Salad dish at restaurant in Vail

Meet the Team

CHRIS BATES, EXECUTIVE CHEF

With more than 25 years in the culinary industry, with restaurant, catering and hotel experience, Chris Bates is serving up more than the average dish. Bates worked for the Vail Cascade Resort previously from 1998-2002 as a banquet chef, and was the opening chef at Atwater on Gore Creek’s predecessor, Chaps. After leaving the Vail Cascade in 2002, Bates worked for The Ritz Carlton for ten years in properties located across the country, including Vail, Las Vegas and Orlando.

In 2011, Bates rejoined the Vail Cascade Resort and Atwater on Gore Creek’s team as sous chef and in July 2014, He was promoted from sous chef to executive chef. As executive chef, he oversees all the culinary operations for the AAA Four Diamond resort, including banquets, Atwater on Gore Creek, Market Cafe, poolside bar, in-room service and offsite group and event functions. His key responsibilities span hiring, training, menu development, support and cooking alongside his team in the kitchen. As a celebrity chef for Food Arts and Gourmet magazine and guest chef at food and wine events throughout the country, Bates is culinary maverick with the business skills necessary to lead and inspire his team. Bates’ goal as the executive chef is to continue to build a great culinary team that comes to work and takes pride in the food they cook, enjoys serving our guests and has fun doing it.

Bates is a Boston Red Sox fan and his personal interests include a mélange of sports, including all activities that take place in the Vail Valley, which he looks forward to sharing with his wife, Kate, whom he married in 2003 at the Betty Ford Gardens in Vail, and his two children, Hayley and Tyler. 

JAY SPICKELMIER, CHEF D' CUISINE

It all started at the age of 14, when Jay took his 'work hard, play hard' ethic from the soccer field to the dining table. With an unwavering commitment and an entrepreneurial spirit, he managed a Papa John's at age 18 and waited tables through college. After finishing his formal studies in Denver, Colo., Jay moved to Boulder to begin his career as a chef. During the next four years, he worked at several restaurants including the well-known The Flagstaff House, before officially moving to Vail, Colo.

In 2001, Jay began working the gamut of restaurants in The Vail Valley from Osaki's Sushi to major resort restaurants including Larkspur, The Left Bank and Spago. At The Left Bank, he helped the restaurant earn a 'Top 100 Restaurant' ranking from Zagat. Jay opened up Spago in Bachelor Gulch, before taking on several concepts in Denver including Jing, where in 2009 he won Westword's 'Mile High Chef Competition' and then opened a French-Japanese concept called Japoix.

As a Chef and Artisan Food Designer with an eye for innovation and culinary precision, Jay pulls from his life and work experience with worldly cuisine to deliver the best possible dining experience possible. The cumulative skills and experiences he's garnered in culinary arts, catering, consulting, competition, and customer service have helped him grow into a culinary leader committed to creating a positive work environment for like minded culinary enthusiasts.

After a couple years in Denver, Jay returned to Vail in 2011, rejoining the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa and Atwater on Gore Creek's management team. He currently holds the title as Chef De Cuisine and has helped Atwater become one of the Vail Valley's best restaurants, most recently being recognized as a '10 Best Restaurants in Vail, Colorado' by USA Today.

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