Nationally-renowned Chef Kevin Cottle Joins Powder Ridge
Kevin Cottle has been to hell and back on the hit show Hell’s Kitchen and will soon hit the slopes as Executive Chef of the new destination restaurant Fire at the Ridge at Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort. Located in Middlefield, Conn., the full-service restaurant will serve up artfully-inspired regional cuisine. Fire at the Ridge represents the passion we have that comes from our food and our love of adventure sports—creating unique experiences that bring people together.
Well-known in the Connecticut food scene, Kevin will bring his elegant cooking style and passion for local ingredients to Fire at the Ridge. “I am really looking forward to returning to a public restaurant atmosphere…you never know what is going to come through the door and that is what’s so exciting,” says Kevin. “My goal is to guide a guest through a natural progression of flavors and textures using locally-grown products. It should be a simple experience, never over-barring or over-complicated.” As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and New England native, Kevin was exposed to cooking at a young age and brings his love for seafood and fresh produce into many of his signature dishes.
The 200 person restaurant is slated to open in limited capacity December, 2013 and will be located in the upper-level of the newly renovated Powder Ridge lodge. Guests will relax by the fire while watching their friends and family conquer the mountain live via flat screen monitors situated throughout the bar area.
Meet Kevin Cottle
Q: You have been a player in the New England and national food scene for more than 20 years. When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
A: I knew I wanted to be a chef very early on. My mother was a chef in Cape Cod and my father was an avid fisherman, so a love for cooking was always in our home. When I was 10, my idea of a mother’s day gift was to cook her a full-course meal. I almost burnt the house down. I was also lucky enough to have a culinary arts program at my high school, and it was there that a teacher encouraged me to attend the Culinary Institute of America. At the time, I was the youngest student in my class. It was not as common for younger students to attend Culinary Institute of America as it is nowadays.
Q: You were runner-up on season 6 of Hell’s Kitchen and it is clear a talent of yours is not only making food taste good, but look good too. Is there a style or technique you are known for?
A: My vision of a plate is always simple, never over-barring or over-complicated. My goal is to guide a guest through a natural progression of flavors and textures. I am also very influenced from growing up on the Atlantic and very seafood oriented. But throughout my career I have always sought to challenge and expose myself to different trades and techniques, whether that be banquet, pastry or international cuisine. One thing I can say ─ cakes are just not for me. I drink too much coffee in a day to pipe a straight line of frosting.
A: I am really looking forward to returning to a public restaurant atmosphere. I have been in the banquet industry for the past several years that is planned and organized. At a restaurant, you never know what is going to come through the door and that is what is so exciting. I am also a chef who wants to hear what a guest thinks. Today’s diner is very educated about food, so it is important I am out in the dining room interacting with guests and hearing their thoughts, not hiding in the kitchen all night.
Fire at the Ridge will also offer guests a one-of-a-kind dining experience located in the upper-level of the newly renovated Powder Ridge lodge. Diners will have amazing views of the mountain while dining and relaxing by the fire. They will even be able to watch the action on the mountain live via flat screen monitors situated throughout the Ridgeside Tavern bar area.
Q: You are an active advocate for local farmers and the use of local produce for harvest to heat cooking. How do you plan on bringing these initiatives to Powder Ridge?
A: Powder Ridge’s values fall naturally in line with the work I do in the community. They are a business with deep community roots and a passion for providing experiences that strengthen Connecticut families and are already doing this at Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park through fundraising events for organizations like Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Special Olympics of Connecticut. We have the unique opportunity to be an impactful and active player in our local community and I am excited to support the initiatives I care about as part of the Powder Ridge family.
Over the years, I have worked to encourage the use of locally-grown produce with Connecticut’s Farm to Chef program and build awareness of the local funding climate for farmers with the Connecticut Farmland Trust. We held annual fundraising events and even initiated a Connecticut Restaurant Week exclusively featuring local products. Another passion of mine is building awareness of childhood obesity and am active in the Chefs Move to School program that works to bring healthy food options to schools nationwide. I also had the honor of meeting Michelle Obama at the White House to discuss childhood hunger while working with the No Kid Hungry initiative.