A full plate | SummitDaily.com

A full plate

DILLON – Two-year-old Brendan sits at the kitchen table in his parents’ Dillon Valley East condo, finishing his lemon-and-herb-encrusted chicken breast, complemented by homemade mashed potatoes. Tonight, he’ll have Dijon-mustard-and-honey-marinated pork chops, pink diced applesauce and steamed cauliflower and broccoli.

He’s not eating some newfangled gourmet Gerber’s toddler food – his dad is the executive chef at the Village at Breckenridge Resort.

Stephen Fuller manages the banquet kitchen at the Village and oversees Cafe Breck and the Breckenridge Cattle and Fish Company. In addition to preparing many of the dishes from scratch, he creates menus and manages the food budget. He has worked at restaurants since he was 18, learning from each, so he can start his own business in the culinary field one day. But his dreams are bigger than just one restaurant: He hopes to own a consulting firm to help other entrepreneurs open restaurants or to provide food products, such as fresh tortillas, to local restaurants and grocers.

Though Fuller cooks most of the meals in his household, if he went into the tortilla business, he would have to rely on his wife. She grew up in Mexico and makes the best tortillas.

“(Normally), I show him how to make something, and the rest of the time he does it better than I can,” she said.

But tortillas are one thing he can’t improve on. His tortillas dry out within hours, while hers stay fresh.

“There’s definitely a family tradition there that was passed down from her mother and grandmother of how to do them,” Fuller said.

The couple met in Keystone in 1999. Before he knew it, he was flying to Mexico for a two-week trip to meet her family. His main concern about meeting her family was the cultural differences. Fuller was born in Seoul, South Korea, and an American family adopted him when he was 6 months old. But his worries were unwarranted.

“They accepted me with open arms despite the cultural differences,” he said.

The following year, Fuller’s dad, who is a chaplin in the Navy, married the couple at Sapphire Point.

Now that they’ve been in Summit County for five years, they plan on raising their son in the small mountain community.

“From age 18 to 25, I lived in Sioux Falls, (S.D.,) with a population of 100,000 people, and I swore I’d never live in a place smaller than the Falls,” Fuller said. “I had culture shock after living in Chicago (as a kid). It’s ironic – there are probably 10,000 to 15,000 people here during the slow season. It might have come with age, but I really enjoy it here. My son changed that a lot. I’m looking forward to my son growing up in an atmosphere with a small-town feel. When he gets into the school system, he’ll have stability, lifelong friends.”

The couple’s most pressing goal is to buy a house in Dillon or Silverthorne, but the search has been difficult, Fuller said.

So in the meantime, they’re keeping their main goal in sight:

“We just want to enjoy life,” he said. “That’s why we live out here – to try to get away from the hustle and bustle of life – not to be in such a rush to go and go and go.”

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached by calling (970) 668-3998, ext. 245 or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

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