Just two miles outside Grand Teton National Park's boundary, the National Museum of Wildlife Art perches atop east Gros Ventre Butte, overlooking the expansive 25,000 acre Nation Elk Refuge. The museum attracts visitors drawn to its collection of over 5,000 works of wildlife art, unparalleled views of the refuge, and astonishing architecture. And as of May, you can add the decadent elk bolognese that Palate Executive Chef Clark Myers prepares to this already stacked lineup of attractions.
Local restaurant Gather expanded into this unusual and exciting location this summer with its new sister restaurant, Palate. Myers, who serves as executive chef for the Jackson Hole Hospitality Group—which includes Palate and Gather—aims to bring the quality people expect from Gather into the new concept, which will function as a lunch spot for museumgoers, as well as an event space equipped to host up to 550 people.
Myers enjoys reinterpreting classic favorites, saying, “I want to surprise people’s palates, get people to eat something that they wouldn’t normally try, and get them hooked so they come back and order it again.”
Menu items include game meats, local beef, and vegetables from farmers’ market, which Myers attends two or three times a week all summer long.
A cook since age 16, Myers’ love for national parks and backcountry snowboarding brought him to Jackson in 2006. His is a Cinderella story of sorts. He began as a line cook at Jenny Lake Lodge and worked his way up to executive chef. Jenny Lake Lodge’s menu still bears his influence with unique flavor combinations and the use of local meats, cheeses, and produce.
Seeking to snowboard, Myers soon began working at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s former mid-mountain restaurant, Couloir.
“I was working under a lineage of Jackson chefs pushing the boundaries of what the Jackson Hole culinary scene could be,” he says.
At Couloir, Myers met his current chef de cuisine and snowboard buddy, Chas Baki, who he fondly refers to as “Dad,” referencing Baki’s organized, calm nature. While working next to each other on the line, the two chefs constantly tested new flavor combinations and bounced ideas off each other, quickly realizing their culinary chemistry.
Both Myers and Baki have witnessed the valley’s culinary scene transform from “a burger and fry type place” to its current landscape of eclectic tastes and boundless variety. As chefs for Gather and Palate, they are committed to carrying on that tradition, pushing the envelope, and keeping things fresh.
Palate’s elk Bolognese, which features pappardelle pasta made in house, is an homage to Western culinary traditions with a twist. And it just might distract patrons from the National Wildlife Museum’s artwork—but only during lunchtime.