Our Chef

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Timberline Lodge Executive Chef Jason Stoller Smith is a self-made professional. Rather than attend European styled cooking schools, he pulled himself up by the proverbial bootstraps, starting his cooking career at the young age of 16 and immersing himself in commercial kitchens throughout the Pacific Northwest.

timberline chef jason stoller smithWith the intent of beginning his culinary education at a cooking school in Washington, Jason started working at Budd Bay Cafe in 1996, a popular seafood restaurant, in Olympia. After working there for a few short months, his strong work ethic and excellent culinary skills were immediately recognized by the Cafe’s owners and he was offered his first executive chef position. He decided to forgo cooking school so he could seize this incredible opportunity.

With 2 years of solid experience under his belt, he headed to Oregon’s National Historic Landmark Timberline Lodge, where he saw an opportunity to pursue his passion for true seasonal food preparation and cooking. Within his first year, he rose to the rank of Executive Sous Chef.

After 4 years under the tutelage of Timberline’s then chef, Leif Eric Benson, Jason left to become a partner in the Dundee Bistro with Oregon wine pioneers Dick and Nancy Ponzi. While there, he earned a reputation as one of the premier Northwest chefs and directed the culinary program of what became Oregon’s signature wine country restaurant. In 2004, Jason was invited to cook at the James Beard Centennial Dinner in New York City. In 2005, the Oregon Restaurant Association awarded him a scholarship to study food and wine pairing at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. He went on to represent the State of Oregon for several culinary tours in California, and was appointed as board member at the International Pinot Noir Celebration.

He continues to be a featured chef at this world class wine and food event where he is known for his traditional Native American style salmon bake. Perhaps the ultimate compliment to his talents and hard work came in the summer of 2010 when he was invited to the White House. He was asked to represent the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest for a Congressional Picnic personally hosted by President and Mrs. Barack Obama for 2000 guests and members of the United States Congress.

Jason’s career came full circle in 2010 when he returned to Timberline Lodge as Executive Chef upon the retirement of Chef Benson. Today Jason oversees all the culinary efforts at Timberline’s various food outlets as well as the conference center and the Lodge’s famous Cascade Dining Room. At Timberline’s high quality, high volume setting, Chef Jason Stoller Smith has hit his stride and stepped it up even a notch further. His close ties with and support of Oregon farmers, ranchers, vintners, and fishermen continues to nurture his reputation for utilizing locally grown sustainable food products, as well as propel Timberline’s popularity and the northwest’s growing national notoriety for fresh, farm-to-table cuisine.

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