Fresh Faces on Mount Washington
Kevin Wallace ~ Executive Chef
Kevin Wallace is the new Executive Chef at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, having moved to the Alpine Lodge from his position as sous chef at Raven Nordic Lodge last year.
“I don’t cook much at all right now,” he said. “I’m overseeing the systems of all the food outlets … it’s more of managing people than it is cooking.”
Wallace plans all the menus at the food outlets; his first priority is food quality, he said.
Growing up in Banff, Alberta, Wallace worked in the hospitality industry while in high school. He earned his journeyman’s cook papers in a three-year program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary in 1988. “It’s a really strong foundation for moving into any of these positions” at Mount Washington, he said.
He apprenticed at the Coast Hotel in Lake Louise before finding his way to the Alpine Resort.
Wallace contends he doesn’t have a “specialty”, per se, however, he enjoys cooking for large groups of people. “I really do enjoy banquets,” he said.
When he cooks for his family, he likes pasta “because you’re not limited to any one topping.”
Jonathan Bonk ~ Events Co-ordinator
Jonathan Bonk is well positioned to take over the events co-ordinator’s job from Van Eyk Olivier, who returned to his native South Africa in November.
“I was hired internally,” Bonk said. “I have been working on the mountain for a few years.” Mostly recently, Bonk was working for the ski patrol in both summer (with the mountain biking crew) and winter. For the past three seasons he has been the liaison between Olivier and the operations part of Mount Washington Alpine Resort special events. Anytime there was an event involving mountain biking, Bonk was there.
“What I’ve been doing working with Van Eyk for the last three seasons... I just sort of got my foot in the door,” he said. “The marketing team and I collectively thought it was enough knowledge of what goes on on the mountain ... to pick up where Van Eyk left off.” When Bonk is not working on the latest event for the resort, he can be found outside.
“If it’s good weather, I’m usually outside mountain
biking, rock climbing or hiking,” he said. “Winter’s
coming up so I’ll
be on my skis on my days off, for sure.
“I spent years as an outdoor wilderness guide sea kayaking, hiking, whitewater and lakewater canoeing,” he said. “I’ve always had a drive to be outside exploring.”
Bonk put his own touch on the Resort’s 25th anniversary celebrations on opening day, reveling in the retro feel. Because he is a telemark skier, he plans on promoting that type of skiing at the resort, as well as focusing on avalanche awareness.
“My first duty has been figuring out what’s in this filing cabinet and what’s on the 40-gigabyte hard drive,” he said, laughing.
Joanne Chalifoux ~ Catering Co-ordinator
Joanne Chalifoux a details-oriented event to organize, let her loose
with creative direction, and she’s in heaven.
Chalifoux was hired as Mount Washington Alpine Resort’s catering co-ordinator in December 2002. Fresh from Vancouver, she had been working as a supervisor in one of the food and beverage outlets, working on staff scheduling and other tasks. She was encouraged by her superiors to apply for the catering job. She loves it.
“The mountain’s a great place to work. It’s an incredible environment and everyone is so supportive,” she said.
As catering co-ordinator, Chalifoux deals with all incoming enquiries for events and puts packages together for clients. “Sometimes we have creative input, sometimes we don’t,” she said.
She looks after weddings, corporate functions, meetings, etc. Her life is “pretty busy”, she said, while fielding several requests for information during a telephone interview. In the winter, she deals with a higher number of small events, but in the summer events like weddings are labor-intensive. “This summer we had an incredibly busy summer with all the weddings we did – I think we did nine weddings.
“It’s a lot of detail.”
Chalifoux has worked her whole life in the customer service industry. Prior to joining Mount Washington she organized special events for a cosmetics company in Vancouver. While her title at the resort may lead one to think she cooks all the time as caterer, her job couldn’t be farther from the stove: her job is more about putting together special menus for specific events, although she will jump in and help the chefs prepare food, if necessary.
“I’m pretty hands-on,” she admits. “My favorite part of my job is seeing (an event) from the beginning planning stages right to the event. There’s a great deal of satisfaction in that.
“If I had to pick my absolute favorite, though, it would be