Head Chef

Our Guests Come for the Fishing but Come Back for the Food

Frank Kerstetter

After 40 years of cooking, I consider myself a lucky man because I still love what I do every day. The saying might seem a little cliché but it has held true for me all these years: “You will never work a day in your life if you love what you do”.

I started at age 16 as a dishwasher. In 1981, I graduated from the Culinary Institute of American. I was the Chef de Cuisine at Papillion Café in Cherry Creek, Colorado. During this time Papillion was chosen by Gourmet Magazine as one of the "10 Best Restaurants of the West." I also worked Pastry/Sous Chef at Mirabelle in Beaver Creek and had dishes featured in Bon Appetite Magazine. I have been with Forrester’s since 2006.

Resumes & dates are nothing without learning from those who have motivated, inspired, mentored and taught. Over time, I’ve developed what I’ve learned into my own distinct style. My first Chef Jean Jacques Gage (Picots Place) taught me what a sense of urgency meant and that great cooking was in the finesse. Culinary School taught me how to be a true professional and to respect the profession. My time with Pierre Luc (MirabelleRestaurant) taught me how to work hard and that if cooking was truly easy, everyone would be doing it.

Radek Cerney (Pappillion) showed me how to organize myself as an executive chef and to also see the importance of presentation on a plate; creating the "wow" factor that truly engages the diner with each dish served.

Jon Mendoza (Viand) helped me shift from the old school culinary mentality into the world of contemporary cooking, while always looking at everything through fresh, young eyes.

Heroes along the way for me have been Jeremiah Tower, Alfred Portale, Thomas Keller, Marco Pierre White and Emeril Lagasse. All have had a big influence on my evolution as a chef and my overall career. However, there are also countless Chefs and cooks I have worked with over time who have provided me the greatest inspiration. I learned so much from such a wide variety of brilliant people.

The kitchen is my workshop. I love coming to work to a clean and organized kitchen each day. I’m proud to walk into the shop with all its plates, pans, tools, mixers, knives, cutting boards, stoves, griddles, ovens and gadgets. Just being in the kitchen is exciting and it never gets old. I find solace, peace and affirmation in the environment. I completely lose myself in the creative process.

Add food and now its not only fun but an art! Vegetables, herbs, fishes, beef, lamb, rabbit, elk, pheasant, grouse, clams/oyster, cakes, pudding, custards and ice cream etc.. It’s endless; the day is never boring and presents its own sets of challenges.

I am here at Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort for a reason. I’ve been through the high end fast pace lunch and dinner restaurants. But I really just want to COOK!

I love “building” plates, a beautiful plate is a celebration of many things: a respect for food, skill and knowledge; a certain amount of care and passion. A moment in time, creativity, style, a gift, heart; it’s a celebration of the relationship between flavors and textures and glimpse into the soul of the one who created it. “A Beautiful Plate is the celebration that cannot be without Love and Passion but is nothing unless it shared.”

I’m always looking to enhance our guests' experience when they dine at the Lodge. I present them with something new and different, an unexpected, even at times whimsical experience without a feeling of pretension or stuffiness. It may be refined yet at other times downright rustic but I hope always fun and engaging.

Your dining experience is a culmination of all of the experiences I have had, from each person and restaurant I’ve worked in every single day.

“From thought to Table” it is my pleasure to serve you and hope you come away from the table pleased and contented!



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