The Haven Sun Valley
Chances are, you’ve seen Kellee Haven and her electric green food truck at numerous locations around the valley (including the Ketchum Farmers’ Market) – or parked in its usual spot outside of The Haven (Warm Springs and 7th in West Ketchum). If you’ve tasted her fresh-made sandwiches, salads, soups, seasonal tacos and comfort foods, they surely left an impression. Local seasonal ingredients are a hallmark of Kellee’s clean simple cooking. Like many, the Oregon native moved to Ketchum to “ski bum” after college. To pay the bills, she went to work in some of Ketchum’s top restaurants, including the Ketchum Grill and Enoteca. She started her Supper Club to allow outdoor enthusiasts like herself to eat well while enjoying every moment of their leisure time. “Don’t be surprised, The Haven will feed the world and do amazing things,” Kellee professes. “We are just getting started.”
Here’s what Kellee said when asked about her personal relationship to food:
Why are you passionate about using local seasonal ingredients?
Our community is small, so being able to support any business locally is a goal of mine. Eating out at restaurants using local ingredients is just a bonus of living in a small town.
Where did you develop your love of good fresh food?
My mother always shopped organic, so fresh food has been part of my life from day one. My family, grandparents included, are all about fresh and quality. But also a level of purity. That is the way I like to cook. Straightforward. When food is fresh, it speaks for itself.
Do you grow your own food?
The Play Hard Give Back boys, Spencer and Jeff Brendel, created a community garden last summer. I got to use radish, tomatoes, red leaf and green leaf lettuce, potatoes, spinach and arugula. The greens were most amazing – it’s just a special process. I, however, do not have a green thumb. I am a really good waterer – and picker
What inspired you to become a chef?
When I turned 28, I needed to make a decision about what to do with my life. I chose to follow my dream – and if it didn’t work, hey, at least I tried! I just love good food – and it seemed like a profession I could really get into. I have been throwing dinner parties since the beginning of time. Why not just make them bigger and get paid for it? And here we are, three years later.
Where/how did you learn to cook?
I learned to cook by watching, trying, doing. Like I said before – my family is excellent at cooking so I learned a lot from them. If you appreciate food, it’s easy to understand quality. When I was considering culinary school, I spoke with several chefs. Most had the same reaction, saying that working your way up is the best way to go. I had always been in the front of house of restaurants [as a server and manager] so it was a hard transition to the back. That’s when I decided – just do my own!
What’s your favorite food?
Pizza! I’m totally into the foods that are “all-in-ones.” You get your veggies, protein and carbs. no need for sides and salads – you got it all right there!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am not into purple foods–purple potatoes, eggplants, etc.
Who is your food hero?
How do you feel about organic?
Many feelings. I feel like when you can buy it. I’ve grown up organic but only live within my means. I think if you are including veggies in your diet and that is a stretch already on your budget – just do your best.
Are you concerned about GMOs? If so, why?
Yes, worldwide spread allergies and food with no real nutrients – what’s the point of eating them?
What’s your end goal or what impact do you hope to have in terms of food?
I hope that people can make a choice with the haven versus stopping at the store and find – oh, this was a little more expensive, but I feel good after eating it. Our quality is high and I want people to respect what we are doing. Food trucks generally are cheaper, but they are not what we are doing as a company. Some items are less than others. Options for all.
What is your biggest wish for food system change?
What change would you like to see in the Wood River Valley in terms of food?
A REAL AWESOME SALAD BAR!