Featured Chef

Saddle Creek Resort’s Chef Elizabeth Kalio

Excerpt from August 13, 10:10 PM | Sacramento Day Trips Examiner | LJ Bottjer

Photo courtesy Saddle Creek Resort, Copperopolis, California

Photo courtesy Saddle Creek Resort, Copperopolis, California


Whether you live in in the vicinity of Copperopolis’ Saddle Creek Golf Resort, attend an on-site retreat or just drove down to play a round where Golf Magazine once heralded it as a member of California’s top ten best public access courses one fact remains certain.

Sooner of later – the pangs of hunger will ring out.

Answer them at the resort’s Copper Grille where Head Chef Elizabeth Kallio sits at the helm.

A Michigan native her culinary training began young.

It was her mother’s Midwestern family that always cooked from the bounty of nature. Her initial foray into cooking began young in a household where cookies were baked, not purchased and vegetables were grown fresh and canned.

Kallio additionally learned the craft of food preparation by helping her mother with her cake making business – although it was not always edible foodstuffs were pushed through the Wilton decorating tips. There was a one-time episode with Play Doh.

Another slight disaster occurred when a forgotten pan of popcorn erupted into fire causing kitchen remodeling.

The incident taught her a lesson – accidents happen and not to sweat the small stuff.

By the age of twelve Kallio was planning and executing large parties.Her teenage years were spent with her father, mostly in Asia. Here she was introduced to fresh and fragrant seasonings such as ginger, garlic and basil.

Encouraged to eat the unfamiliar – she became a true “foodie” be delving into eating from street food vendors while sampling wines from around the world

Despite food being an important component of her life Kallio chose to become a social worker. Over time the lure of of her first love grew resulting in her sudden departure from he job and rapid enrollment into culinary school.

During her time at the Culinary Institute of Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills the young chef always sought to stretch her skills and talents. The challenging of oneself is something she urges other fellow food professionals to do. Her perseverance paid off as within a short period of time she was selected to serve as the personal chef to current Michigan Governor Jennifer Granola and her family.

Claiming the Executive kitchen as the coolest kitchen she had ever seen thanks, in part, to the diversity of Michigan made Kitchen Aide utensils and appliances, she was delighted how the First Family’s casual approach to food matched her own sentiments.

Just over a year into her reign over the Copper Grille’ kitchen Kallio finds constant delight in the vast array of fresh produce, nuts and wine which come from the Central Valley and other parts of California.

Her inspiration is reflected in the simple menus of the lunch and dinner offerings.

Baby spinach is served with sliced strawberries, asparagus and fresh goat cheese while sprinkled candied walnuts are served atop a caramelized shallot vinaigrette.

For dinner a lamb duo of chops and sausage are highlighted by a savory potato feta croquette while baby squash and snap peas receive the spark of tangy mint.

No matter if the meal is a quick snack or an epicurean delight of multiple courses Chef Elizabeth Kallio wants the food to provide an ace like the beauty of the nearby golf course.

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