Kitchen and Dining Room
We are thrilled to welcome back Cholly as our Executive Chef! He spent 9 years working here at Vista Verde as Sous Chef from 1997 to 2006. Though it’s been years since he lived there, he still calls Philedelphia, PA home. In addition to his years in the kitchen, Chol is a member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America and has spent 6 years mastering the art of baking artisan breads. It addition to food, Chol loves hiking, camping and traveling. (He has visited every state except Hawaii and has rafted the Grand Canyon!) Chol and his wife Alaya met at the ranch 6 years ago and were married in August 2010. Some of Chol’s other interests include reading, cooking, fly fishing, and more recently bow hunting.
John, our new Chef de Cuisine, is originally from Hanford, California, but has lived in Colorado since the spring of 2011. John is accompanied by his wife, Erica, and their two dogs, Goldie and Oliver. While John loves preparing delicious meals for our guests here at Vista Verde, he also enjoys spending his free time fishing, hiking, hunting, getting lost in a good cook book, camping, relaxing with friends and family, and (no surprise here) cooking! John is a very experienced chef and has travelled the country perfecting his trade; the wonderful results of which will show up on your plate this winter!
David is back with us as Sous Chef for his fourth season here at Vista Verde. He calls Buffalo, NY home and has a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. When he is not in the kitchen he loves to be outdoors and hike all across the country. Ask him about the Appalachian Trail, the Arizona Trail or some of his other hikes in New Mexico, California and Alaska. You’ll often see him out walking his husky Leesha.
Vincent Abate, our Chef de Tournant, is almost local—he’s from Steamboat Springs, CO. Vincent attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales in Denver, and has gained culinary experience in a couple of Steamboat’s Italian restaurants as well. When he’s not being a chef, Vincent enjoys skiing, working on classic cars and playing his bass guitar. We’re glad to have him back in the kitchen!
Danielle is joining is this winter from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated with a B.S. in accounting from Auburn University, and also has completed a Masters in Accounting at the University of Virginia. Danielle is the second oldest out of five siblings, and in her spare time enjoys swimming, running, hiking, and pretty much any outdoor activity. Danielle was also a member of the Auburn Women’s Swimming and Diving Team, winning the Team NCAA Championship during her freshman year; furthermore, she competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials and is a great shot with a rifle. Danielle rounds out our kitchen team perfectly!
Ben hails from Indianapolis, IN and holds a degree from Ball State University in Animation, Theatre, and Telecommunications. He loves all things that involve the stage, and is particularly interested in drawing, cartooning, animation, acting, and playing his ukulele. Ben also has acted in a feature film and enjoys running as long as he can listen to music. We are excited to have him on board as dishwasher this season and love how his cartoons seem to pop up all over the place when he’s here!
Jessica is our Head Server, which puts her in charge of all things dining. Jessica is originally from Crestline, CA and graduated high school from Packinghouse Christian Academy. She has since spent time working in the food service industry, including her four seasons here at Vista Verde, and dreams of one day opening her own coffee shop. When she is not in the dining room, you will probably find Jessica reading or writing. Colorado seems to be a great fit for her, and we’re glad to have her back for another season!
Sally joined us for her first season this summer, and we sure are glad to have her back in the dining room. Originally from Birmingham, AL, she graduated from Birmingham-Southern College where she studied both Business and Modern Spanish. She is a skilled horseback rider, having ridden competitively. (We won’t hold it against her that she rides “English.”) She joins us here for a brief interlude before going back to school. Inspired by her time in arenas, she intends to get a masters in Sports Facility Management. We’re just glad she’s a part of our dining room team in the meantime!
Malori hails from Colorado Springs, where she attended University of Colorado Springs, and also interned in the Mayor’s Office. Before joining us at the ranch last summer, she spent a lot of time supporting her local firefighters (including organizing a fundraiser) when they most needed it during this summer’s devastating fires. Her hobbies include triathlons, fly fishing, mountain biking, camping and anything outdoors, which make her a perfect fit for another season here at the ranch!
Stephen (“Bubba”) Vateto is wearing a few different hats this winter. You’ll see him serving meals in the dining room, as well as around the ranch doing projects with the ranch hands. Bubba has spent the past couple years Guest Ranching in the beautiful Colorado Wilderness – including this past summer as one of our fishing guides! He is from Parker, CO and loves anything outdoors. Some of his favorite things to do are four-wheeling, camping, hunting, and fishing (of course)! This winter will be his second season with us.