Hartwell now heads culinary team at luxe resort in western Colorado.
I’ve never been to, much less dined at, the Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, a world-class destination practically at the Utah state line. But I’m impressed at the credentials of the new executive chef. Thomas Hartwell has accepted position at the resort in the spectacular Unaweep Canyon. Its remoteness alone is a challenge, and so are the five dining facilities (Entrada, Paradox Grille, Kiva Café Cantina and Duesey’s Diner) with different styles. The combination is a challenge.
Like other leading chefs, Hartwell began his restaurant career modestly, first as a prep cook and busboy at the Stage Door Restaurant outside Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After holding several positions at various restaurants in his home state of Michigan, he moved to Santa Rosa, California to join the team at Restaurant Matisse, a French-inspired California cuisine restaurant under the guidance of Chef Michael Hirschberg. From there, he landed a coveted internship at Michelin-starred Land Hoff in Solingen, Germany.
Over the years, Hartwell also held culinary positions at The Westin Copley Place in Boston and at the historic Boston Park Plaza Hotel under Chef Roland Z. He then opened his own restaurant, The Old Stone Farm House, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to joining the team at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, Hartwell served as chef de cuisine at the Meritage Hotel and Resort in Napa and also the popular restaurant, Zuzu, in downtown Napa for four years.
The elegant adobe-style resort, offering a whole lot more than just food and scenery, has enjoyed recognition beyond our red-rock country. Among its awards, in 2017 it was named the #3 “Best Resort in the West” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards competition, #52 in the Top 100 Hotels in the World category and #11 in the Top 15 Resort Hotels in the Continental United States category. Seems as if Gateway Canyons and Chef Hartwell are a good match. And perhaps I will get there someday.