing and road biking to mountain biking in the early days in the eighties and ultimately into some triathlon. No hero. I’m a middle of the pack racer, but I race with heart and fury and have a great time. I love the Ironman culture and participating in Ironman, but I’ll ride any kind of bike. My wife is a passionate cyclist. We currently have 11 bikes in the garage. People think that’s a lot, but there’s always room for one more. So I ride bikes and triathlon bikes, gravel bike, mountain bike. If I could ride every day, I would, and I do my darndest to get out as much as I can.
Getting ready for the swim at IRONMAN Mont Tremblant.
Tom Kelly: |00:07:24| Do you have a few pairs of skis in the garage too?
Zane Holmquist: |00:07:26| I do. I do. I sort of have to shed them off as we add new ones. But my wife and I do keep probably a dozen pairs of skis around. For a while I would telemark, snowboard and ski. Telemarking got a little hard as my knees have given up, and I like skiing more than I like snowboarding now. I think a good pair of fat skis in the powder over snowboarding. I’m mostly on downhill skis nowadays.
Nothing like a training ride along Utah’s Wasatch Back.
Tom Kelly: |00:07:49| So can you tell us just a little bit about your mountain bike accident this summer?
Zane Holmquist: |00:07:54| Yeah, I was preparing had a big race season. I did Ironman Coeur d’Alene and did Unbound gravel bike race in Emporia, Kansas, the two hundred mile race. And I was getting ready for Leadville, one hundred and just a few days out. Leaving for my last training ride. Just a silly accident. Pretty benign low speed coming off the Mid Mountain Trail onto the Ontario Fire Road just went down and broke the hip and, you know, early morning ride by myself. I was stuck. My phone had fallen out of my pocket and it was like the movies where the guy can’t quite reach the keys or the cell. My phone was about six feet away. Finally, a trail runner came and was able to help me. And of course, I had to have fire department come and get me in the ambulance. And of course, I know all those guys and some of the guys I know from Deer Valley showed up and they’re saying, what kind of idiot got hurt this early in the morning? It’s just me. And luckily, the Deer Valley crew took my bike and put it in the shop till my wife could come back and get it. I’ve been well on the mend and I’ll be skiing here in another week or so.
The chef has grown a passion for triathlons, reveling in the Ironman cultures.
: |00:08:59| You know, I’ve got the most amazing crew and team. They rose to the occasion and brunch went on flawlessly with or without the chef.
Tom Kelly: |00:09:06| Zane, we talked about the passion that you had for skiing as a young boy. When did you pick up your passion for hospitality?
Zane Holmquist: |00:09:14| You know, my father was in real estate and development and was a salesman, and he was that consummate schmoozer and just fit that stereotype of a realtor. My mom had a lot of businesses, including restaurants, and so having people over and taking care of people, we always had that. My grandfather was a very generous person and really cared for those in need and always believed if someone asked for a hand, you were obligated to give it to them. I started working in restaurants at the ripe old age of about 12. I couldn’t behave myself, and the deal with my mom was, if you stay out of trouble, you don’t have to go work. My brother and sister being smarter than me, we’re able to stay out of trouble. And in my case, I ended up in the dish room washing dishes with chef Miguel. And, you know, 42 years later, I’m still in the kitchen and I still wash dishes a bit more than you’d think for the vice president back in those days.
Tom Kelly: |00:10:07| Did you get into the kitchen at all and actually get on the grill?
Zane Holmquist: |00:10:11| My first job cooking was frying tortilla chips and then went on to making quesadillas. The restaurant was Mexican food-based, and then I learned how to make salsa and all the way through school. In high school, I couldn’t do much else, so it was one of those things. I’ll just stick with it and eventually found a great chef, Mel at the Salt Lake Country Club. It really began my mentorship, and I did an apprenticeship at the Salt Lake Community College, which I’m very proud of and was an amazing program. And then on to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. And that took me to Hawaii and California and working in Manhattan. But this was home. When I think about not being here, it’s sort of weird. I think about retirement, and maybe I’ll live in Hawaii or California or San Diego or Phoenix, and I’m like, No, what’s better than Utah? The Wasatch Front is so amazing. And whether you’re right in Park City or you’re in the back of the Wasatch in Heber or Kamas or you’re out in Salt Lake, up in Ogden, I mean, there’s not a bad place. The summers are amazing. The winters are phenomenal. The quality of life here. It’s pretty darn special. I think we need to stop telling people about it.
Tom Kelly: |00:11:15| Well, I was actually going to ask you, I know culinary schools, it’s really like a family. You make a lot of friendships there. When you told people you were from Park City, Utah, did it resonate much back then?
Zane Holmquist: |00:11:25| They mostly made fun of me. I lived in the city and in New York that I’ll have leather jackets and fancy wool jackets and overcoats, and I’d be in Patagonia or a moonshine Gore-Tex jacket and a pair of Sorrels. And they’re looking at me like, who is this hick from the sticks? And you know, it was just a Utah boy in the city, and they thought it was funny. And it’s amazing how you have to explain to people where Utah is and you get the normal questions, can you get a drink there? And does everybody have two wives? I’m like, It’s a yes and no in that order, so it’s sort of funny when you look back in the eighties and nineties, the view of Utah, Colorado had much bigger presence than us in the ski market and the summer market. But now I think people have a true respect and understanding of just how special it is here.
Tom Kelly: |00:12:13| Yeah, it really is. How did you eventually make that bridge to move back to |service name=”park-city-mountain”|Park City Mountain|/service| and to get here at Stein Eriksen Lodge?
Zane Holmquist: |00:12:21| You know, I came back from California. My wife was pregnant. We wanted to be back home and had an opportunity to go to work for Squatters. They were opening a place called Fuggles down in Salt Lake, and it was very short-lived. But it was a beautiful brewery. It was a shame it didn’t quite make it. So I worked for Peter and really was a part of those early years. I remember when we celebrated five years of Squatter’s beer. So it’s been quite some time ago and that brought me back here. And and from that, I ventured to Deer Valley and got a job and was the chef at the Goldener Hirsch.
Zane Holmquist: |00:12:54| So for about six years, I was at the Goldener Hirsch and it was great fun to work for the Eccles family and it just had such that unique European ski lodge. It just felt right and and I was here and you know, things were just really going crazy in the mid-nineties and Deer Valley and growing, you could still afford to buy a place in Park City. And then eventually opportunity came to come to Stein’s, just in time for the millennium in 2000. You know, it’s just been amazing ever since such a unique and special property, and that’s when I really got to know Stein and the Eriksen family and Russ and the owners here. And it just felt like home here at Stein’s.
Tom Kelly: |00:13:32| You mentioned earlier that you had once aspired to be here once you were here and you were a part of the Stein Eriksen family at the Lodge here. Did you think back to that time years ago or you had kind of aspired to someday get here?
Zane Holmquist: |00:13:46| I really did when I first started, and all of a sudden, you know, I came on board here. Most people don’t know. I actually started as the banquet manager, so I spent one year as the banquet manager here and I did a little consulting in the kitchen. But I, you know, I wore a suit and was the banquet manager for a bit before they gave me the title of Executive Chef. And as soon as I got that executive chef title, I thought back to that day when I was like, It’d be great to work there. I didn’t imagine it would be in the chef role. So it’s sort of you’ve got this small dream and all of a sudden it’s ten times bigger than you ever imagined, and it really felt like I had won the lottery. It was so unique and so special, and I still look back at that every day I come to work. To me, the sign out front doesn’t say Stein Eriksen Lodge. It says Zane Holmquist Lodge. I make decisions as if I owned it and care for the team as if they’re a part of the family and do my best to make every guest experience special and unique. And I think that sense of ownership is something we try to instill on the team here and allow them to have that connection with the guest and the space. And we try very hard not to be in a corporate mold. You know, that’s just not who we are.
Tom Kelly: |00:14:58| It really is a family here. I know that the community is very important to you and community to you. I imagine as your park city community where you grew up for a number of years and also your culinary community and talk about the ways that you give back either yourself or through the launch here.
Zane Holmquist: |00:15:13| You know, we have so many great local charities. There are so many near and dear charities that we work with, whether it’s working with the Christian Center, really enjoy working with the National Ability Center. We’ve had a number of team members that have had injuries that have gotten benefit from them and friends. It’s such a unique thing and adds so much depth and character to our community. It’s very important, but Utah March of Dimes has always been a big piece working with our teachers and the school here in Park City to help them when the need comes. Helping our young racers and our young skiers through the Stein Scholarship is always been a huge passion, but I enjoy working with culinary students. I have about 20 culinary interns a year that join our team from the Culinary Institute of America and other schools. Teaching and mentoring is a big part of what I do and trying to give back to the culinary community.
Tom Kelly: |00:16:04| Well, it really is good to see that kind of support in the community. We’re going to bring in a few food items, which I’m looking forward to. But before we do that, I want to talk about Stein Eriksen and having worked in ski racing for so many years, Stein was very important for me and to know the legend of his accomplishments, his three gold medals in the World Championships, his Olympic gold in his hometown back in 1952. But beyond Stein as an athlete, Stein was an amazing host. You had the opportunity to work with him for many years. And what are your memories of Stein and what he brought to the place that bore his name?
Zane Holmquist: |00:16:43| Well, getting to know Stein and Francois and Bjorn, his whole family has been amazing. I don’t think everyone knew how funny he was. I don’t know if everyone got his sense of humor. It was very dry and quite funny. But he truly was a showman. He wanted to greet people, he wanted to say hello. On many, many occasions would have to reheat his dinner two or three times. We would send dinner out and someone would want a picture and someone to want to talk to him, and he’d be up out of his seat for 10 or 20 minutes. And he would stay and talk to every person and give everyone that same attention. He talked to everybody, whether you were a movie star or in Hollywood or a ski racer or just an average skier off the hill. He talked to the same way he talked to you like a friend. He talked to you like a family. If you enjoyed food and wine and you enjoyed skiing. You were in his family. He talked to everybody. It was amazing to see him greet people and chat with folks and especially folks from Norway. I had a friend come out from Norway, a young kid, and he wanted to meet Stein. We skied together and I said, Well, we’ll see if he shows up today. If he comes in, just speak Norwegian to him. Sign came over the table to say, Hi, this young kid doctor popped up to say hello. Started speaking to him in Norwegian. It kind of set him back a little bit. It took him a second to kind of transition from English back to Norwegian and and they talked for a few minutes and we made some pictures together and he’s sending texts off to his mom. And ironically, his mom went to junior high school with Stein back home, and she was nearly in tears that her son got to meet Stein and take a picture with him and got to eat here. It was really funny to see how important he was to Norwegians, but to skiers, to ski racers, and even see young skiers and skiers and other genres where they were aerialists or downhill racers or alpine racers or cross-country. He commanded a sense of of kind of respect and appreciation from all the various arms of this great, you know, industry, and that was unique and special to see. But I mean, you skied with him a lot and I got to ski with him a bit. It was amazing his ability to control gravity and ski so fast and just literally leave you standing there like you weren’t even skiing. It was pretty amazing. It was unbelievable. His command over skis.
Tom Kelly: |00:19:07| Ted Ligety told an interesting story in our opening Last Chair podcast this fall about when Ted was a young boy. They would kind of joke about Stein and joke about his style and things like that. And there was one day where they were in the Nasdaq course and Stein was over there too. And they were kind of, you know, they were 13, 14 year old kids kind of joking around a little bit. And all of a sudden Stein hit the race course and just blew them all away. And they said, never again did we question Stein. He was an amazing skier.
Zane Holmquist: |00:19:39| He really was. But he took that same passion to excellence and wanting to drive and guide a hotel that he grew up with. He aspired to see something unique and special here, and we still rely on that. We still have that passion for caring for people that heart of what skiing is. And I try very hard to keep that, you know, some people say some of the things you do or dated or I said, no, they’re not dated. They’re the roots of the heart of skiing. Fondue after skiing is just is what it is to me. That’s such a memory of me skiing, growing up and skiing all day and having some fondue and sitting with family and friends and talking. Stein loved that. He loved that afternoon that two to five o’clock time frame. He loved entertaining and chatting and visiting and having a drink and talking about the day and this day to come and what the snow is like. And it was just special and trying to keep that. I think that’s a big part of ski town. I think you see each ski town have its own flavor of apres-ski or apres bike, both now summer and winter. And I think you have to have those. And that’s what makes it great fun to travel to the different ski towns and see that flavor. But they all come back to that nineteen forties and fifties foundation of skiing and those founders of that town that made him special. And we have that here with Stein and so many amazing folks that made Park City special through the the sixties and seventies and Eighties.
Tom Kelly: |00:21:05| Very well said we’re with Zane Holmquist, the vice president of food and beverage at Stein Eriksen Lodge. We’re going to take a short break on last year and when we come back, we’re going to have some food on our table. We’re going to talk a little bit more about Stein Eriksen Lodge and the incomparable Stein Eriksen himself. We’ll be right back on Last Chair.
Tom Kelly: |00:22:31| And we are back again on the Last Chair podcast with Zane Holmquist here at Stein Eriksen Lodge, and I should say we are actually out on the deck today in one of the Alpen Globes. One of the let’s say one of the benefits came to us during COVID. A new way to dine?
Zane Holmquist: |00:22:46| Absolutely. You know, in the worst of things, there’s always something good that comes out. You know, our alpha globes out here, we’ve got six of them now. It’s such a great venue to enjoy the outside, but be warm and in your own little space and kind of just get your group of skiers together, your family, your friends and talk about the day and have some libations and enjoy the food.
Tom Kelly: |00:23:08| It’s really great. I know that last winter it was really the place to be. It was one of those ways that you could actually take your group out to a restaurant or a dining area and actually have a great experience. And it’s wonderful in the snow and the snowflakes are coming down and we have clear sides to this. And right now we can see up to the blue sky. So great experience. We’re going to talk about food, though that’s really why we’re here to talk about food and drink and the memories that it provides us. And we’re going to talk about some specific dishes here. But I’m kind of curious as a chef, you particularly at a place like Stein Eriksen Lodge that has such a legacy and such a tradition. How do you balance that tradition with the new trends and things that are coming in? Are you constantly evolving what you’re offering?
Zane Holmquist: |00:23:52| We do, and it’s a yes and a no. We try to change. We try not to be too fad forward. We kind of go our own road. But there are new things that come along and expectations that people are looking for, sometimes in flavor, sometimes in cuisine. And sometimes it’s health-related. It’s it’s less gluten, it’s a little bit lighter. So we stay with those changes and trends in food a little bit, but I try to stick to what I do, what we’ve done at Stein’s. And there’s always this thread of a bit of Scandinavia growing up in a Swedish family. There was always tastes and flavors. We’re still Americans. We still have pizza and spaghetti night and meatloaf night growing up. But there is always Swedish meatballs or herring or some smoked fish. There was always some flavors of that, so I’ve always kept that here. I’ve always kept that nod and tradition to Stein in a bit of what we do. In no way shape or form are we Norwegian or Scandinavian restaurant, but a bit of those elements are there. I like the elements that tie people to skiing, both in drinks and food. I think they’re great. But I think cuisine is tied to the space and the people you’re with, and that’s what creates the meal. It’s it’s more than a dish. It’s an experience. If you’re having this amazing piece of fish with that one special person in your life and you’re on the beach in Hawaii. I can’t replicate that here because I’m not on the beach in Hawaii, and it’s not that time. It’s sort of the food that links us to those memories, and I think the smells and the taste linger longer and deeper than the other elements in our memory. And you bring back those cues, you know, it happens with people with the holidays with pumpkin spice and those Christmas flavors that smell of Christmas tree in the house, that smell of hot cider of a turkey roasting. You know that smell when you go into an Italian restaurant or you’re walking down the street and you pass an Indian restaurant, those cumin flavors and coriander come out, those things really link us to time and place. And I think they’re special. They’re unique to us as human beings.
Tom Kelly: |00:25:55| When you look at this restaurant here, the glitter and restaurant and some of your others, there’s a certain sense of stateliness to the place. There’s a tradition, in German it would be gemutchlikeit. All of those elements really play into the memory. You take away from having a good dinner.
Zane Holmquist: |00:26:13| They do, and it’s more than me. We have, you know, chef John Miller, chef Evan LaValle. All of our chefs help create the food and dishes. Chef Jeremy Garcia, our pastry chef, they all add to that and they all create dishes. And it’s a collaborative sense, and all of those minds come together to create those dishes. And the trick is, once you create great food, is replicating great food day after day. That’s the trick. And that’s where restaurants fail and chefs fail. People get upset. There’s no 100 percent. I don’t care what business you’re in. You don’t get a hole in one every time you hit a golf ball. It’s just not the way it works. So we do falter and fail and it’s how you recover from those with the guests. And I think it’s being sincere about providing an amazing experience and not being arrogant or cocky about it. And then there’s accepting those challenges or days when it didn’t go quite right. Those days when you miss that experience for that guest truly doing everything you can to make it right for them and letting them know that you took it personally, that you failed on that experience. And I think that’s what we try to do here. And luckily, I think we get on base more than we don’t. But that’s the trick, and it’s the service and the food. Jason Barrett, our food and beverage director, runs a great crew. It’s about the service as much as the food. It’s about how the person presents it and. And takes care of you and sort of ushers you and holds your hand through the service. That’s the difference between someone serving you and a professional waiter. They really guide the guest through the meal choice, through the beverage choice, through the service choice, knowing to not be in the way and know when to be there. The waiter shouldn’t be part of the show. If I’m enjoying a night with a friend, but they should know when I need another drink and another meal or the next course. So it’s all of those things come into play and you know, we try to keep it simple by really good product – the best available. Try not to do too much to it. Get our staff in sync and let them do what they do the best. But I think it’s creating that history and we have amazing tenure here, and I think that adds to that experience those faces. And I try not to feel like an old guy. My wife thinks I race bikes and do things as my midlife crisis, but it’s hard when I see people that were kids skiing here and now we’re doing their wedding here. It happens every year. We have four or five weddings, and the reason they’re here is they grew up skiing in Park City. They came here, they skated at, they stayed at Stein’s. They own a home in Park City and they were so connected here they wanted to get married here. It’s an honor to be part of that and be able to host them and take care of them through their wedding. But I’ll tell you, when you remember a kid when they were eight or nine and now you’re doing their wedding, it sure makes the edge come right out and I feel a bit older.
Tom Kelly: |00:28:50| Zane, we’re coming into winter now and you need to kind of change the senses and the feel around. What are some menu items that are quintessential winter ski season here at Stein Eriksen Lodge?
Zane Holmquist: |00:29:03| You know, I think we have classics, you know, today we have our Swedish meatballs, which is a dish I grew up with, and I sort of joke that it’s my grandmother’s recipe, but it really is. I mean, this is how she made them. And we had these. If you went over for Thanksgiving, whatever, for Christmas, if you went over to grandma’s, for your birthday, she had these Swedish meatballs. It’s basically what I grew up on. So pretty traditional. But I think our Stein’s fondue, our Caesar salad that has this nineteen eighties genre about it, a couple of the first dishes when I first came here, I put together with the classic Steinberger. You know, I’ve run into people in Mexico and Spain, in Florida and California, and if you tell people you’re a chef, when you’re on a plane, you’re going to talk the whole time, so you’ve got to be careful. But what they say to me is, Oh my god, a trip to Park City without a Stein burger is not a trip to Park City or the Sunday brunch. We fantasize about it. We never miss a Sunday brunch when we’re in town. So I think our Sunday brunch, our Stein’s wild game chili and the guys are getting that ready to put out. And those are some of the first things I brought here 20 plus years ago, and I think they still are part of who we are in this space in this restaurant. We have very modern dishes and dishes that are very current, but we have this undertone of tradition and throwback in, and I hope to at least as long as I’m here, they’ll stick around and hopefully a few more years. We’ll see those things every time you visit.
Tom Kelly: |00:30:26| I love your story about the Stein burger because that actually really sums up this principle that, I mean, a hamburger is kind of a hamburger. But it’s the atmosphere. It’s the place you had that the fact that it’s Stein’s burger, those all go into a good experience.
Zane Holmquist: |00:30:42| They really do. I mean, we really care about the bun and the meat and all the things that go into it. But there’s a million great burgers out there, but I think it’s it’s the burger here and the way we prepare it and the consistency. If you had a 10 years ago and had it today, it’s the same burger and it is. It’s such a unique thing and it really is amazing. I mean, I’ve been sitting on a beach somewhere or hiking or taking to somebody the at the edge of the Grand Canyon and they go, Oh, I could eat a Stein burger right now. And it’s really fun and it’s flattering and it’s great to be part of that, you know, of course, it’s our whole team. I’m just a little bit. Occasionally they let me drive the boat, but it’s really the team in the back that runs the show and it’s less about me and more about this amazing group of people that run Steins.
Tom Kelly: |00:31:26| So we have some Swedish meatballs in front of us, and this was one of Stein’s favorite dishes, right?
Zane Holmquist: |00:31:33| He enjoyed these, they were always great. He’d always tell me that the mashed potatoes weren’t hot enough, and that was one of the other things with Stein. I could never make the soup hot enough for him, and I tried to explain to him Stein. We boil water here at about one hundred and ninety. It’s as warm as I can get it every day. He would tell me, Chef, I don’t think the soup is hot enough today. He had several things he’d always joke with me about and it was always in good fun. But you know, he really cared about what we did and wanted to have that input, and I always listened. It was really important. You know, he listened to guests and got feedback, but it was great fun. You know, Stein always had a bowl of soup. He loved the creme brulee, and he’d always give me a hard time if we did anything fancy. He’s like, Let’s just do the regular creme brulee.
Tom Kelly: |00:32:12| This is very good, by the way, and creme brulée is one of my favorites, too, but I had to dive into the Swedish meatballs. Now, this is another dish that really is pretty simple. You know, we’re all accustomed to it. We grew up with it. But what are some of the hints and things that you do with this to make this A little bit different?
Zane Holmquist: |00:32:27| I think it’s the way we make the sauce and. We make a true veal stock and then we make a traditional little demi gloss, and then we add really quality lingonberry preserves to that. We start with great, amazing veal. We make our mashed potatoes, you know, the old-fashioned way. We peel them by hand. We don’t machine peel them. We boil them. We put them through a hand food meal with whole butter and cream. There’s nothing slimming about these, but everything in life should be in excess. And it’s OK when you’re going to splurge, you should do it with excess. And when you’re going to be mindful of your health, you should do it with excess. And when you ski, you should ski with excess.
Tom Kelly: |00:33:03| I can see the subhead right now. Everything should be done to excess.
Zane Holmquist: |00:33:08| That’s sort of my life. And maybe that answers to the seven knee surgeries I’ve had. But you should do everything in life with great passion and great care, but don’t do everything all the time.
Tom Kelly: |00:33:19| Well, this is really an amazing dish. I want to segue now onto drink, and you certainly have a wonderful wine list here. But what are some specialty drinks that are really quintessential winter?
Zane Holmquist: |00:33:31| You know, there’s so many, but for us, you know, we’ve always had a mulled wine, a fun recipe. Where do you refer to it as a good wine or mulled wine that warm mulled wine with a big piece of orange in it? Those cardamom and coriander and clove flavors are just amazing. I think to me that says I’m skiing, but you know, a hot apple cider or some of the fun drinks, we do things like a snow plow or peppermint hot chocolate. Those things, I think, really ties skiing together. And again, if you talk about steins, you can’t not talk about aquavit. I mean, it’s the water of life. I think just a handful, a handful of us, whenever we celebrate it with Stein or celebrated his birthday, we always said COVID shots and probably 90 percent of the team and guests wouldn’t take the shot. I have to say I was one of the few that always finished their shot along with Stein’s, and it was always great fun to have a couple of small or large sips of chocolate with Stein is always great fun to do that, but I think that’s a connection to skiing. But again, you can’t go wrong with an amazing beer. We have so many amazing brewers here in Utah. I think beer and skiing, just like beer and mountain biking, they sort of go together. It’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Skiing without beer isn’t skiing in my mind, and I think it changes. You know, I like, you know, drinking a pilsner or an IPA in the summer. But, you know, drinking a red ale or a brown nut brown or a porter in the winter is pretty fantastic, too. And whether you lend yourself to more of a European German-style beer or our American style beers, you know, we celebrate Utah as much as we can, and we represent, I think, some of the best beer list in town and really try to showcase our amazing Utah brewers and distillers.
Tom Kelly: |00:35:15| It is interesting in Utah, Utah, for folks who don’t know was the home of the first ski town brewery with Wasatch Brewing coming in. We had Greg Schirf, the founder on Last Chair a year ago, but there are. There are so many distilleries, there are so many breweries now. It’s really quite remarkable.
Zane Holmquist: |00:35:31| When you look at numbers, we’re still way behind Washington or Oregon or Colorado, a number of brewers. But I think what we make up for in not having quite as many. We make up for in quality. I mean, we have dozens of great brewers here and passionate craftsmen and women that put their heart into what they do. Our local distillers are just amazing, whether it’s High West or Alpine, or they’re also just so talented. And I think the things that they use here, the products that they use here in the water we have here in the mountains, I think comes through in their product just like it comes through in the food that we put out here. And it’s amazing to be part of the food and hospitality scene in Park City in Utah. And I’m very proud to have been in this journey with so many great restaurateurs and brewers. To bring Utah from the seventies and eighties is sort of a mockery of food and beverage, and people thought we could never get a drink here and made fun of us with our mini bottles and our crazy liquor laws to where we are today, where I think we can put our food in Park City and Salt Lake and Utah up against any town. When you look at the brewers festivals, you see our breweries bring home as many medals as our athletes, which is pretty cool.
Tom Kelly: |00:36:45| It is pretty cool. Well, Zane Holmquist, it has been great to have you here on last chair, and we’re going to close out with our traditional Fresh Tracks section and ask you a few simple, I hope questions. One that I want to start off with. I know that you’re very active in triathlons, but do you have a favorite triathlon that you’ve done around the world?
Zane Holmquist: |00:37:05| You know, I’ve finished Mont Tremblant. And it was my first triathlon out of the U.S. and what a cool ski town. What a cool mountain. I have not had a chance to ski there. If you haven’t been there, it’s Park City. If you move. Jordanelle to the bottom of Main Street, you’d have Mont Tremblant. I mean, you have this amazing lake right on this on the ski hill with this incredible village and the Canadian hospitality, and I think when I was there, I think I ate poutine about twenty five times in four days, but a beautiful mountain race and I felt a bit like home other than when I had to switch my bike computer over to Ks instead of miles and trying to do math and not fall off the bike at the same time.
Tom Kelly: |00:37:48| Complex.
Zane Holmquist: |00:37:48| It is a little bit when you’re you’ve got yourself in the red and you’re very staggering to get by and try to convert math. Great fun, but I think monster blank is awesome. But racing in Utah, St. George is as tough as they get.
Tom Kelly: |00:38:01| So let’s go back to skiing and I’m not going to ask you your favorite run. But if you’re going out on the mountain here at Deer Valley Resort, what’s a fun day for you?
Zane Holmquist: |00:38:10| I like to do. When I have friends come, I tell them we’re touring the whole mountain. I’m like, Hang on, and you know, we’ll usually head out from Stein’s with a coffee in the morning and I’ll take them and we’ll go up and we’ll do Stein’s Way, and then we’ll work our way back down and over to the gondola and back here to Mid Mountain and then up to the other side of the hill and end up over on Empire and get a little skiing in there. Now that’s a regular day. My favorite days have been Tuesday, Wednesday, in January. It’s quiet in town. We get 18 or 20 inches and I’m on first chair and, you know, eight nine runs down to Empire and there’s like ten people out and it’s fresh tracks over your head every day and people say there’s no good skiing at Deer Valley. I’m going to stick with Snowbird and Alta. I’m like, I love both of those resorts. But I had a heck of a day today by myself.
Tom Kelly: |00:39:00| It’s a little secret, you know, people just think, you know, you got to go elsewhere, but there’s a lot of it here.
Zane Holmquist: |00:39:04| I love skiing it out. I skied there a ton and growing up at Brighton. But, you know, four hours into the day, there’s no powder left for days after a big snowstorm. If you’re a local here at Deer Valley, you can still root out face shots, which makes it pretty special.
Tom Kelly: |00:39:19| As a chef, what’s a really fun dinner for you to have here?
Zane Holmquist: |00:39:23| You know, to me, it’s when I can dine with family or friends. It’s really it’s who you’re with. You know, it’s great fun to have my brother-in-law and sister-in-law out this year and dine with them. But I love dining with other chefs. And when you get four or five chefs together and we’ve had a few libations, we talk and make fun of one another and we talk about our guests and the challenges. You know, being a chef is a really tough job, physically hard on the body and mentally hard on the body. And I don’t know, dining with a dozen colleagues and really, really just enjoying ourselves. It’s pretty cool. I think it’s a bit like when you see guys that served in the military together and they get together sort of that same connection. Even it’s a chef, I don’t know. We have a bond in the kitchen and a connection. It’s equally as hard no matter where you are. To me, that’s special. I like it when I eat something different and it’s food I haven’t had before. And at a restaurant, I’ve never dined in before and I get to have a drink I’ve never had before. You know, exploring is cool to me.
Tom Kelly: |00:40:22| Do you have a favorite High West whiskey brand?
Zane Holmquist: |00:40:25| I got to tell you, I like to make an old fashioned with Campfire, sit in front of the fire with my feet up. My wife and I, we have a camper van, and right now I think the bottle is nearly empty. But there’s a bottle of Campfire in the van for those trips when you’re sitting by the sitting, by the campfire under the stars somewhere. I like the campfire a lot, but a number of their whiskeys are great and they’re getting better. You know, that’s the awesome thing I’ve been around since they’ve really started, and to see them just grow and continue to put out, I think such an amazing product. They’ve committed a lot to their marketing and they’ve just got an amazing niche. But I don’t think there’s anything else quite like the campfire.
Tom Kelly: |00:41:08| Yeah, I love it, too. Final question This one might be a little bit challenging, but if I asked you to give me one word that describes the hospitality experience that you’re trying to deliver as a chef, what would that one word be?
Zane Holmquist: |00:41:22| I think personalized. We have so many different guests and meals are different. You know, if I’m going skiing in the morning, I need a bowl of oatmeal. I don’t need a special. It’s a utilitarian meal. You know, the snow’s coming down. I’m going to hammer the runs. I need some nutrition and then there’s a dining meal and there’s guests that are in a hurry and guests with kids. And it’s a special occasion, you know? So we try to get our team to create that customized, personable experience and understand what that guest is looking for at that time and this meal.
Tom Kelly: |00:41:51| Zane, thank you for joining us here and inviting us up to the Aspen Globe here at Stein Eriksen Lodge. It’s been great to talk to you and get to know a little bit more about hospitality, and I know that a lot of folks are going to be coming up here this ski season. So thanks for joining us on Last Chair.
Zane Holmquist: |00:42:05| You know, we got nothing but great snow coming this year. I know it’s going to be awesome. I hope I get to see everybody come back and see us again. Always great to chat with you. Always great. Fun to chat about Stein.