January is when things get busy in Sundance, Utah: the prodigious snowfalls mark the beginning of the real ski season, and with the annual Sundance Film Festival, Hollywood descends in droves on this small resort village. Not coincidentally, it's also the month that Jason Knibb, the resort's talented executive chef, refers to as Power Breakfast Time.
The skiers and moviegoers don't overlap much, except in the morning. "Everyone shows up for breakfast," says Knibb, noting that they all order big meals to keep up their energy through the long days of, alternatively, runs down Mount Timpanogos or back-to-back screenings of independently produced movies. "You can tell the film festival crowd just by what they ordera lot more tofu," he adds. "And of course they're wearing a lot more black."
Knibb, 32, knows Hollywood. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, he grew up in southern California, which is where he started working in restaurantsfirst busing tables, then graduating to the kitchen when someone got hurt and eventually getting fired for taking a few days off to surf in a competition in Mexico. But having found his métier, he went on to work with such celebrated chefs as Wolfgang Puck and Roy Yamaguchi. He traded in his surfboard for a snowboard when he moved to Sundance in 1998 to become sous chef under Trey Foshee (an F&W Best New Chef that year). When Foshee left, Knibb took over.