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Chamber offering: A "Taste for every Season" at Okemo

The Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce is offering a 2011 "A Taste of Every Season" dining calendar. Twelve restaurants within the Okemo Valley have showcased their signature recipe, along with a picture of their dish.

Among the chefs who participated are Okemo Mountain Resort Executive Chef Michael Breen who was recently designated Certified Executive Chef by The American Culinary Federation. The Executive Chef certification identifies those chefs who have demonstrated a level of culinary competence and expertise through their education, work experience, culinary knowledge and skills consistent with the executive chef level. The ACF Executive Chef certification is the fourth level of official recognition in the organization's Cooking Professional category. It is eclipsed only by the elite Master Chef designation.

Another Chef who participated is from the Inn at Weathersfield, Chef Jason Tostrup, who began his culinary career in Aspen at The Renaissance in 1996. He worked his way up the kitchen ladder, starting as a pastry assistant, moving to roundsman, then sous-chef. In 1999 Jason was promoted to Executive Chef. During his tenure at The Renaissance, Jason was instrumental in establishing the restaurant's reputation for world class, award winning cuisine recognized for its' excellence by The James Beard Foundation. In 2002, Jason moved to Napa Valley to work as Sous Chef at Thomas Keller's bistro outpost, Bouchon. While in Napa, Jason had the opportunity to enjoy life in the California wine country and explore its commitment to farming, agriculture and sustainability.

In his constant quest for fresh food and local products, Jason made the decision to come to Vermont where local products are a way of life. "I wanted to be closer to the seasons, the products and the farmers. That connection is so important to me." Since moving to Vermont and taking charge of the Inn at Weathersfield dining operations, he has developed strong alliances with area growers and producers. These strong relationships and his commitment to local producers have made Jason and the Inn at Weathersfield a leader in the Farm to Table movement in Vermont. Jason has been awarded the Sante Culinary Arts Award for 'Sustainable Cuisine - New England', been invited to The James Beard House in NYC to showcase his signature 'Verterra' cuisine, and is featured in the PBS series "Endless Feasts" - a documentary about local farms. Most recently the restaurant at The Inn has been named 'The best restaurant in Vermont' by Fodors Travel guides, and is among Bon Apetite Magazines "Hot 10 Culinary Inns in America".

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