Serving Up Change With Jason Landas
Our team is continuing to grow with exceptional talent! We would like to introduce our new Executive Chef, Jason Landas. Jason has been working in kitchens for the last 14 years, including 3 Michelin Star restaurants, one of which he helped get its first star rating. He and his family just moved to the Tahoe area and are eager to put down roots in their new mountain home. Jason’s culinary expertise and leadership have elevated the entire food & beverage program at Sugar Bowl. Over the past couple of months, Jason has revamped dining experiences for Sugar Bowl patrons across every venue at the Resort, from the Belt Room to the Sunset Grill.
How did you get into the food and beverage industry?
I played a lot of sports growing up. Then after high school, when I didn’t have a sports team to be a part of anymore it really left this hole in my life. My roommate at the time in college was working at a kitchen down in Santa Barbara. He told me to come down and check it out, explaining that being in a kitchen was the closest thing to being on a sports team that you can get. I went in one day and the moment service started, I was hooked. The way they worked together as a team, the intensity, the controlled chaos, the comradery, the way we spoke to each other, everyone working together towards a common goal, all of it really filled that aspect that I felt like I was missing.
At first, I was helping with prep in the kitchen. I had experience bartending and serving before that. But I got hooked on working in the kitchen so I shifted to the back of the house. I really just started helping where I was needed so I could learn and grow my foundation. And now I’ve been doing it for about 14 years.
Do you think if your friend hadn’t ever invited you to come work in that kitchen that you would’ve ended up in the kitchen?
I don’t know, I really don’t think so. I was originally in school to be a history teacher. I wanted to be a teacher and coach sports. So I don’t think so.
What made you choose to come to Sugar Bowl?
For me, my wife is from a small town and we have a daughter who is almost 4 years old and about to start preschool. Before we were living in San Francisco and we just didn’t want to raise her in the city. We wanted to be a part of a smaller community. After moving up to Truckee and being introduced to Sugar Bowl, this was the first spot out of all the places I interviewed where I saw a great range of potential. There’s a rich history at Sugar Bowl with an opportunity to elevate the guest experience and the food program, to truly leave a mark. That’s what intrigued me. In sports, being a leader was an important role for me so this opportunity felt right, it felt like I could make an impact here.
How is this job different from other restaurant jobs you’ve had?
Besides the beautiful environment and scenery of being up on top of a mountain? This will be my first time living in the snow and weather.
And then there’s the opportunity to run multiple food outlets sprinkled throughout the resort, that’s really cool. For me, my challenge is to make sure that after they have a great experience skiing, no matter where they sit down to eat after, they continue that great experience.
Excited to get some skiing/ snowboarding in this season?
I haven’t skied since 2004 so I’m excited to get back into it. I’ve dabbled in both skiing and snowboarding but I think I’ll probably start out skiing.
Do you have a cuisine preference when you’re cooking at home?
I’m hyper-seasonal. I love whatever is going to be delicious for that time of year. When I’m at home I usually cook with whatever I can find at the farmers market.
You go out for a wonderful day of skiing and then you and your friends/ family go to hit apres after, what is your favorite post-ski meal?
Probably a big ol’ bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce. With a nice hot toddy, I love a nice hot drink with a splash of alcohol in there when it’s cold out.
There are a lot of changes coming to Sugar Bowl this year and while you’re new here, is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to seeing in action?
Honestly, I am just excited about the guest experience and the elevated food experience we are offering. I’m starting to see a taste of it this summer with the Belt Room and the wine dinners at Lake Mary. I’m looking forward to getting the team nailed down and cultivating a shared respect and enthusiasm amongst the staff for the food we are providing, no matter what outlet it is.
I also look forward to cultivating a shared respect and enthusiasm amongst the staff for the food we are providing no matter what outlet it is at.
What are some future goals you have for Sugar Bowl and your department here?
I want people to come to the Belt Room or The Dining Room not because they are staying here, but because they’ve heard the food is so incredibly good. It would be a huge accomplishment in my eyes if we could get folks from outside the resort to come dine here, whether they want to bring their family or spend a date night here.
Any memorable moments so far in your short time here at Sugar Bowl?
I spoke with someone who said they haven’t dined much at Sugar Bowl the last 4 years because the food hasn’t been what she wanted. So as soon as she said that, I said “challenge accepted.” I accommodated her dietary requests and brought out a few special plates from the kitchen. At the end, she told me that she couldn’t remember the last time she had had a meal like this and that I had changed her mind about eating at Sugar Bowl. That was a very reaffirming experience for me that made me excited to progress up here. I’m going to continue to add more color and texture to our menus and I can’t wait to show our guests what we have to offer this winter in our Food & Beverage program.