Baking with Geoff
- Chef's Corner
Who is responsible for the sweet recipes for success at SROriginals? The creative minds in the kitchen are the backbone of so much of the work we do at SROriginals. So, we recently caught up with Geoff Suk, Director of Partner Innovation, to hear about his path to the culinary world.
Geoff was born in NW Montana but grew up in Northern Idaho in a little town on the Clearwater River called Orofino. He couldn’t have asked for a better place to grow up as his family was minutes from just about every outdoor activity you could ask for. The town was close enough to some larger cities that he had access to more amenities but isolated enough that it retained its small town rural feel where everyone looked out for each other. Geoff was fortunate enough to attend K-12 with the same group of kids and to this day he still has many good friends back home.
In 1999 he moved from Idaho to Keystone, CO to attend Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute. It was a commitment for sure as it’s a European style apprenticeship that consists of 3 years of full time work along with school during the week but he couldn’t have picked a better school and highly recommends the school to anyone that is considering a career in food. It is extremely affordable and because you are a full-time employee of Keystone Resort it gives you real world experience that prepares you to step right into any professional kitchen in the world.
Geoff’s very first job in the culinary field was as a dishwasher and prep cook at a steakhouse in his hometown. “ It may sound weird to say but I’m thankful that I worked that job first as it taught me how important the stewarding staff is to a successful operation and how important it is to make sure they know how much they are appreciated.” After his brief stint in college Geoff started working simultaneously at a hotel restaurant and a fine dining restaurant as a line cook at both. Not counting his dishwashing gig he has been in the culinary field for 19 years straight now. Geoff has worked in almost all facets of the field from breakfast & lunch, catering, banquets, baking, concession stand, fine dining, and being a personal chef to multiple high profile figures.
Below he shares what inspired him to become a chef, his most memorable moment in the kitchen, and what ingredients will we always find in his kitchen.
How long have you been at SRO? I just celebrated 12 years at SROriginals this past July. When I was hired Cal Fabos lived in California and Steve Fabos was still doing day to day sales and was our Rep for Darden Restaurants. What a crazy and rewarding 12 years it has been!
What made you want to become a chef? Growing up my parents were both great cooks but I did not follow them around or show interest in cooking until I went off to school and had to start providing for myself. I originally went to school for athletic training but quickly found out that traditional college was not the path I was meant to take. I have a very inquisitive mind and I love working with my hands and figuring out how things work, but I also have a short attention span and sitting in class being lectured to was not working for me. After 3 semesters of college I took a break and began working in two different restaurants and realized that it was what I wanted to do full time.
What is your greatest source of inspiration? My fellow chefs both here at SRO and in the outside world. I love seeing what others are doing and thinking about how I’d spin it or even just a small tiny component of their idea is enough to spawn an entirely new creation. The best chef I ever worked for always said that there are no new, original ideas left and that as chefs we all borrow from one another and put our spin on it.
What is your most memorable experience in the kitchen? It was not in a professional kitchen but my most memorable experience was having the honor to be a personal chef to Garth Brooks and his family at a private residence in the mountains of Colorado. Getting to cook for one of the most famous people on the planet and seeing that he is one of the most humble, generous humans I have ever met was an unforgettable experience. A close second would be getting to share my time cooking for the owners of the Denver Broncos with my little brother every year. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to share that experience with him.
What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? Do you have season favorites? Chicken broth is my go to ingredient. It is such a versatile ingredient that can be used in almost any type of dish or ethnic cuisine from old-fashioned chicken noodle soup and Thai hot pots to braised Moroccan tagines and creamy risottos. If you cook it down by half and combine it with my other favorite ingredient (butter) in a blender you have the most amazing, velvety sauce to pour over grilled chicken. In the summer time I love sweet corn roasted in the husk with just a little fresh butter and salt and in the winter I really like making hearty stews and braises that warm you to the bone. Through my wife’s family we raise grass fed Black Angus cattle and there’s nothing better than beef stroganoff made with stew meat from our cows.