Photograph by Paulette Phlipot

Cooking with Dates

Words by The BigLife Mighty Team 


Eric Wilson, Private Chef, Jackson, Wyoming


Eric Wilson spent several years traveling through Europe working as a chef and opening his own cafés in Denmark and Sweden. Ready to settle down, Wilson found himself in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He instantly fell in love with the big skies, bigger peaks, the rivers, and the world-class fishing. Once Wilson discovered Jackson’s dedicated food scene, he was sold. That afternoon, he walked into The Range, a restaurant in downtown Jackson featured in Gourmet and Bon Appetit, and a Wine Spectator award-winner, and asked the executive chef for a job.

A board member for Jackson Hole Food and Wine, Wilson has now been in Jackson for over a decade, moving on from The Range to chef positions at other esteemed valley restaurants and guest ranches until, eight years ago, he decided to become a private chef. Since then, life has been a whirlwind—he travels all over, often flying in helicopters and private jets. If he wasn’t so jazzed about this good fortune, it’d be easy to hate him.

Wilson, as founder of Foodterra, wows clients with his energy and the inspiration he draws from ingredients. Don’t ask him to plan a menu in advance, but set him loose at the weekly farmers’ market and ask him to have a dinner for eight ready that evening and he’s in heaven. He calls it free-style cookery, and clients love it once they learn to trust him.

Jackson Hole food producers, from the morel hunter to ranchers raising lamb, pork, and beef, and farmers growing as much as can grow in a valley with a three-month growing season have come to trust Wilson, too. They see his appreciation for their work and how he respects it in his food. On a recent assignment in Costa Rica, Wilson asked a young woman selling her father’s fish if he could rent her homemade grill. That led to more conversation and soon the father, a fisherman, was bringing the best of his daily catches to Wilson. Spiny lobster? Sure, he’ll work with that.

Wilson’s enthusiasm and spontaneity—in the kitchen and in meeting new people—is what ties the different elements of Foodscapes together. How many professional chefs do you know that are excited to cook and serve a meal in an uncontrolled, outdoor environment?


Date and Avocado Power Smoothie


Inspiration for this drink was based on a Brazilian avocado drink that was delicious but full of sugar. By using dried medjool dates we can replace refined sugar with a dried fruit that gives energy and is delicious with avocado. This quick, easy and delicious full-of-energy recipe is ideal for a morning or afternoon energy boost.

Servings: 2

You will need a VitaMix blender or another powerful blender model

8 cubes of ice

2 ripe medium size avocados

6 large medjool dates

2 cups of Califa almond coconut milk blend

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop fruit into a blender with the pitted dates. Pour almond coconut milk over the avocado and dates. Add ice cubes. Blend on high for 45 seconds to one minute. Pour into two glasses and get ready to burn rubber!