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Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail

  • One Vail Road, Vail, Colorado, 81657, U.S.A.
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Jason Harrison

Executive Chef

“I learned the value of local ingredients in the Canadian Rockies. It’s not easy to find someone who can grow for you in the mountains, but it’s worth it.”

Four Seasons Tenure

  • Since 2010
  • First Four Seasons Assignment: Current

Employment History

  • Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas; The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis; The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta; Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Alberta; Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta; Fairmont Algonquin, St. Andrews, New Brunswick; Best Western Barrons Hotel, Ottawa

Birthplace

  • Ottawa, Canada

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts and Culinary Apprenticeship, Algonquin College, Ottawa

Languages Spoken

  • English, French

Jason Harrison is on a Rocky Mountain high. “It’s great to be back where people take pride in the product they grow and there are plenty of locals to partner with,” says the first-ever Executive Chef of Four Seasons Resort Vail, who left the heat of Las Vegas for Colorado in summer 2010. “I’m really trying to get involved in the community here. It’s taking me to where my passion started: creating meals from A to Z.”

Actually, Harrison’s passion started on the playing fields of Ottawa. A “team sports fanatic” who’s into hockey and football, he fell for the fast pace and comparable camaraderie of the kitchen at a young age. At a superior’s encouragement, Harrison enrolled in culinary school and focused his talents on hands-on cooking. “It’s rare to find a kitchen that puts attention into every detail. I’ve spent my career seeking hotel restaurants that do the same.”

And so Harrison’s career path progressed from one highly rated kitchen to the next, with postings in St. Louis, Atlanta, New Brunswick and the Canadian Rockies. His most recent assignment as Executive Banquet Chef cooking à la minute in Las Vegas seemed to embody every element of his career. “Vegas is the most competitive place you’ll ever live – if you’re doing something best, everyone will try to top you,” he says, noting that creating 5-diamond-level dishes for 3,000 is no easy task. “You have to be creative to pull that off. I’ve learned to adapt challenging culinary concepts by making them functional.”

Vail has a lot of room for Harrison to flex his talent. His goal is to create seasonal menus with product grown within 100 miles of the hotel, including regular chef’s tables plucked from a farmers market down the road. Après skiers reinvigorate with bite-sized, stick-to-their-ribs appetizers like foie gras sliders, while Flame Restaurant delivers the steakhouse concept with just enough inspiration from the peaks outside. “In a small town like Vail, it’s important to consider what the locals like, but I can’t serve elk, bison and caribou every day. International travellers want dishes they recognize, and that’s Four Seasons comfort food.”

Heading east has opened up a lot of possibilities for Harrison beyond the kitchen. Look for him on defense on the local recreational hockey league, as well as careening down the slopes with confidence.

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