One-on-One with Executive Chef Kevin Erving

Why Beaver Creek’s Culinary Landscape Is As much a Draw as Its Natural One

Friday, July 06, 2018

When you think of Beaver Creek, Colorado, naturally your mind ventures to the great outdoors, with its gorgeous tree-lined mountainous terrain, babbling brooks, and star-filled sky. But its epicurean landscape is arguably just as enticing. There is such a range of culinary offerings—from quaint cafes to gourmet restaurants—that you might just find yourself dreaming of your next meal before you finished the first.

Here, we sit down with the executive chef of one of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in Beaver Creek: Beano’s Cabin. Every day, chef Kevin Erving creates an on-mountain epicurean experience that is unparalleled. Guests can enjoy front-row views of the chefs in action as they prepare menus comprised of local game, rustic Colorado fare, and fresh herbs and vegetables picked straight from Beano’s own garden. Here, chef Erving talks about how he started out, his vision for his critically acclaimed restaurant, and why Beaver Creek is a culinary powerhouse.

When did you first know you wanted to be a chef?

My mom managed various restaurants in downtown Seattle over 30 years ago, and I spent a lot of time with her at work. I have vivid memories of standing on a stool in the back of a kitchen stirring the roux. I was pretty convinced that was the coolest place to be as a 10-year-old and not much has changed since.

How did growing up in the Pacific Northwest influence your palate?

Back in the day, the Pacific Northwest was all about mushroom picking in the fall and salmon fishing in the spring. I used to spend summers at our family cabin in Oregon eating Blackberries (“salmonberries”) right off the vine. I love fresh, simple ingredients that explode flavor in your mouth.

What's your philosophy on food?

Simple, fresh, seasonal and full of love.

When you took over as executive of Beano's Cabin at Beaver Creek, what did you hope to accomplish with your menu?

I was super excited to take on the challenge of mountain town dining. I understand that this is a destination resort and the culinary experience is only one piece of the overall guest experience. I want Beano’s Cabin to be a part of the story that’s told when guests go back home. I hope that Beano’s is a highlight and the reason people want to come back year after year.

What inspires your menu and/or specials?

Seasons play a big role in inspiring my menu. One of the best things about working in Colorado is our dramatic change in seasons. Winter brings distinct flavors and textures to dishes, very different from the bold, crisp flavors of summer. But true inspiration comes from within. What do people want to eat and how can I make it better than they’ve ever had?

Where did the idea of the beehive in the garden come from? What are the challenges and perks about this beehive?

The beehive was inherited from a couple of talented and ambitious cooks that came before me. I was wary at first, but after extensive research and hands-on experience, I’ve become very proud (and protective) of our Beano’s hives. Bees are amazing creatures and I’ve had the privilege to witness the strength and fragility of these champions of the food chain. There is nothing more pure than to harvest honey from the hive and use the fresh but complicated ingredient in a daily special. But more importantly is what the bees offer Beano’s garden. The chief pollinators of the lettuce garden that the farming pioneer Frank Bienkowski planted more than 200 years ago, the bees go hand-in-hand with the fresh produce offered on the menu throughout the summer season.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being the executive chef at Beano's Cabin?

We get guests from all over the world at Beano’s Cabin. Providing guests with an exceptional experience that they don’t get anywhere else is a challenge, but the reward comes from knowing that you’ve nailed it.

What is special about the Beaver Creek area?

There’s an old saying, "I came for the winter but stayed for the summer.” This could not be truer than in Beaver Creek. What has quickly become a year-round destination, Beaver Creek offers the unique experience of a lifetime for anyone looking for adventure, fun, and inspiration.

What's next for you? For Beano's?

As a chef you are only as good as your last meal! We are excited to offer Garden Dinners once again this summer where your taste buds will be taken on a seasonal culinary journey and experience the best of what Beano’s Cabin has to offer while dining under the stars at 9,200 feet.

If you were marooned on a desert island and could only have three ingredients, what would they be?

I would need four ingredients: lemons, salt, grapes, and sugar. With these ingredients you can enhance, ferment, preserve, and elevate almost anything else you might encounter on the island. To keep things interesting, you could also create a variety of beverages to complement what you eat.

For more exciting Beaver Creek adventures, click here.