Photograph by Paulette Phlipot

Cooking with Dates

Words by The BigLife Mighty Team 


Eric Wilson, Private Chef, Jackson, Wyoming

Eric is a member of the advisory board for the Jackson Hole Food and Wine Festival ( Save the date for Jackson Hole Food & Wine Winter Fest March 8-10, 2018!

After several years of traveling through Europe working as a chef and opening his own cafes in Denmark and Sweden, Wilson was ready to settle down and 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 he found out there was a serious food scene, he was sold. That afternoon, Wilson 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.

Wilson has been in Jackson for over a decade now, 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 it’s been a whirlwind, he gets to go all over the place, fly in helicopters and private jets.  If he wasn’t so jazzed about this good fortune, it’d be easy to hate him.

Wilson 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 how he freaks out over 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 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 is a very easy and delicious recipe that will serve two people. This recipe is very quick energy full meal for the morning or afternoon as an 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

Super easy method!!

Cut avocados in half and remove pit. Place in 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 in glass and burn rubber!! Enjoy!