Shane Baird still gets excited when he comes to work every day. Who wouldn’t when he enters the funicular (a tram-like capsule) that lifts you up the mountainside to St. Regis Hotel in Deer Valley’s ski resort.

Shane, 29, of Park City, is the new chef de cuisine at J&G Grill, housed within the hotel. With floor-to-ceiling windows, patrons have an excellent view of Park City and the ski slopes.

He was part of the opening team of the restaurant in 2009 and worked as sous chef. “I feel comfortable with the new role,” says Shane. “A few of the different responsibilities and skills include creativity. I love being able to insert more of myself into the daily menus and, of course, leadership and management skills are essential. I enjoy it all.”

J&G’s food is contemporary with “a take on mountain-inspired dishes that are also elegant,” he adds. The Grill is a signature Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, thus the J and G are for Jean-Georges.

“Food has always been a passion for me and my family,” says this single man. “I grew up in Honolulu, which helped spark my pure passion for food. Eating poke after school with my sister is one of my fondest memories as a child.” When he was age 16, Shane worked at a fish house in Salt Lake City where they served a dozen different varieties of line-caught Hawaiian fish.

Since then he’s attended New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, Vt., and trained in Spain and France under various chefs.

The outdoors inspires Shane. “I took a two-month hiatus and led a fly-fishing expedition in Alaska,” he notes. “This experience made me realize just how much nature fuels my menu. ... On days I am not in the kitchen, I’m most likely fly fishing on our local Provo River for rainbow trout. In the winter I ski here at Deer Valley Resort on some of the best snow on Earth!”

He says he loves everything about Utah — the high mountains and low deserts and adds, “There is never a shortage of things to do outside.”

After spending a long day preparing high-end foods like duck and short ribs at the Grill, Shane opts for a simple grilled cheese sandwich with ham or a nutella/apple sandwich once he arrives home!

He shares a rather high-end recipe today, which he feels home chefs can tackle for the holidays. It’s a mouthful, both in words and taste!


Grilled Rack of Lamb

For the Lamb

Cut rack in half. 1 portion is 1/4 rack. 

Season well with salt. Cover bottom of small pot with butter, mint and a Thai chili split. Cook in 200-degree oven, fat side down 10 minutes. Turn meat over and cook another 10 minutes. Rest meat in cooking fat.

Grill to temperature needed, starting fat side down until well caramelized. Spoon chili glaze liberally over lamb to coat well and serve.

For the Chili Glaze

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup seeded ancho chili, toasted, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/8 cup seeded chipotle, toasted, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nam pla (fish sauce)

Put sugar in heavy bottomed pot and moisten with enough water to make texture of wet sand. Cook over high heat until deep chestnut color and add garlic. Cook, stirring until garlic is toasted and golden, then add chilies. Stir until fragrant, then add juices. Reduce until sweet and sour is balanced, then add nam pla.

For the Onion Compote

  • 4 cups onions, sliced very thin
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat butter in rondeau (wok) until foamy and add onions, then sprinkle with salt and mix well. Cook on low heat, covered until onions are completely tender (no color). Warm in batches and hold in covered container in warm place during service.

For Broccoli Rabe

Remove bottom one-third of broccoli bunch, blanch, shock and cut in 1/2 on bias.

For King Oyster Mushrooms

Remove stems of mushrooms, cut into 1-inch oblique pieces.

To Serve

Onion compote, broccoli, mushrooms, olive oil, water as needed.

Heat a small saute pan with olive oil until smoking and add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook until caramelized, then deglaze with water until mushrooms are glazed. Add broccoli and season with salt and pepper and saute until hot.