KITCHEN & DINING ROOM
Food and Beverage Director
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
School: CU Boulder
Cholly started of as a Sous Chef at Vista Verde in the winter of 1998. He proceeded to stay on the ranch for approximately nine years before leaving to pursue Artisan bread baking skills. It didn't take long for Cholly to realize that Vista Verde was his true home, and he returned as Executive Chef in 2012 with his wife, Alaya, whom he met at VVR. They have a little boy named Eamon and love spending time with him along with their little girl, Saoirse! Some of Chef Cholly’s interests include: hiking, fly fishing, camping, bow hunting and bread baking. Cholly is also a lifetime member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a member of The Bread Baker’s Guild of America since 2004.
Chef De Cuisine
CPR/First Aid, Basic Fire Fighter, Personal Survival, STCW
Hometown: Denver, CO
School: CU Denver
Previous Position: Head Chef at The Griffin Tavern
Tanner is a Coloradoan, born and bred. He says, “If I were a recipe I would consists of three main ingredients. 1= Camp; I have been a part of a non-profit that reunites brothers and sisters separated in foster care since 1995 called Camp To Belong (my mother is the founder). 2=Chef; I have over 14 years of experience in the professional kitchens of various concepts. Most recently as a chef, I was the opening chef of a tavern in the Denver Tech Center, spent 3 months traveling abroad in Spain as a hostel cook and tour guide, and worked for a river cruise line on the east coast and in the Sea of Cortez. 3=Skate/Snowboard; I have been riding since I could walk and attribute many of my defining characteristics to the lessons I have learned from falling hard and progressing in sports that have no limit. If it has to do with giving I am in, and if it has to do with an outdoor adrenaline filled adventure, I'll meet you there!” He is excited to become a part of the VVR team and looking forward to creating one master piece of a dish after another.
Chef De Cuisine
ServSafe Manager Certified, ServSafe Proctor
Hometown: Marine on the Saint Croix
David has been all over the west coast working seasonally in various national parks as well as doing private chef work. Some of the destinations David has worked include Glacier Bay Lodge and Tours in Alaska, Beach Chalet Brewery in San Francisco, Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park, and National Half Dome Lodge in Yosemite. While he isn’t working, you might find David fishing, hiking, camping, and of course, cooking!
Pastry Chef and Sous Chef
Hometown: Front Royal, VA
Previous Job: Bitterroot Ranch
A life-long love of food and family led Melissa to a career in pastry arts, with a love of horses not too far behind. She attended the New England Culinary in Vermont and after graduation worked in both catering and fine dining. After nearly 8 years working in the hectic Washington D.C. metro, she decided to take off for some adventures in the west. After one season in Wyoming, she found her tribe here at VVR. When not in the kitchen, she loves to hike, go out on the all-day rides and ski. Nathan and Melissa were married in October 2016, a ranch wedding and a perfect match.
Hometown: Bloomington, IN
Jake has always loved nature and the great outdoors. Camping and hiking are his idea of a fun weekend; he learned it all from being a Boy Scout and achieving eagle rank. Jake is a geek of the highest caliber. Anything from Dungeons and Dragons to anime; if it's nerdy Jake has probably done it. However, just because he is a nerd doesn't mean he doesn't like sports. Jake loves skydiving and archery. Jake is excited to be working at VVR again!
Hometown: Davie, FL
School: Southern Methodist University
Max has been coming to the ranch for the past 9 years, and now, he’ll get to see the other side of things as a staff member! He currently studies mechanical engineering at SMU. Max is an avid baseball fan and player, and plays on his school’s club team. He also enjoys photography and cooking, and is a huge movie and military buff. Max is the head of fabrication and welding at his school’s formula one racing team, Hilltop Motorsports! Fun fact: He is tied for the tallest kid at SMU at 6'10!
Hometown: Dayton, TX
Previous job: Waiter at Fish Tales
Alex is joining us from the great country of Texas, and is joining VVR for his second season! He is a huge fan of fantasy fiction literature, his favorite author is J.R.R. Tolkien and has read the ``Lord of the Rings`` books three times. Alex is a former Cadet Gunnery Sergeant in Dayton High School MCJROTC and is a proud Eagle Scout. Alex also loves Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering. Fun fact: Alex once spent 24 hours straight binge watching ``Doctor Who``.
Hometown: Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Previous Job: Server, Hiking Guide
Having been a server and hiking guide, Mark was looking for a place where he could combine both of his passions, and the ranch seems to be the perfect setting! Mark's fun energy makes him a great fit at the ranch, and we are excited to have his extensive serving experience back on our team for a second season.
CPR, AED, Crowd Management, First Aid Maritime Security Awareness, and Basic Firefighting
Hometown: Nashville, TN
School: University of Tennessee Chattanooga
Damon loves traveling and meeting new people in new surroundings. His hobbies include hiking, cooking, and reading. When he is not doing any of those he is probably watching sports. Damon played baseball for 12 years. He also spent a year travelling the Hawaiian Islands while bartending on a cruise ship. Damon has a passion for helping out anyone he can. This is Damon's second season at VVR and he is excited for more adventures. Fun Fact: Damon really enjoys skydiving! He has jumped in 3 states and looking forward to adding more to the list!
Hometown: Fort Collins, CO
School: Colorado State University
Shannon just graduated in May with a degree in Natural Resource Tourism! She loves to travel and is passionate about music. She can frequently be found drinking coffee and petting dogs. Fun fact: she has been to 22 countries. The most obscure place she has been is Mauritius, a small island off the East Coast of Africa with a landscape similar to Hawaii. “I am happiest when I am outside enjoying some sunshine,” says Shannon. She can’t wait for those passions to come together this summer at VVR!
Hometown: Vail, CO
Previous Job: Valet Parker at the Ritz Carlton Bachelors Gulch
Christian grew up in Colorado, and loves to alpine and Nordic ski. In the summer, you can find him mountain biking and trail running. He runs track and field as well as cross country for Wheaton College during the school year. He is stoked to spend a summer exploring a new area of Colorado!
Hometown: North Liberty, IA
School: Wheaton College
Noah is joining us for his first season at Vista Verde, and is excited to spend the summer discovering all that Colorado has to offer! Noah currently studies at Wheaton College right outside of Chicago, and plans on becoming a high school physics teacher! Fun fact: Noah’s left foot is an entire size larger than his right.
Hometown: Eau Claire, WI
Previous job:Waitress at the Brickhouse Cafe
We are so excited to have Abigail back for a second season! Prior to Vista Verde, she completed a semester at sea. For this program, she spent six weeks in Woods Hole, MA studying oceanography and nautical science, then six weeks sailing the North Atlantic/Sargasso Sea, ending in Grenada. During her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, curling up with a good book, exploring nature, and spending time with loved ones. Fun fact: The last restaurant Abigail worked in was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network Channel.