Chef John Murcko has done more to elevate dining in Utah than anyone since Bill White started opening restaurants. His restaurants, at Talisker and Canyons Resort, have earned awards, honors, recognition and Murcko has shared in the glory.
Last year he was a semi-finalist for a prestigious James Beard award.
So it was a shock when Chief Marketing Officer Linda Warren called me to day to tell me that Murcko is leaving Talisker/Canyons –and Utah–for Sun Valley, Idaho.
I haven't talked to the man himself, but Warren gave a reason for his departure. "He's a creator," she said. "He loves to begin things, not maintain them."
That's probably true. Ever since he came out of the private club closet and started cooking for the public again at Talisker on Main, he has been on a creative roll. He's opened more than two dozen restaurants at Canyons, from the plaza's food carts to the Farm, his signature fine dining restaurant based on local food.
It's Murcko's utter attention to the details of food, flow and ambiance that make his restaurants successful. For his latest endeavor, restoring the Waldorf Astoria's brand of cachet to the restaurant of the hotel managed by Canyons, he read years of menus from the original New York property stored by the New York Library.
Murcko will be leaving that project unfinished.
Meanwhile, his successor will be Zeke Wray, who's been working with Murcko for several years and last year opened Bistro, the first and only kosher restaurant at a ski resort.
I'm eager to hear what Murcko has to say about his future–I haven't talked to the man himself. He's busy putting together Canyons' mammoth Fourth of July celebration. But expect to read an exit interview here after the holiday.