Chef Brian Kiendl  in John Harvard’s kitchen.
Chef Brian Kiendl
in John Harvard’s kitchen.

With the goal of providing delicious, wholesome food, the chefs at Holiday Valley work to create a memorable dining experience at each of the resort’s six food locations. Centerplate, the food vendor for Holiday Valley, 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 Brian Kiendl, from Bemus Point, N.Y., who has been the head chef at John Harvard’s Brew House since the fall of 2013. His love of food began in Florida where he worked in a kitchen initially “for the job,” but he met his mentor there and studied with him for two years, then headed to NYC to the French Culinary Institute. Brian had the privilege of studying in France for seven months. He spent a summer at Chautauqua’s Athenaeum Hotel, then three years in New York City at a high-end Mediterranean/French restaurant and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art Members’ Dining Room.

Brian describes himself as intense and creative. His goal is to make each and every plate amazing so you can’t wait until the next course, and you’ll want to come back for more.

Brian is creating an environment in the kitchen where the staff is knowledgeable and comfortable answering any question a guest might have. Education is very important. He wants to teach his kitchen staff to work efficiently and naturally and to set the atmosphere where they learn to love food as he does.

Brian feels that the physical aspects of John Harvard’s — the size and location of the building — set the tone for the food. He wants his food to match the grand view of the slopes, the golf course and the pools, and to satisfy guests by making dishes from scratch using simple and straightforward ingredients.

He has taken the John Harvard’s menu and recreated it, keeping some of the old favorites and added many new healthy dishes. Favorite comfort foods like meat loaf, shepherd’s pie and pot roast are joined by some new American dishes like winter salad with shredded kale and wild-caught Norwegian salmon with poached potatoes and roasted tomato coulis. John Harvard’s regulars now have to make a choice … will it be everyone’s favorite dessert, the Butterscotch Bread Pudding, or the new deep fried mini brownies with honey/mint dressing?

Brian feels that this area has tremendous resources for local produce and plans to expand upon locally sourced vegetables, meats and cheeses. Plans are already underway for Brian’s own John Harvard’s garden for fresh herbs and vegetables. Good things are in store for John Harvard’s patrons!