Chef Adam Kreisel has been called many things over the span of his career, from affable to zany. To fans and critics he’s innovative, risky and a chef terrible, as in enfant terrible, a French term for someone young, successful and strikingly unorthodox or avant garde. Since graduating from the California Culinary Academy in 1999 he has developed a reputation for being ahead of his time, a quality that has given him a cult following but has also been his Achilles. He has opened restaurants to rave reviews only to see them close within a few years, or even a few months, for reasons that had nothing to do with the food. Fans of The Globe, Kreisel’s first big entrée onto the Salt Lake City scene, still lament about how much they miss it, years after its doors were shuttered.
I see Kreisel as a renaissance man, continuing to hone the skills he’s developed into a unique resume. A lover of fine art, he earned degrees in economics, European civilizations and architecture, the latter being the field that actually led him to Utah (in Howard Roark style, he left architecture because he saw his idealistic views colliding with the inevitable mundane projects). A self-proclaimed culinary anthropologist, he’s currently an adjunct culinary arts instructor at Art Institute International of Salt Lake. Mainly, he operates his own company, Chaia Cucina, a culmination of all his talents. In addition to catering, he provides clients with consultation in kitchen design, restaurant ergonomics and menu concepts. The name Chaia Cucina is linguistically rooted in both Hebrew and Italian and translates literally and figuratively as "Lifegiving Kitchen."
Lucky for us food lovers, Kreisel is still about the food. “I have always been an eater, ever since I was a little dude,” he says. When he prepares a menu for clients, he wants them to feel the way the Italians feel, every meal of every day. “My strength is the multi-course experience. With each dish you’re hitting that roller coaster, with textures, flavors, wine pairings…you’re engaged.”
Kreisel caters events of all sizes, and there are many ways to hire him, especially if you are a visitor here to ski. First, if you are staying in a condo, or spending time in your home away from home, he will provide prepared meals that you can heat up after a day on the slopes. Next, you can bring Kreisel into your kitchen to prepare more ornate meals. Third, he can act as your personal tour guide to local restaurants. Word on the street is that he makes a fantastic dinner companion!
When Kreisel is not in the kitchen, he’s at Solitude Resort, four days a week if possible, often with his daughter, Chaia, the namesake of his business and a “little ripper” on skis. While he left the daily grind of owning a restaurant, he has retained all the respect of colleagues and fans. “This is the magic of my world,” he says. “I have more time, more energy, more money. And people want me to succeed.”
Chef Adam Kreisel’s Ski Stats
- First resort ever skied: Nashoba Valley
- First Utah resort skied: Snowbird
- Favorite Runs: Black Forest at Solitude OR Gunsight/West High Rustler at Alta.
- Favorite Après Ski Food: Braised Short Ribs (at home) or the famous Garlic Burger at The Cottom Bottom
- Favorite Après Ski Beverage: A shot of reposado tequila—Corralejo—followed by a “phat” bottle of red wine or a hot chocolate with Bailey’s.