Chef's Corner - Nathan Rockwood
Written by Jonna Castanos
For Chef Nathan Rockwood, owner of the Grey Wolf Resort and member of the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chapter, the farm to table movement isn’t just a fad – it’s a lifestyle.
He became a professional chef at 21 but has been in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes since he was a little boy. Chef Nate began his education while attending Pikes Peak Community College and working as an apprentice chef while in school. He’s worked at several fine dining restaurants such as the Craftwood Inn in Manitou Springs and the Blue Star in Colorado Springs. His career accomplishments also include operating as the executive chef for a restaurant called Nosh which served small, innovative dishes. He’s worked with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado Springs School District 11, and most recently was working with his friend Brother Luck before starting his farm and ranch resort.
Compassionate, caring, kind, driven, and fun are all words to describe our featured chef, and he brings all of these attributes into his personal life and business. His family is also heavily involved in the resort and Chef Nate is happiest when he gets to work with his family when they are farming, foraging, hunting, or fishing. He loves cooking for his family, especially when he makes his partner something she’s never tried and sees her face light up! When he doesn’t feel like cooking, his go-to meal is an easy pasta and sauce dish. However, he also loves a good steak and vegetables.
According to Chef Nate, the best part about being a business owner is being outside in the mountains, and he brings his love for nature and the outdoors directly into his business. The history and motive of the Grey Wolf Resort lies in wanting to help change the food system from the inside out. What began as a class project for the Colorado Agriculture Leadership Program has become his legacy. The resort’s farm and ranch is home to Iron Lady Farms, operated by Chef Nate’s partner, Michelle Kardokus. They gather the finest heritage breed genetics in plants and animals and are true stewards of the land, growing their crops and animals with love. They also collaborate with multiple other industry professionals to bring clean, healthy food to the people. They ensure their animals live a happy, healthy life with fresh mountain spring water and premium livestock feed products, including Colorado Mills sunflower pellets. One of the many educational and interactive experiences offered by the resort is a foraging tour guided by Chef Nate. As you walk around the property, you’ll learn about the natural flora that grows in the area and practical culinary applications for these ingredients. While there are many valuable aspects to the farm to table lifestyle, Chef Nate believes the most important is overall improved health and wellness and that it adds a fifth dimension to business thinking.
When it comes to high-quality, local ingredients, Chef Nate relies on word of mouth and friends he has in the industry to point him in the right direction. The Grey Wolf Resort uses several of our sunflower products. They feed our sunflower pellets to their animals and use our sunflower oil in their cooking. Chef loves it because our high oleic sunflower oil is the perfect replacement for cheap, unhealthy hydrogenated oils and is a local product from local farmers. His favorite cooking application for the sunflower oil is a simple dish of fried farm fresh eggs and pancakes for a hearty breakfast.
Sunflower Confit Colorado Gold Potatoes
Recipe from Chef Nate
Colorado Gold Potatoes
CM High Oleic Sunflower Oil (enough to cover potatoes)
Salt and Pepper as needed
Thyme as needed
Sage as needed
Cut Gold Potatoes in half and lay cut side down in a pan. Cover in sunflower oil just enough to cover about 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and herbs. Bake at 200 degrees until fork tender and immediately drain. Reserve oil for reuse. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
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