Food Scene: Palisade’s Wine Country Inn welcomes new chef |

Food Scene: Palisade’s Wine Country Inn welcomes new chef

Brittany Markert
Wine Country Inn's new chef Chris Foster is bringing homestyle dishes to the menu while adding his own flare.
Brittany Markert / | Free Press


WHAT: The Tapestry Lounge and Caroline’s restaurants in Wine Country Inn

WHEN: Daily

WHERE: 777 Grande River Road, Palisade

COST: $$


Editor’s note: If you’re part of Grand Valley’s burgeoning food scene and want to talk shop, email

The smell of fresh pork belly seasoned with rosemary and juniper, topped with a fresh peach compote, fills The Tapestry Lounge at Palisade’s Wine Country Inn (777 Grande River Dr.). The dish, among many others, is Chris Foster’s newest creation.

The 28-year-old chef took the helm at Wine Country Inn’s kitchen late last month and he has already crafted many new menu items with a farm-to-table focus.

“Every plate I put out, I act like I serve to my grandma,” Foster said, adding that it helps him stay motivated.

Foster’s dishes incorporate simple, home-style cooking with local produce, often from Blaine’s Tomatoes and Roan Creek Ranch.

“It’s awesome to have the ability to literally go five miles and get eggplants that are out of this world,” Foster said.

Cost for menu items, like entrees and desserts, is moderate, he noted, with prices ranging from $10-30. Don’t miss out the lounge’s quarter-pound prawn ($25), pork belly ($15) and Welcome to Palisade dessert ($10), featuring a grilled peach topped with Mascarpone gelato from Gelato Junction, finished with a macaroon and chocolate sauce.


According to Foster, he got his first taste for cooking from his family in Chicago. He then attended Chicago’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in 2007, where he hosted a cooking show called “What Cha Got Cookin’?”

“It mixed food and history,” he said. “It was fun figuring out the shenanigans of food — like who had to eat thousands of different mushrooms to find out which ones were poisonous or not.”

After visiting a friend in Snowmass, Foster decided to transplant to New Castle, Colo, in 2013. Now that he’s working at Wine Country Inn, however, he plans to move to Fruita.


Foster said he found early inspiration tending to his family’s vegetable garden, picking produce and eating it.

“That’s why my plates are simple,” he said. “It’s highlighting the garden-fresh flavors.”

When cooking at home, Foster also suggests that everyone “keep it simple.”

“Don’t over think it,” he explained. “Play flavors off each other and keep a balance.”

For example, his new pork-belly dish ­builds off savory flavors by highlighting it with sweetness from peaches.

“When you think about it, cavemen cooked, so it’s nothing new we are doing,” Foster said. “It’s just recycling it and putting it out in a different way.”

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