Park City » Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the world's most respected and accomplished chefs, with dozens of award-winning restaurants from New York to Hawaii and Paris to Shanghai on his résumé.
But this formidable restaurateur says his "most spectacular" kitchen is the one inside the J&G Grill, his new eatery in Park City.
In New York and other metropolitan cities, "it costs so much for property that restaurants have to have little kitchens," the French-born chef said Friday. "This is probably the biggest kitchen I've worked in. It's unprecedented."
J&G Grill, located inside the new St. Regis Deer Crest Resort, actually has three cooking areas: an open exhibition kitchen that guests can see from the dining room, plus a behind-the-scenes kitchen that has several preparation areas and five different walk-in refrigerators. One level below, there is a small kitchen with a walk-up window where skiers can grab a quick lunch.
It also has a wine vault that can hold 4,600 bottles and will offer more than 900 different wine labels.
Another feature, exclusive to Vongerichten's Utah restaurant, is the massive communal dining table that seats 22 people. In all, the main dining room can seat more than 100 patrons.
Vongerichten's restaurant brings a new level of sophistication to Utah's dining scene. It will serve grilled meats, fish and even pizzas using fresh, local ingredients and bold condiments with ingredients such as chiles and lemon grass -- ingredients for which Vongerichten is known.
Through his 25-plus years in the business, his restaurants have earned an unprecedented 20 stars from The New York Times , six Michelin stars and three awards from the prestigious James Beard Foundation.
Vongerichten said the Utah restaurant combines two of his passions: food and skiing. He first put on a pair of skis when he was 4; it has remained a lifelong hobby. However, he has been so busy with the new restaurant he has yet to ski the Deer Valley slopes. He plans to do that soon.
Utah diners can expect to see Vongerichten regularly. And not just during the winter months. He plans to forage for watercress and other wild things in the nearby mountains in the spring and summer.
"It's like having a nice car," he said. "You want to drive it a lot."