12 questions for Julia Walter, Executive chef, River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant
Born and raised in Danville, a small town in central Kentucky, Julia Walter is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University’s School of Culinary Arts in Charlotte, South Carolina. Former chef de cuisine at Truckee’s Moody’s Bistro, Walter has presided over the kitchen at River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant since 2007.
What’s your earliest culinary memory?
I grew up watching my mother and grandmother cook Southern comfort food. I can remember being fascinated from a young age and just watching and asking questions for hours!
What brought you to Tahoe?
Originally, I moved here with a few of my friends from college. We came out to ski. I was in Tahoe City for four years and then decided to go to culinary school. After a few years on the East Coast, I moved back with my husband, Etienne.
How would you categorize River Ranch’s food?
Creative and comforting California cuisine—our menu appeals to a broad range of people. We have a new, extensive café menu as well. A lot of times you will find a bit of my Southern flair in our nightly specials.
What inspires your menus?
The seasons in many ways—both seasonal ingredients and our customers’ appetites, which vary from winter to summer.
Citrus of any kind—oranges, lemons, limes—and any hot chili pepper. How do you source ingredients? I do a lot of shopping around to find local and seasonal produce whenever possible. Most of our fish comes from Kanaloa Seafood.
What’s in your home fridge right now?
Lots of cheese, butter, milk and leftovers. I actually do a lot of cooking at home on my nights off.
Might we see you at one of the local farmers markets again this summer?
I will definitely be in Tahoe City this summer on Thursday mornings, shopping, talking with local farmers and planning my Thursday night farmers market specials. You may also find me at the Truckee market on Tuesdays.
Do you get out to the patio for a burger and beer?
Not as often as I would like!
Have you floated the Truckee to River Ranch?
Lots of times, but only once since I’ve been the chef at the River Ranch.
Favorite Tahoe activity?
Summer is my favorite season so I enjoy hiking, biking and just being outdoors.
Top Tahoe spot?
The beautiful beaches on Tahoe’s East Shore. By Susan D. Rock. TQ
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