OGDEN -- Tyler Ehlert remembers sitting at the kitchen table watching his grandma peel fresh apples for the crisp she would soon put into the oven.
The smell and flavor of those moments imprinted on him a need to share the appreciation of fresh food.
And that's exactly what he plans to do.
Ehlert is McKay-Dee Hospital and Mountain View Cafe and Grille's new executive chef, and he plans to serve up fresh foods made from scratch, because, he said, that's what his customers deserve.
"I plan on refocusing our kitchen on fresh ingredients and scratch-cooking," he said. "That requires a lot of time with the cooks to get back to the basics. Homemade stocks for gravies and soups, fresh-cut veggies, and salad dressings made from scratch. Flavors are better and meals are healthier.
"Our patients, physicians and staff deserve no less."
In addition, breakfast cereals, including hot cereal made with flax, wheat berry and steel-cut oats will be offered, as well as lighter sauces, vinaigrettes and fresh vegetables instead of frozen.
Fine food is nothing new to Ehlert. Not only was his grandmother an exceptional cook, his mother attended school at the Escoffier and Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Aside from her influence, Ehlert said, growing up around wonderful home bakers and cooks made becoming a chef a natural goal.
"I started college with the intent of becoming an English teacher," he said. "Two years into that process, I decided to switch gears and went to culinary school in Vancouver, B.C., instead. It was a great choice."
Ehlert was born in Provo but was raised in Canada. He has worked as a chef in Washington, Salt Lake City, Lehi and Hawaii, where he trained and learned aspects of Pacific Rim cuisine and learned the importance of cooking with fresh ingredients.
"Fresh ingredients are the core of good food. If you close your eyes and remember the food that makes you smile with the memory, it is most often those fresh ingredients that made all the difference," he said.
Ehlert and his wife, Devon, an emergency room nurse, are the parents of four children -- two boys and twin girls.
Ehlert said continuing to educate the public about healthy eating habits is important to him, but equally important is showing how much fun it can be.
"So many in our fast-food culture have lost the desire and ability to cook at home," he said. "I would like to help inspire and teach people to take that time in their own kitchen, sharing, spending time together and eating to live well."
Ehlert also said he is open to suggestions.
"While I am very proud of what I do and already proud of my crew here, I know there is always room for improvement," he said.
"If you have issues, suggestions or just want to talk food, I will find time for you."
Southern Alberta Apple Crumble
* 6 cups firm tart apples (Fuji, honey crisp). Peeled, cored and cut into sections 1" sections.
* Juice of 1/2 lemon
* 2 tsp. lemon zest
* 4 tbsp. white granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
* Pinch of salt
* 8 tbsp. cold butter pieces
* 1/3 cup old fashioned oats. (Not minute or quick oats).
* 1/3 cup pecans.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter or grease 9" pie dish.
2. Place all the topping ingredients in a food processor or crumble by hand using rolling pin or two knives. Mixture should be course, but with no pieces of butter showing. Set aside.
3. For filling, toss apples with lemon zest, juice and sugar. Transfer to baking dish. Top evenly in order to cover and bake for 25-30 minutes or until juices bubble and the topping starts to turn golden. Apples should not be mushy.
4. Serve warm with choice of whip cream, vanilla ice cream or clotted cream (if you're a bit old school).