Executive Chef Jason Geer, Latitude 48

Chef Jason Geer began his culinary journey in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the vibrancy and commotion of the professional kitchen was enough to pique his interest at avery early age.   As he progressed – and entered college as an English major – it quickly became apparent that the career he was searching for was waiting right in front of him. 

The birth of his first child proved to be the impetus needed to change direction and focus on culinary advancement.  This journey took him all across the mountain west, ending up in the Flathead Valley in 2007.  Having worked and managed some of the finest restaurants in the valley, he is both happy and proud to share his 30 years of experience at Latitude 48/Red Room Basement Bar.

Chef CeCe, Tupelo Grille

Born and raised in Denmark, Chef Cecilie was strongly influenced by her Mother Aase’s culinary talent and love for classic European cooking.  “My Mother loved great food and the Art of Cooking, and ensured that I would experience her passion. She firmly believed that starting at a young age – and training with the right chefs – was the correct way to understand the culinary trade. 

Chef Cece’s family relocated to the United States in the 1980’s, and – at age 16 – she was introduced to Chef Thomas Portmann from Switzerland. She took a summer job in the kitchen, and – inspired (and hooked) hooked by the textures, ingredients and flavors, she stayed with the hotel for five years, working her way up the ranks. In 1997 she became Executive Chef for the Buccuti Beach Resort in Aruba Dutch Carribean, then moved to European Master Chef Carsten Giesing’s new “Madame Janette” restaurant in Aruba, where she became Sous Chef.

After three years in the Caribbean, she returned to the States as Sous Chef for the newly renovated Le Marigot Hotel in Santa Monica, California, and worked in the award winning restaurant “Cézanne” for the following 2 years.  She was later the Executive Sous Chef at The Jonathan Club – the 4th most prestigious private club in the U.S. – and was I honored to be promoted to Executive Chef of The Jonathan Beach Club in 2005.

After venturing out on her own to create a high-end Private Chef Culinary Service – her clients included the Ambassador to Finland, CEO’s, celebrities & Hollywood producers – Chef Cece relocated to Whitefish in 2014 seeking a better quality of life.  Here she met (and joined forces with) Pat Carloss, whose Tupelo Grille was undergoing a major expansion.

“With 20+ years’ experience as a professional chef and culinarian, I have engulfed all the great knowledge from the talented people I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years,” she said, “and I’ve created my own style … a mixture of “Farm to Table,” my childhood memories; California cuisine and the different cultural cuisines experienced in my travels.” 

Chef Andy Blanton, Cafe Kandahar

Andy Blanton’s culinary journey began while working as a dishwasher at the age of 15, when the allure of cooking became apparent and his curiosity began to arise.  He enrolled at the Culinary Arts Institute of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, earning an Associates Degree in Culinary Artswhile exploring the flavorful cuisine and learning the techniques and core foundations of all facets of food preparation.  
 
After gaining hard-earned experience at several local restaurants, Andy’s first job as a professional cook was at Commanders Palace in New Orleans, recipient of the James Beard Award for “Most Outstanding Restaurant in 1996.”  There he learned to appreciate the depth within each dish, paying attention to details such as texture, mouth feel, presentation, eye appeal, and flavor … and how these elements combine for each and every palate.  His next move was to Brigtsen’s, working under Frank Brigtsen – another James Beard Award-winning chef.  While at Brigtsens, Andy was fortunate to also work with Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona at Spice Inc, and fine tune his experience even further.

In the fall of 1999, Andy chose to move to Whitefish, Montana for a change of pace and scenery. His talents were quickly recognized and he became Executive Chef of Café Kandahar at Whitefish Mountain Resort (formerly Big Mountain) in 2000. After six years as Executive Chef, Andy along with his parents purchased the restaurant in 2006.

Recently Chef Blanton has been featured in numerous publications on the local, regional, and national scale, notably Wine Enthusiast, Sunset, and Travel and Leisure Magazines. In addition, Andy has been nominated four times as a semi-finalist for the coveted James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the Northwest, in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.  In 2012 he was invited to cook at the James Beard House, a culinary rite of passage and a distinguished honor. Cafe Kandahar was also named as one of the ten best small town fine dining Restaurants in the U.S. by Culturetrip.com.

Café Kandahar serves thoughtfully constructed cuisine.  Showcasing locally cultivated products, local game, and farm-to-table ingredients, Café Kandahar strives to provide patrons with a unique and exquisite dining experience.  The café specializes in the art of pairing food and wine and boasts an extensive wine list, with accolades from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.