High Altitude Society column: USS Colorado submarine chefs visit Four Seasons Resort Vail
October 2, 2016
When asked if I would cover a culinary event in support of the USS Colorado, a submarine that was named after the great state of Colorado, I felt honored and delighted to be part of such a unique happening in the Vail Valley.
The team at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail was honored to welcome culinary specialists Thomas Carswell and Oyedolapo Oworu from the USS Colorado submarine (the newest member of America's fast attack fleet) on Monday, Sept. 26 for a hyper-local culinary experience. There was a plethora of local offerings from Executive Chef Marcus Stewart, of Four Seasons Resort, and his charges. There were rubs for the grill, delicious corn and crab soup, plenty of fresh local vegetables and decadent desserts for diners. Guests were curious and asked questions of the chefs.
"How many seamen on the submarine?" asked Cathy Horen.
"We will have as many as 150 people on board, depending on the deployment," Oworu said. The guys work 12 days on and 12 days off and work 24 hours, around the clock. Those long days are challenging. "I really miss my mom during training. I call her every other day. I talked with her today."
The guys spoke to the challenge of acclimating to the high altitude of the Vail Valley.
"We come from seal level, or below sea level, so this altitude makes it difficult to breathe," Oworu said.
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Before a submarine's launch, there is a tradition to have a few of the chefs visit the state the submarine is named after to learn about the local flavors. The USS Colorado Committee, a nonprofit that raises money and awareness for the submarine, has lined up these experiences.
"It is certainly a privilege to have one of these elite submarines named after our state," said USS Colorado Submarine Committee member Shauna King. "The committee is working hard to make sure that the ship has a flavor and theme of Colorado, and I couldn't think of a better fit that represents our state than having the chefs tour our Colorado mountains for this culinary experience."
The seamen shadowed Stewart at Flame Restaurant, the Four Seasons' modern-mountain steakhouse, during the day to master local recipes that they will bring back to the submarine and share during their tour of duty.
John "JJ" Mackin of the USS Colorado Commissioning Committee and his wife were at Four Seasons Vail to support the chefs from the submarine during their tutelage from Stewart. John Mackin shared that photographer John Fielder will have landscapes in the submarine to give the sailors a dose of Colorado.
"The sailors are also visiting the Brown Palace in Denver and The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs," Mackin said.
USS Colorado (SSN-788) is the 15th Virginia Class submarine and is currently under construction at Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, which is known as the Submarine Capitol of the World. It is expected to be commissioned in the summer of 2017. The committee's purposes are to promote awareness within the state, provide support for the crew and to help organize and raise money for the events surrounding commissioning.
Gov. John Hickenlooper and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship-naming ceremony at the state capitol in honor of USS Colorado. The Virginia Class submarine is the fourth ship named Colorado.
USS Colorado Committee held a fundraising gala and auction on Sept. 17 at Charles Schwab's Event Center at their new campus in Lone Tree. About 180 people attended the event, including three visiting crewmembers.
For more information on how to support the commissioning, visit http://www.usscoloradocommittee.org, and to learn more about Four Seasons Resort and Residences or for dinner reservations, call 970 477-8650.
Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.