Executive Chef Rob Zack
Executive Chef Rob Zack’s long history with Hotel Jerome started more than 20 years ago. His culinary DNA has been vital in creating new menus, inspired cuisines, and unique restaurant experiences throughout the hotel as part of the property’s recent renovation.
For Chef Zack, food of place is focused on integrating Hotel Jerome’s culinary aspects into the community, and remaining a cornerstone of Aspen’s social fabric. “We are really connected with the people who live here, offering cooking classes and getting involved with local initiatives such as Eat Drink Local,” Chef Zack says. “We try to stay cutting-edge while showcasing culinary traditions that reflect a sense of place”—which at Prospect includes such menu highlights as rabbit and venison and other game dishes.
Renowned for its soaring landscapes and natural beauty, it’s hard to compete with Aspen’s attractive outdoor qualities. “Everyone who comes to Aspen wants to be outdoors,” Chef Zack explains. “And so it becomes our challenge to create a balance, to get guests seated without taking them away from the reason they came here in the first place: to hike, bike, and ski.” Through a series of food-of-place events, Hotel Jerome offers an unparalleled compromise through approachable cuisine that speaks to the clientele. “My goal is to show how Hotel Jerome can bring our style to the culinary scene in Aspen in an approachable, fun way.”
Jerome BBQ Spice
2/3 cup paprika
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Reserve in sealed container.
“We produce great food at fair prices, using solid techniques and seasonal ingredients,” explains Chef Zack, who points to his mainstay Mustard Crust Trout with Orzo as an example. “It’s been on the menu forever. It’s consistently good, and I have no reason to take it off!”
Living Room Oscars and Oysters
It’s hard to think of the movies without bringing to mind the Aspen Filmfest—and, of course, the Oscars! To celebrate the Oscars in a special way in a town known for its Hollywood connections, Hotel Jerome invited guests to watch the event on big- screen televisions in the Living Room Bar. Champagne and sparkling wine flowed while a variety of oysters were up for nomination as “best shellfish in a supporting role.” And the award went to the Island Creek oysters, responsibly farm-raised in Duxbury Bay, Massachusetts, and known for their upfront burst of salinity, sliding home with a robust, sweet finish. “This is one of my favorite oysters—the quintessential New England oyster in taste, texture, and presentation— perfect for connoisseurs and very approachable for those who don’t know oysters.”
Father’s Day BBQ
To celebrate dad’s special day, Chef Zack planned a late-afternoon BBQ extravaganza:
a cooking class followed by a buffet for the family on their outside patio. He used local beef for the event, from a Colorado purveyor 7X Cattle Company, which raises its Akaushi cattle in the Colorado high country and is committed to sustainable ranching. It’s the purest Japanese beef you’ll find on U.S. soil as the cows come from one single breed with a 100 percent pure bloodline. According to Chef Zack: “It’s like butter. It melts in your mouth.”