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.
ADAM SMITH, SOUS CHEF
Chef Adam Smith grew up in Lawrence, KS. His mother often jokes that he has been a chef since he was 2 years old, after discovering him sitting at the kitchen table one morning eating cereal. This was of course after making, or rather attempting to make, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and toast…needless to say the kitchen needed some cleaning.
Since this first attempt at cooking, Adam was 2 years old at the time, he has been a culinary professional for the last 14 years. Finding himself cooking at his first job at the age of 15 in a small restaurant in his hometown, chef Adam has worked in all kinds of restaurant operations from deli’s to fine dining.
He arrived in vail in 2006 spending his first 3-1/2 years at the left bank learning and perfecting his knowledge of French cuisine. During which time he fell in love with the pastry kitchen and found himself the pastry chef before leaving for France in 2009. He was offered a position at restaurant Chez le per’ Gras in Grenoble, France, in continuous operation since 1896. In the fall of 2010 he spent time at the famous Ecole Lenôtre in Paris, studying with some of the most famous names in pastry. Later in 2010 he returned to the Vail Valley and spent time at some of the fine dining establishments as sous-chef and pastry chef before arriving at Vail Cascade in the fall of 2011. Since joining the Cascade family, Adam has been instrumental in the development of Atwater on Gore Creek” and in all aspects of its operation.
JONATHAN SEIDT, DIRECTOR OF BANQUETS & OUTLETS
In 1986, Jonathan came to Vail to enjoy a ski vacation with some friends. The very first words out of his mouth were, "Holy cow...what kind of business do I need to be in to live in a place like this?" 20 years later, Jonathan finally figured it out and made it to his final destination. "In 2007, I punched out of the Holland Tunnel headed west and haven't stopped smiling since!"
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...Jonathan graduated from N.Y. Maritime College with a Bachelor's degree and a U.S.C.G. license to sail on ships worldwide as a Third Deck Officer. He spent a number of years at sea as a Third Mate on oil tankers before coming shore side and spending the bulk of his maritime career in a number of capacities including Port Captain, Chartering Broker and Managing Director for an international ship agency.
Jon had always had a passion for fine dining, watching cooking shows, and trying to emulate great chefs at home. At the ripe old age of 33, in the midst of his shipping career, Jon started to wonder about life and other job possibilities. Shoulda, coulda, woulda was not something that was going to happen when he turned 50, so he left the shipping business and embarked on a new voyage that had him working as an IT Administrator and financial planner amongst other things. One fine day, Jonathan found himself in Houston, Texas, working for a company selling life insurance and financial planning services. His entire life, people had been telling him to go into sales, so he figured this would be a great opportunity for him. Well, the owner of the company came to his desk one morning, leaned over and asked, "Jonathan, what is it you like to do with yourself?" Jon knew at that moment that sales was not the career for him and he replied, "Well, I always enjoyed cooking." The owner then suggested why not go to culinary school and see where that path takes you (which was something Jon had always wanted to do just for fun anyway), so...one month later, Jon enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York City.
Upon graduating culinary school with top honors, Jon spent time working at various fine dining establishments in NYC with the Union Square Hospitality Group. He later opened an Italian restaurant with partners in Westport, CT. The rat race and general struggle to live in New York, however, really started to get under Jon's skin. It was at that point that he realized, "Hey, I can live anywhere I want now!" Once that realization came to mind, Jon wasted no time calling a friend of his at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek where Jon took a job as an AM culinary supervisor and quickly worked his way to Sous Chef.
Not being satisfied with being locked in the kitchen all day, Jon further yearned to be on the dance floor where the party was taking place and to understand the bigger picture within the hospitality business. He left his job at Hyatt and began again as a breakfast server. Soon thereafter, Jon found himself applying to Vail Cascade Resort and Spa for a job as Banquet Captain and in search of a ladder to climb. Five years later, Jonathan now oversees all front of house food and beverage operations and has discovered how much he enjoys putting smiles on people's faces. "It's been quite a voyage, with many different waypoints... and with zero regrets, I can comfortably say: What a long, strange trip it's been!"