“Food doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Chef Mark Painter, the new residential chef at Roaring Fork Dining Hall. “It can be. However, it doesn’t need to be. That’s the Italian mentality, to me – maintain it naturally, maintain it as it is.” Later, inside the Roaring Fork kitchen, he demonstrates exactly what he way as he sautés, flambés, seasons and garnishes a platter of “veggies nine methods”. Each of the 9 greens in the dish is prepared otherwise: the carrots julienned and marinated in blue agave, the onions caramelized, a tomato grilled in fennel French dressing, mushrooms flambéed with sherry wine. Painter carefully finishes each plate with a crispy waffle-reduce potato status upright in a vivid green pea puree, topped with a balsamic drizzle.
Painter champions clean, and neighbourhood produces, prepared sustainably, with much less waste. His approach to meals is clear in every bite. Many of the greens come from the UCCS Farm, and each one is full of flavour – yet tastes relatively like itself. Painter, who started at UCCS in June, is happy with the aid of the demanding situations supplied by way of a student body with changing food allergic reactions and dietary options – in part because they fit up along with his own values.
“If you have allergic reactions, and you consume your nearby produce, it’s better for you,” he says. “It’s proper to consume the meals proper wherein you live. We have all forms of one of a kind allergens that we paintings with, and I assume that there’s simply going to be greater within the future…I find it irresistible. It makes cooking a venture.” “Vegan food excites me the maximum,” he says. “It’s so much extra difficult. I’ve carried out a lot of vegetarian meals in my lifestyles, however no longer as a whole lot vegan food. So I’m getting to know plenty approximately what I can do right here.”
Painter is new to UCCS. However, he’s not new to the cooking scene in Colorado Springs. The Springs native started his culinary journey in 1974 – washing dishes at Sambo’s Restaurant – earlier than shifting up to come to be a line cook dinner within a year. “I became a breakfast prepare dinner,” he says. “Spatulas in every hand.”
After following the Sambo’s job to Virginia and Idaho, Painter landed returned in Colorado Springs. He spent a decade cooking in regularly finer-eating institutions, subsequently taking up his first chef position in 1984. His resume is packed with conventional chef positions across the metropolis: the El Paso Club, the Briarhurst Manor, and the Cliff House in Manitou Springs.
Though he has spent the majority of his professional life in Colorado Springs, Painter did take an eight-yr stint in Hawaii. “That turned into clearly tough,” he says, laughing. “I opened a sincerely beautiful inn there known as the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa and became the chef at one of the restaurants there. I went to different eating places after I left that activity. I spent eight years in Hawaii simply having a blast.” Whether he’s cooking for a college district or a Hawaii lodge, Painter’s roots in classically-prepared meals are evident. Even his lovely “veggies nine approaches” dish is a callback to his heritage: cooking garde-manger.
According to Painter, “Garde-manger is bloodless-food cooking. You do pâtés, and galantines and ballottines adorned ham chiffon. A lot of it is an antique, passé-fashion type of cooking, like when they used to do beautiful buffets wherein the whole thing is beautiful to the eye.” “There’s not anything incorrect with it,” he says. “It’s just plenty of work to make things so elaborately stunning. So now I do plenty of things with veggies to make them appearance precise.”
Painter is a life-long learner. On top of his credential as a Certified Executive Chef, he’s brought qualification as a primary-level sommelier and abilities in carving decorative ice sculptures. He’s also an instructor. After twenty-5 years of cooking, Painter became a culinary arts trainer at Pikes Peak Community College. “I’m a self-taught chef,” Painter says. “I was given that gig due to the fact I become a CEC – a Certified Executive Chef. I taught there for eight years, and I started questioning, ‘Wow, I’m giving human beings a degree that I don’t even have.’ So I took my night time lessons at Pikes Peak Community College and were given the culinary arts degree as well. I’d love to get my bachelor’s right here at UCCS.”
He maintains, “I type of went the returned manner round. I got a degree after 25 years of being a chef. But I love the coaching part…I don’t recognize why it sunk in one day. However, I regarded around at my college students one day and I concept, ‘I love this. This is ideal.’ Because you’re giving, you’re giving to the sector.” Painter envisions special approaches of bringing his abilities and studies to the UCCS dining scene. He spent 10 years on a farm, elevating geese and chickens and developing produce in greenhouses, and plans to integrate the food produced by the UCCS Farm greater completely into the Roaring Fork kitchen. He additionally plans to bring his 13 years as a culinary arts trainer to UCCS by using coaching more college students to cook easy, wholesome ingredients.
“This is our future technology right here,” he says. “If I can provide them with accurate food and educate them a few matters, it’ll be absolutely true.” Polly Knutson, business systems and marketing supervisor for UCCS Dining and Hospitality, has the same opinion. “[Cooking classes are] something that students want, too,” she says. “They ask us for that. The truth that we have a professional who’s enthusiastic about food who can are available in and educate them the right way to cook, and cook dinner wholesome and clean, and for them a good way to see backstage too, and sincerely see what he’s generating – it’s going to be exquisite. It’s going to be a gift for our college students.”