Chef Profile : Catching up with Rex’s Vicki Connacher

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Vicki Connacher

Vicki Connacher is the talented executive chef for Rex’s Family of Restaurants, which include Rex’s, Laundry, Mazzola’s, Salt &
Lime, Big House Burgers, Lil’ House and Creekside. Originally hailing from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where she attended
Cape Town’s Silwood Kitchens Cordon Bleu Culinary School, she’s traveled around the world training with some of the most
skillful chefs in the industry, including the crazy and talented Gordon Ramsay in London. In 2006, she joined Rex’s team at
Mazzola’s and has never looked back, becoming an integral part of its growth from one to seven go-to restaurants in Steamboat.
We caught with her between slicing and dicing for the inside, er, skinny…


Swillin’: What’s your restaurant background and how’d you end up here??
Chef Connacher: I was lucky enough to attend culinary school in South Africa, after which I worked for a few years in Cape
Town, then travelled for the next few and worked in London and then on cruise ships and in resorts till I heard about Rex and asked for a job.


Swillin’: Any family status we should know about?
Chef Connacher: I’m shacked up with my beautiful dog, bad cat and silly boyfriend on “the West side.”

Swillin’: What restaurant do you spend the most time at?
Chef Connacher: That all depends on each restaurant’s kitchen management status and staffing. I’m currently at Rex’s, but this will change.

Vicki Connacher

 
Swillin’: What makes each of Rex’s restaurants unique?
Chef Connacher: Each restaurant has a Chef that is passionate
about maintaining a high standard in their food, a happy staff
and consistent product – rexs family is very Lucky to have these
great, talented humans at the reins. Some things you may not
know: Big House has magical custard shakes, Salt and limes
Churros seem to have a life of their own, Creekside’s pancakes
are so fluffy, they’re like clouds. Laundry has a chef that’s so
positive and excited about food he’s basically doing cartwheels
while creating your favorite bites! (I’m not joking.) Mazzola’s
has the most incredible pizza crust and Rex’s has something fun
up their sleeves every Tuesday, besides the amazing Mac n’
Cheese.

Swillin’: What do you like about the Rex’s Family of
eateries?
Chef Connacher: Our food is whimsical, it’s not completely
what you expect.
 
Swillin’: What’s better: cooking or managing cooks? 
Chef Connacher: Cooking, by far.
 
Swillin’: Favorite meal to prepare:
Chef Connacher: I have three: Thai Green Curry, Lamb Korma
and General Vicki’s Chickee General, a Tso Chicken/American
Chinese dish. It’s chicken thigh morsels marinaded in Shaoxing
wine and fried, served in a spicy savory tomato-soy sauce. For
the Curry, I like to make the base paste, which is so fragrant
with its kaffir lime, lemon grass and aromatic spices. Making
your own paste makes a world of difference.

 
Swillin’: What’s the best thing a customer can do?
Chef Connacher: Don’t make eye contact with me. I’m very
awkward and prefer not to have to talk to people while I’m
cooking, which leaves me inserting my foot into my mouth a lot.
 
Swillin’: Any quick cooking tips for us amateurs?
Chef Connacher: Put a damp, clean towel under your cutting
board. It keeps it from sliding around and driving your
significant other nuts. Nobody wants giant onion chunks in their
salad. Seriously. If you have a mini spatula, you’re cool!
 
Swillin’: Is it true that the 100 folds in a classic chef
represent all the different ways to cook an egg?
Chef Connacher: Apparently, yes. But a ball cap is way less
work and you can wash it in the dishwasher.
 
Swillin’: And other hobbies or interests?
Chef Connacher: I love to travel, as well as reading, mountain
biking, hiking and skiing.
 
Swillin’: Favorite hiking or biking trail? 
Chef Connacher: I love a quick Larry’s to Blair Witch to Little
Moab ride after work when the days are so long you can still
ride at 7 p.m. It’s magic. We are lucky to live here!

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