Curry, Fine Wine, Dining at 11,000'
People Behind the Resort: How Fred Barbier Elevates High-Elevation Ski Resort Dining
Barbier completed the equivalent of a Master's degree in restaurant, catering and hotel management in France before moving to the United States. And he began his Snowbird career at The Aerie as the general manager 11 years ago. Aside from the excellent cuisine, Snowbird’s flagship restaurant still holds a special place for him: It’s where the wine is. Said another way, here, he built one of Utah’s most impressive wine collections.
When Barbier began work at The Aerie, there were 50 wines available for bottle service or by the glass. Now, there are 1,200 selections on hand. “You might say I have a passion for wine,” he says with a laugh.
With full creative control, Barbier grew the collection by leaps and bounds, covering myriad varietals, countries and regions, and more recently, an impressive vintage depth. There are so many choice wines that each one is numbered and the collection sprawls across three wine cellars at The Aerie, plus a master cellar at Snowbird Center. The wine menu must be updated daily to ensure availability.
"Wine pairing is an abstract art"
“In our business, people come to a restaurant to have a good time and to eat good food — that’s a given — so it’s really about trying to offer them something truly special,” Barbier says. “The ambiance, the food, the wine — it all helps them have a remarkable and memorable family experience.”
As patrons settle in for the modern gastropub cuisine tonight, Barbier helps educate them in pairing a libation to drink with the bbq whiskey-braised pork shank, grilled beef tenderloin, pan-seared trout, and the like.
“Wine pairing is an abstract art,” Barbier says, “because there will be lots of wines that can complement a particular dish.”
“So our staff encourages guests to try something new, something different,” Barbier continues. “That’s when our guests will learn, and be delighted. And this is what makes for an amazing experience at the dinner table.”
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