Editor’s note: The Vail Daily features area chefs in a new series called Meet Your Chef so you can learn a little more about those creating art in the kitchen. If you are a local chef and would like to be part of this series, please email Tricia Swenson ([email protected]) and Sean Naylor ([email protected]).
Q: What is your name, where do you cook and what is your official title?
A: My name is Daniel Joly and I am the executive chef and owner of Mirabelle in Beaver Creek.
Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?
A: We moved to the Vail Valley in 1990. We left Charleston, SC after Hurricane Hugo thinking we would be here for a winter season. That quickly changed when we realized this area was the best place to raise our family.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a chef?
A: I’ve been a rebel since I was young and didn’t like school. I was intrigued by the cuisine of a restaurant. I didn’t like the idea of a 9 to 5 job. Working in a kitchen seemed fun and challenging.
Q: Who has inspired you throughout your culinary journey?
A: I was inspired by a master chef and culinary celebrity in Belgium, where I started my journey. Now I am one of them. I hope to inspire the next generation of promising chefs.
A: What is your favorite spice?
Q: I’m not a spice-oriented person, but I lean more towards fresh herbs at Mirabelle. We have our own greenhouse where we grow many varieties of fresh herbs including lemon thyme, purple basil, lemongrass, mint, rosemary and ginger root.
Q: Favorite protein?
A: Colorado lamb is one of my favorite proteins. It’s lean but still full of flavor. Duck is another favorite of mine.
Q: Your favorite fruits and vegetables?
A: For fruits, I really like wild strawberries, acai and guava. My favorite vegetables are Brussels sprouts, Belgian endives and white asparagus. It all depends on the season.
Q: Name your carbs: pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, etc. ?
A: My main carbohydrate of choice is the potato, there are so many ways to eat it and it is such a great vessel for flavor absorption. I also like some ancient grains like farro or quinoa.
Q: What’s your favorite comfort food?
A: I like a good bowl of meat, a grilled chicken and a few simple ingredients or in a good homemade soup, it’s very satisfying after a good day of skiing. Or a nice glass of wine and cheese with a friend after a day on the river. Hmm, that’s making me hungry!
Q: Is there anything else about you that we should share?
A: I think that at Mirabelle for more than 30 years that I have been there, we have always kept a sense of responsibility with our staff to improve the experience of our customers. We are so lucky to operate in an old farmhouse that is unique to the valley food scene. We always make sure to provide fresh food, great friendly service and an exceptional wine selection at a reasonable price.
I believe in our industry it is a daily task to ensure that you are always growing and striving to be better. I will be judged on my last dinner, I was only as good as the last meal we made and we can’t sit back and think we’ve reached the top. Tomorrow, we have to do it all again!
We were fortunate to have the support of our staff and a dedicated and talented chef who shares our vision. We are a family business and we want to be part of the community. We still feel lucky and proud of the support we have received over the years.
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