Holiday Valley’s Chefs Part 2: Meet Dave Seitz
Healthy, Delicious Food Takes Center Stage
Centerplate, the food vendor for Holiday Valley’s six food locations, is fortunate to have two fabulous chefs leading the culinary teams in creating a seamless interface between the technical aspects of serving several thousand people per day and extremely satisfied customers.
This week, meet resort chef Dave Seitz, who is responsible for catering in all of Holiday Valley’s lodges, winter and summer. Dave has spent his entire life in the food and beverage industry. He attended Alfred University, but he says his most valuable training was on-site through Ogden Food Service and Marriott. He owned his own restaurant, Seitz’s Country Lodge in Yorkshire in the ‘70s, then worked for 12 years at Holiday Valley. He spent 20 years at the Buffalo Yacht Club, and returned to Holiday Valley in 2008. An interesting fact about Dave is that he opened The Hearth restaurant in the Clubhouse Chalet in 1982 and closed The Hearth in 2008 when John Harvard’s opened!
When asked about his philosophy of food, Dave said, “I love my job! Holiday Valley is the premiere place to be and I am so proud to be a part of it. We not only cook, but we feel it is our responsibility to create the whole package for skiers, golfers, conference attendees, brides and even kids at the pool. It’s not just cooking; it is creating the end result.”
He continued, “It is my responsibility and pleasure to train all the kitchen staff, yet allow them to keep their individual characters. Each year, we have about 50 returning staff and 50 new staff, so there’s lots of training and teaching to create a well-oiled machine.”
Dave thinks the ideal employee starts with a positive attitude. A background in culinary arts helps, but the skills can be taught if the employee has ambition and willingness to learn. With his experience and the support of Centerplate and Holiday Valley, Dave feels he can handle any food situation that arises.
“What’s most important to me is to have everyone smiling, both customers and employees,” he said.
It is a major challenge to effectively and efficiently operate the six winter food venues that serve several thousand people a day, while dealing with the unexpected variations caused by weather. Dave has set up teams responsible for each restaurant and each venue has a chef. Dave is the director/overseer for each building, or as Dave says, he’s the “conductor of the orchestra performing the food symphony!”
When asked what his goals are for this winter, Dave answered, “Last year Holiday Valley was #2 in slopeside food according to the SKI magazine reader survey. We want to be #1! We are moving toward many more fresh and healthy options, while giving customers good value.”
Examples are the new Race Day Breakfast at Yodeler with special quick and healthy options on race days and the Tannenbaum Lodge burrito bar and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
Dave explained, “We’re establishing an identity for each lodge by keeping the favorites but adding to the variety using many locally sourced and healthy foods.”