Tyler Stokes: Cooking up a dream
In the mood for pork? Pique your palate with the savory crunch of crispy Duroc pig head torchon, complemented by dried cherry ginger compote, butter leaf, pickled mustard seeds and crème fraiche. Or perhaps pasta? Look no further than the from-scratch tagliarini with braised rabbit, speck, garlic sage-brown butter sauce and topped with Reggiano.
This is just a sampling of the innovative menu at Provisions, a modern American cuisine, small-batch craft kitchen—and the culmination of Executive Chef Tyler Stokes’ journey that had its beginnings in a small Idaho eatery when he was just 17.
“It was my first cooking job,” says Stokes. “I immediately caught on and knew I would be cooking the rest of my life. I loved it.” In just three years, Tyler ascended to sous chef at the restaurant, but he wanted more, and soon after left to broaden his culinary horizons.
“I moved to Park City to seek out more experience and knowledge, where I was offered a sous chef job at The Canyons. This led to executive chef of Lookout Cabin while I was still 21—right before the Olympics. We won a couple awards that year, and I learned a lot.”
Still, Stokes yearned to know more, so in his spare time (which he jokes wasn’t much), he took on additional roles as sous chef, chef de cuisine and executive chef at other restaurants. In 2007, he made the move to Sun Valley, Idaho, as executive chef at Globus, with the goal to eventually open his own place.
He fulfilled that wish after just four years, opening Dashi, a modern Japanese restaurant, to much local acclaim. But after growing Dashi’s following over the next four years, he didn’t want his gastronomic quest to end there. Stokes wanted to try something different: modern American cuisine infused with flavors from around the world.
“We wanted to be in a much larger market for our future plans, and Salt Lake seemed like a perfect spot, as its food scene is up-and-coming,” says Stokes.
During his search for a Salt Lake location, he learned the former Lugano restaurant space was available. “I had worked at Lugano before going to Sun Valley, and I always loved the building.”
For Stokes, everything from Provisions’ décor to the menu is an iteration of his overall vision. He transformed the once-cozy neighborhood bistro into a contemporary, spacious invitation to a modern dining experience. “We are a casual fine dining restaurant and wanted an ambiance to reflect that. The color orange became our theme, with lot of bright white to keep it clean and classic,” says Stokes.
As for the selection, Stokes said his philosophy is to, “create delicious, healthy food using the best ingredients and cook it in small batches with love. We know that great food comes from great ingredients, so sourcing is a major part of our business. We use local farmers whenever possible, and we use all-natural, organic and sustainable meat, poultry and seafood. We also let the seasons guide our menu. To me that’s what modern American cooking is.”
As Stokes looks back over his nearly two decades of culinary artistry, he says, “Being a chef and having my own restaurant is a dream come true. I get to bring amazing food and experiences to people, unique in the style we present it. It can be demanding, but it’s worth it to do something you love.”