Last week, Mammoth Mountain Executive Chef Marc Mora made an appearance at Mammoth High School, a real treat for students of the Culinary Arts Class. The Executive Chef, in charge of all food and beverage for the Mountain, shared his 30 years of professional experience with the kids. The specific lesson focused on the finely detailed preparation of salmon and trout. Mora, who has been with the mountain for two years, chatted with the young chefs about how his staff members at the mountain’s finest dining eateries partake in their own craftsmanship of delectable delights, be it trout cake appetizers, salmon-skin sushi rolls, or pan-roasted salmon.
The watchful and attentive students were well-educated about what makes a great salmon or trout dinner, from origin of the meat, to the delicate slicing of parts, to temperatures and seasonings appropriate for poaching, to the fine art of cold smoking wild-caught ocean fish. Want to learn how to stuff Alpers Trout and wrap it with bacon? Ask one of these students what they learned from the fine chef.
MHS Culinary Arts Instructor Trish Qualls invited Mora down as the two cooks have calculated that the next great chef for Mountainside Grill or Tamarack Lodge might just be one of Mammoth Lakes’s homegrown masters of the kitchen. Mora’s love of cooking developed in his senior year of high school when he took a class called “Bachelor Living” – a home economics course designed specifically for males. When he learned that Mammoth High School has its own Culinary Arts Class, he felt the need to further interact and work with the students. Mora looks at is as an opportunity for true apprenticeship education. Two of Mammoth High School’s current students are already under Mora’s supervision at the Mountain, along with a handful of graduates. As Mora said, “A tough thing to do is getting skilled people up here [to work in fine dining]. If 77 students graduate from Mammoth a year, and three come and work for us, and one of those stays for the long run, that’s a good thing.”
What does Mora have planned next for the school? Along with a few more visits this academic year, Mammoth Mountain will build its inaugural “Gingerbread Village” with the assistance of the high school. This concept-in-development will replace the traditional “Cookie Decorating Week” held annually over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Students will help MMSA build gingerbread parts that will then be manufactured into an entire village, which guests will decorate on Thanksgiving Day. It will either be housed in the Sierra Room or Fireplace Lounge at the Mammoth Mountain Inn.