Local award-winning chef is new executive chef at Hell’s Backbone Grill

BOULDER, Utah — Renowned restaurant Hell’s Backbone Grill, recently announced the arrival of Tamara Stanger as its new executive chef. An experienced and talented culinarian, Chef Stanger is a perfect fit to join the Hell’s Backbone Grill culinary team. Formally a chef at The Lakehouse at Deer Creek in Heber, her exceptional skills, passion for food, and innovative cuisine that incorporates locally-sourced ingredients, will provide a great asset to the restaurant team. Co-owners and founders, Jen Castle and Blake Spalding will remain as chefs de cuisine.

“Tamara’s arrival comes at the perfect time,” said Co-Owner and Founding Chef Blake Spalding, in a press release.  “As we take the restaurant to the next level. It’s been nearly a quarter of a century that we’ve been in deep service to our project. Now we have an opportunity to reimagine and implement a renewed vision that supports not only the health of our business but an ever-deepening commitment to culinary and hospitality excellence. We’re excited to have Tamara’s help, skill, and fresh eyes on our goal, which is for our business to be stronger, healthier, happier, and more joyful as we move out of the difficult pandemic years.”

Hell’s Backbone Grill is nestled in the scenic and remote area of Southern Utah, on the grounds of Boulder Mountain Lodge, in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Stanger’s background in the art of foraging and her goal of educating the public on sustainable desert agriculture make the move even more ideal.

“Working at Hell’s Backbone Farm & Grill is not me just taking a job,” said New Executive Chef Tamara Stanger in a press release. “I have to do this because I believe in it. Once I met Jen and Blake in person, I felt I had known them all my life. We have very similar cooking styles, and I love what they do. People come back here every year – for a reason. We will make Hell’s Backbone Farm & Grill more sustainable, give us all a great quality of life, and continue to serve world-class cuisine to the thousands of people who come each year.”

Amidst the lingering turbulence of the pandemic, Hell’s Backbone Grill placed a bold wager on community support via a GoFundMe campaign. To their amazement, the community showed up big, as they reached their $324,000 goal in mere hours, securing the beloved restaurant’s 24th season of operation.

“The GoFundMe donations and the simultaneous outpouring of love and encouragement from our community and guests gave us the determination and the literal means to address what had felt like an insurmountable mountain of problems,” explained Spalding in a press release. “We are completely awash in gratitude and joy that we have the ability to reopen for our 24th season.”

Prior to signing on with Hell’s Backbone, the award-winning chef opened a foraging and local foods concept restaurant at Deer Creek Reservoir called The Lakehouse. According to Panic Button Media, Stanger has not had involvement with the restaurant for some time now.

Reservations to dine at Hell’s Backbone Grill can be made here:


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