Cooking seasonally, eating locally in Vail
VAIL, Colorado – Larkspur Restaurant will host a harvest dinner on Friday night and restaurant owner Thomas Salamunovich will be in the kitchen. “Cuisine is my passion, my craft,” Salamunovich said. “The growth of Savory Group restaurants has taken me out of the kitchen on a daily basis, but I am excited to celebrate Colorado’s bounty with a special dinner at Larkspur.”Salamunovich hasn’t limited his culinary identity. From the elegant Larkspur Restaurant to the quick-service Larkburger, he is comfortable as long as he’s producing authentic fare.Since moving to Vail in 1993, Salamunovich’s career has been on the fast track. He left his role as executive chef at Vail’s iconic Sweet Basil in 1999 to open Larkspur, later that year. Since then, many opportunities have unfolded.In 2004, the gourmet burger was sweeping the country. Salamunovich saw a niche to fill in the Vail Valley and beyond. Larkburger epitomizes new fast food with its all natural, affordable burgers, truffle fries and creamy shakes. Four Larkburgers have opened with more on the horizon. Salamunovich opened Restaurant Avondale in the new Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon in 2008. Avondale’s stylish design, moderate price points and fresh, seasonal menus bridge the gap between Larkspur’s fine dining and Larkburger’s fast, casual meals.Larkspur and Avondale have an exclusive arrangement with LaVenture Farms in Gypsum. Seven years ago, Salamunovich started purchasing produce several times a week. Soon, the chef and farmer were planning the next season’s crops together, and a greenhouse was built to boost the short growing season, which challenges Rocky Mountain farmers. In 2007, Salamunovich was approached to be included in “Colorado Organic.” The cookbook is the brainchild of author Jennifer Olson and features Colorado farmers and eight Colorado chefs who are committed to local, seasonal food.