Chef’s Special: Joe Saladyga of Savoury Kitchen

PARK CITY, Utah – Massachusetts-born Chef Joe Saladyga, owner and founder of Savoury Kitchen Catering, like many of us, found himself in Park City serendipitously and never left. Saladyga graduated from Johnson and Wales culinary program and set his sights out west.

In the fall of 1999, Saladyga drove to Park City from his then temporary landing spot Breckinridge, Colorado to make good on a bet to buy his uncle a beer after the “Red Sox had an epic collapse against the Yankees.”

“[My Uncle and I] had lunch on the patio of Cafe Terigo in November, and I was freezing my butt off in Colorado,” Saladyga explained. “I’m like, ‘why wouldn’t I want to live in this paradise?’ So, I swung by Park City Mountain Resort, dropped off a resume, and got a phone call on my trip back to Breck. I said, ‘I’ll be back in a week.’ I packed my stuff up and came back this way, and the rest is history.”

For his first job in Park City, he started at the then-brand-new Legacy Lodge and Summit Smokehouse kitchens.

The Savoury Kitchen family uses as-local-as-possible ingredients for its craft like in this bison tenderloin entree..
The Savoury Kitchen family uses as-local-as-possible ingredients for its craft like in this bison tenderloin entree.

Before that, he was a kid on the east coast riding his bike to help clean his mom’s catering kitchen. His (paternal) grandmother’s pierogi recipe is a known favorite and even graces some of Savoury’s menus. His (maternal) great-grandmother ran an inn and fed people for a living. Saladyga’s love for the kitchen and food was perhaps inevitable and definitely inherited.

After time cooking on-mountain, he made the move to Main Street. Saladyga worked for Dynamite Dom’s (now The Mustang) through the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was during the Olympics that private chef and catering opportunities arose and gave him his first glimpse into the non-restaurant side of cooking.

After a seasonal stint in Torrey, Utah with Café Diablo near Capitol Reef National Park Saladyga returned to bang on Bill White’s door, which is how he ended up at Grappa filling in for the head chef where needed. Finally, Saladyga led the Windy Ridge kitchen until a split in 2004.

Along with a friend, Saladyga ran Iverson Catering from 2004 to 2009. Then, in July of 2009, Savoury Kitchen catering was born. Thirteen years later, it is still serving devoted locals and visitors.

Savoury Kitchen focuses strongly on sourcing as locally as possible and seasonal menus that support local agriculture. His favorite cuisines to cook reflect his heritage: Polish food and New England-style food. His ultimate guilty pleasure is a Philly Cheesesteak made with Kobe beef or beef tenderloin made by yours truly. His favorite way to cook for his clients is carte blanch seven-course meals or wine paired evenings to get creative. But really, he’ll make anything for his clients.

“I like a challenge,” he said. “I like when somebody asks for something totally random and wants to do a menu of a cuisine that I don’t normally cook or something I’ve never done. It’s always fun because that’s essentially what got me out of restaurants. I can do something different every day, meet different people every day…and you get an instant sense of gratification from the clients.”

This bright and fresh Winter Salad is an edible piece of art.
This bright and fresh Winter Salad is an edible piece of art.

Savoury Kitchen stands out beyond its legacy for great food. In 2019, Recycle Utah awarded Savoury Kitchen with the Green Business Award. It eliminated standard use of plastic water bottles, saved Jupiter Bowl’s walk-in freezer from sitting in the dump by retrofitting it to SK’s kitchen, reduced electricity use and carbon footprint in any way possible, and have on-site recycling. Electric company vehicles and using natural gas are being researched for future green initiatives.

Lastly, Saladyga thinks that being a part of the community is more than living here. “As well as being a green business, I also wanted to be active in the community. So, that’s another thing that we really focus on,” he said.

Savoury Kitchen donates time, money, and meals to over 25 Park City nonprofits and organizations, including but not limited to Mental Awareness Society, Christian Center, Park City Baseball, Devoted to Children Foundation (Haiti), and Volunteers of America Homeless Youth Resource Center.

This article was written for Dishing Park City by TownLift author Meredith Kluever.

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