The path to executive chef in the culinary field is generally associated with a degree in the culinary arts. But like many other professions, there are exceptions. There are those that take an alternative path, gaining their education through workplace experience by diving in head first, enduring long hours with the restaurant itself as their classroom. This would be the path for Mountain Lake Lodge Executive Chef, Chris Robinson who has worked in several restaurants, gleaning a culinary background all along the way.
A Bigfork High School graduate, Chris spent his summers working at local restaurants, getting a first-hand look at how successful restaurants operate. All the while he couldn’t ignore his natural curiosity for the restaurant environment and, of course, his love of food. Chris’ natural interest in food came at a young age when he tasted foods he enjoyed and thought simply “I can do that.”
After teaching in Environmental Sciences at Phillipsburg Montana for three years Chris felt a strong pull to get back to the Flathead Valley and into a creative kitchen workshop. He and his wife made the decision to take the leap and move back, and in June 2008 Chris took the position of pantry station at the Docks in Lakeside. Four months later, The Docks offered Chris the opportunity to take over management of the entire restaurant. “That was my ‘aha’ moment,” explains Chris, “I knew that if I took this on, there was no turning back.” Chris was soon appointed to the position of head chef, and effectively managed the Docks until he was offered the daytime chef position at Somer’s Bay Café.
While at the Somer’s Bay Café, Chris discover he had an excellent knack for experimentation, and his customers were raving about his food creations. Slowly, Chris made his way back to Bigfork, accepting a position at Pocketstone Cafe in the spring of 2010, and then Executive Chef for Terra and Riley’s Pub at the Mountain Lake Lodge in 2011. The Mountain Lake Lodge was looking for creativity in their menus. “It all just comes very naturally for me” say Chris, “I love putting a new twist on recipes or creating from scratch.” Some of his newest creations include a Tandoori style Trout with Huckleberry Gastrique, a Smokey Carbonara, and a Southwest New York Steak. These, along with newly created entrees and signature desserts truly make Terra a delightful dining experience.
Recently Terra placed in the Best of Bigfork
Tied for Third Place “Fine Dining”
Four–way tie for “Best Dessert”
Tied for “Best Customer Service”
Riley’s Pub and Sports Bar also received awards for the Best of Bigfork
First Place “Best Sports Bar”
First Place for “Best Bartender”
First Place “Best Server”
Come Dine with Us…Relax! Enjoy the view of Flathead Lake! Take a walk through our lush grounds maintained by our in-house staff! 30 Spacious Fireplace Suites, infinity pool, and year-round outdoor hot tub!
Prime Rib Sunday Brunch served every Sunday 9 am to 1 pm. Come in and find out why people are calling this the best brunch in the Flathead Valley.
Restaurant hours change seasonally please call for current restaurant hours.
Winter Getaway packages available October to May. Savor the Food of Terra and Stay the Night too!!!
Mountain Lake Lodge has event space for intimate weddings, receptions, conventions, retreats, and corporate meetings.
Mountain Lake Lodge –14735 Sylvan Drive – Bigfork MT 59911 – 406-837-3800
Mountain Lake Lodge is located 5 miles South of Bigfork, Montana in Woods Bay.