About three weeks into his new gig, executive chef Chris Park is preparing for arguably his most important meal of the year — serving 300 people Thanksgiving dinner at the National Park Inn in Mount Rainier National Park.
Park, 38, has been a chef for about 23 years and prepared holiday meals at his previous job at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah.
Now he’s in charge of the meals for the National Park and Paradise inns at Rainier, the latter of which is closed for the winter.
By his guess, Thursday’s holiday buffet will bring about three times the customers he sees on an average day this time of year. That means long days preparing the meals, and a whole lot of food trucked up the mountain for visitors.
Many of the diners make an annual pilgrimage to the restaurant for the holiday, wanting the annual staples on the menu, such as the inn’s roasted root vegetables.
Park talked to The News Tribune about what it takes to serve a holiday meal for 300.
We’re doing a creamed spinach, oven-roasted root vegetables and rosemary-scented orange and white sweet potatoes. One of the salads is pretty nice. We’re doing a wild arugula salad. It’s with pickled fennel, pine nuts, feta cheese, and Dijon vinaigrette.