Executive Chef ~ Earl James

A brief Culinary History

I was born and raised in the Flathead Valley and began cooking in Whitefish during my senior year of high school. It wasn’t long after that I became infatuated with the artistry behind cooking and the pirate-like, fast-paced culture of kitchen work. I spent three years cooking at Pescado Blanco and then decided to move to Seattle, where I attended the Seattle Central Culinary Academy. After graduating culinary school with honors as “The Most Outstanding Culinary Student,” I continued to work at one of Seattle’s most premier restaurants, Canlis.

I became very familiar face at the world-famous Pike Place Market. This is where I explored the importance of supporting local and sustainable farms and fisheries. It was there that my cooking style found its drive from seasonality and my favorite medium became market fresh produce. After getting acquainted with what the Pacific Northwest had to offer, from foraging wild mushrooms to diving for Dungeness crab, I headed north to Southeast Alaska to cook for a crew of five on a fishing vessel.

Although the two summers there were some of the most physically and mentally challenging times of my life, the seafood and the scenery were absolutely astonishing. I left Alaska with a deep respect for the ocean and its bounty.

After six years of being based in Seattle, the mountains continued to call. I packed my scooter and bed and moved to Truckee, California. I was a part of the opening team at Lake Tahoe’s best fine-dining restaurant, Trokay. I was able to expand my knowledge of technique and became a well-versed wizard in molecular gastronomy at this family-owned diamond in the rough. After almost four years in Tahoe, I was recruited to be a sous chef at one of San Francisco’s most anticipated restaurant openings of 2017; Villon of the San Francisco Proper Hotel. When the opportunity to be the Executive Chef at the Belton Chalet presented itself, I did not hesitate to say farewell to the city and head home. I am beyond thrilled to be on my home court bringing the cuisine I have to offer to a monumental venue such as the historic Belton Chalet.

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