Our very own Edge Restaurant and Bar was recently featured in the Aspen Times, in a section that highlights local businesses in the area. So we thought it would be fun to play off that and feature an interview with the Edge's chef, Jason DeBacker. Don't forget to check out The Edge next time you are here in Snowmass. Enjoy!
1. How long have you lived in Snowmass? What do you like about living here?
Chef DeBacker: I have lived in the Aspen/Snowmass area going on four years now. There are a lot of reasons to love Snowmass, a few being the programs and school system for my children, the view of Mt Daly from my window, and the healthy lifestyle we all share.
2. What is your background - how long have you been a chef?
Chef DeBacker: I started out cooking with German Grandmothers. I absorbed everything they taught like a sponge. I worked in a donut shop in high school, then decided to enlist in the Marine Corps as a cook.
After five years of working for the government, I headed to Kansas City and worked in a few Hotels as a youngster, then found my niche in a French Restaurant called Aixois in KC. I learned a lot from the French owner and Chef. I received an offer to take over as chef in a large French Restaurant in Denver called Le Central. I spent the next six years learning quite a bit about the business from the curmudgeon owner.
Then, I headed for the hills and took over as chef in Aspen at the Creperie Du Village. Two years in Aspen is like 5 city years. Now I am in Snowmass Village at The Edge/Timberline, and I enjoy it very much. In total, I've worked about 25 years in this Industry, and I am happy to show my culinary development in a an area where visitors and locals appreciate the cuisine.
3. Why did you decide to be a chef?
Chef DeBacker: Back to learning from the grandmothers, I always figured I would be in the food service business. When I went into the Marine Corps, I went in as a guaranteed contract cook. Not too many Marines got to choose what they wanted to be, but who goes into the Marines to be a cook? Plus it would be something marketable when I returned to civilian life. I was a rifle range coach and taught people how to shoot straight, but not a skill the private sector looks for to often.
Food has always been a part of my career, it is a passion, an art, an expression, and something that I am proud to share with my kids. Every plate I have created on our menu is part of my history and heritage, it is a privilege to be able to share this in a town where people visit from all over the world.
4. What makes the menu at The Edge unique?
Chef DeBacker: The menu at the Edge is unique in that no one in Snowmass Village, and very few in Aspen (Cloud Nine), have the combination of sausages, schnitzel, fondue and Alpine comfort food. We feature Swiss, German, Austrian, and even a little French cuisine.
5. What are the favorite parts of your job?
Chef DeBacker: I love to teach my cooks everything I know. I also enjoy passing on the knowledge I have learned from Managers in the front of the house that I have worked with in the past. I try to take the good and not make the same mistakes. Just new ones.
6. What is your favorite dish currently at The Edge?
Chef DeBacker: My favorite dish changes all the time, as our menu changes fairly often. But I would recommend the Sausages and Kraut. I have learned this craft from quite a few cranky old Europeans. I had to suffer a lot to learn how to make this dish, so I hope it pays off and tastes excellent!