Chris Kastner

CK's Real Food

Chris Kastner (better known as “CK”) has been at the forefront of our local farm to table movement since opening CK’s Real Food with his wife Rebecca in November 2003. From savory bread to ketchup to ice cream, just about every delicious morsel on CK’s menu is handmade using fresh seasonal ingredients from nearby farms or CK’s own restaurant garden. Sourcing an unprecedented 75 to 90 percent locally, CK is proof positive that preparing our own farmers’ food is a sustainable strategy for restaurant success. Here’s what Chris had to say when asked about his relationship to food:

How did you become interested in food?
Loved to eat. 

When did you realize you wanted to be a chef?

Why are you so passionate about sourcing locally?
It’s the logical, smart and right thing to do. Flavor, freshness, drive what we do. I wouldn’t do this without local sources. 

About what percentage of your food comes from local farms?
Seventy-five to 90%, depending on the season.

If there was one thing that would make it easier to source locally, what would it be?
A longer growing season and better distribution consistency.

When and why did you start growing food outside your restaurant?
From Day One – it makes sense, and I enjoy gardening and reaping.

What’s the one kitchen utensil or tool that you can’t live without?
A knife; but as for power tools, a Vitamix. 

Do you ever offer cooking classes? 
During special events like the Trailing of the Sheep.

What is your biggest wish for food system change? 
For it all to be organic and fairly and consistently priced.

What change would you like to see in the Wood River Valley in terms of food?
There are so many hot springs around here just flowing into the river – Democrat, Magic – it’s ridiculous this resource isn’t being tapped for anything: growing food, melting snow, whatever…

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