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July 9, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

When the announcement was recently made that national parks would promote more healthy foods in their various foodservice operations, the executive chef from the Yellowstone National Park operations of concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resortswas right there preparing dishes representative of healthy and sustainable park offerings.

At the recent event in Washington, D.C., Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, Let’s Move! Executive Director and White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition Sam Kass, and executives and chefs of major concessioners to announce that visitors will have additional choices for purchasing healthy, nutritious food at national parks FIS-250x250across the country.

Called the “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” initiative, Director Jarvis issued healthy food standards and sustainable food guidelines that will increase the number of menu items available at more than 250 food and beverage operations in national parks.

“We are fully behind this initiative, and we have actually been heading in this direction for a long time,” says Jim McCaleb, Vice President of Parks North and General Manager of Xanterra’s Yellowstone operations.

“We are looking forward to providing even more healthy and sustainably produced menu items as part of our new contract to continue managing concessions in Yellowstone.”

At the event, Stefan Larsson, executive chef for Yellowstone National Park Lodges, prepared dishes that reflected this new emphasis. Items served at the announcement banquet included strawberry rhubarb gazpacho, juniper smoked bison strip loin, lean turkey sloppy Joes and phyllo baked Montana goat cheese.

The new Yellowstone concessions operations contract was awarded to long-time concessioner Xanterra and means the company will manage foodservice and lodging operations for another 20 years starting in December of this year.

The new Standards and Guidelines and other healthy and sustainable food resources are available on the NPS web site

“When you look at our menus, you see that we have taken them beyond traditional favourites like cheeseburgers and fries, which we will continue to serve as long as people want them,” adds McCaleb. “We’ve also taken some of those favorites and added some healthier preparations. Our focus remains quality food that includes an appealing selection of traditional along with healthy and sustainable choices.”

Under Chef Larsson, items already being served in Yellowstone include blackened wild Alaska salmon, griddled lentil cakes, farm-raised trout and lean bison, to name just a few.

“Our guests have truly responded positively to the healthy items we have offered, and we expect that this trend will continue,” adds Mr. McCaleb.

“We are honoured to support these initiatives and the mission of the National Park Service to make our parks a showcase for healthy living in every way.”

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