Saketumi chef Kyle Bartholomew

Photo by John F. Russell

Saketumi chef Kyle Bartholomew

Dishing up raw talent

Cooking with Saketumi

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Kyle Bartholomew has found a home at Saketumi, where his red snapper with tomato-green bean relish, orange wedges, mustard mashed potatoes, orange-pineapple sauce, truffle oils and basil oil has become a favorite.

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Kyle Bartholomew puts the finishing touches on his red-snapper dish inside the Saketumi kitchen.

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Red snapper is the centerpiece of this dish, which embodies many of Bartholomew's tastes.

Like a sports franchise building for the future, Saketumi has decided to go young.

After going through a few head chefs in the restaurant and sushi bar's first couple of years, owner Kier Delaney decided to invest in young employees rather than bring in expensive veteran cooks who tend to be "old, stuffy and set in their ways."

The result: executive chef Kyle Bartholomew, 24, and head sushi chef Crystal Zieu, 22.

Delaney said it is refreshing to have employees who are motivated and not afraid to do things outside the box.

"We do a lot of things far from tradition," Delaney said. "There's challenges with young people, but it's better than it was."

Bartholomew has found an ideal restaurant in which to lead his first kitchen. On any given night, Saketumi's small kitchen is staffed with only three people: two cooks and a dishwasher. While a small staff is undoubtedly easier to manage, Bartholomew said his kitchen is by no means exempt from the personality clashes found in any restaurant.

"Sometimes I feel like I need a psychology degree, too, dealing

with all the weirdness around here," he joked.

But Bartholomew admits it's a small price to pay to do what he loves for a living.

"There's endless advancement," Bartholomew said. "There's no plateau where you stop getting better as long as you want to get better. There's no end to what can be done. What could be better? You learn something every day."

Since placing his bets on Bartholomew, Delaney has done his part to foster the advancement the young chef craves. Specifically, Delaney challenged Bartholomew to write a menu that would bring people to Saketumi as much for its entrees as for its popular sushi bar.

"I asked him to come up with something that we could be proud of coming out of the kitchen," Delaney said. "It's taken three years to make that happen."

Bartholomew responded with three new dishes for the 2007-08 ski season. For At Home, he prepared the one he said has been the most well-received - a red snapper with tomato-green bean relish, orange wedges, mustard mashed potatoes, orange-pineapple sauce, truffle oil and basil oil. The dish embodies many of Bartholomew's tastes.

"I like bright colors," Bartholomew said. "I don't like to bog things down. I don't use a lot of creams. : And I despise fried food. It all tastes the same to me."

Bartholomew is not one for pre-game rituals before arriving at Saketumi every night, but he does like to hit the steam room at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel to make sure his head is clear. And at the end of the day, the only thing Bartholomew obsesses about is doing better the next day.

"It's never good enough," Delaney said. "I love that about Kyle."

Comments

BoatMaster 6 years, 6 months ago

It is next to Slopeside Grill, Mountainside.

Great Place !!!!

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rsssco 6 years, 6 months ago

Nothing says quality sushi like a kid wearing a baseball hat backwards.

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Brian Smith 6 years, 6 months ago

rsssco,

I eat sushi all over the country, and have had good and bad, we are LUCKY to have such a good sushi place in our small community. Don't judge the book by its cover.

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rsssco 6 years, 6 months ago

mTn, I have as well and Saketumi is mediocre at best. I'm glad they're here--but it ain't all that good. And sometimes the cover does indeed tell about the book.

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Brian Smith 6 years, 6 months ago

rsssco,

I agree it is not the best that I have had, but if you consider that they are in a small town in the middle of the mountains, not bad (Better than the other options in town for sure). Saketumi, is Asian food with a twist, so no point in ragging on them because someone wears his hat backwards. Does it matter what the cook/Chef looks like?

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elk2 6 years, 6 months ago

Kyle, the Flaugh's from Pagosa are proud of you!!!

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