Nestled in the Tuckaseegee foothills is the veiled retreat of Bear Lake Reserve. It is always an experience to visit, and while half the fun is time spent with the community and staff, it is truly Chef Josh Sutton’s masterful recipes I crave as I make my way up the winding mountain roads.
Getting to know Josh and his cuisines over the past few years expanded my flavor palate more than I ever anticipated. Unsurprisingly, his love for food took hold at a young age. As a boy he would anxiously await the simplicity of his Grandmother’s home-cooked French Fries, tossed to perfection in her cast iron pan. Summers were spent fishing the Atlantic shores while learning the elegance of dusting Mahi with a touch of salt and pepper and letting the fresh catch do the rest.
Always feeling most like himself in the kitchen, Josh’s intriguing path to the culinary world is anchored by hard work and dedication. Like so many teenagers unsure of their long-term aspirations, he went on to college graduating with a degree in advertising and graphic design. Maintaining his cooking skills at local establishments on nights and weekends, it wasn’t long until he recognized he was more passionate about food than his day job.
Soon realizing the 9-5 life wasn’t for him, Josh was able to land some quality internships and work his way up the ladder. Dedicated now to his calling, he was eventually promoted to Sous Chef at The Sweet Onion Restaurant. Over the next 11 years Josh would be mentored by some of the most highly skilled chefs to pass through Waynesville, North Carolina. In 2016, with his confidence at its peak, Josh finally discovered an opportunity to run his own kitchen, finding his home at Bear Lake Reserve.
Drawing inspiration from the same cast iron pan his Grandmother used all those years before, Chef Josh is constantly inventing new dishes. Although he wouldn’t label The Lake Club at Bear Lake a “Farm to Table” kitchen, you can expect him to source as many local products as possible with the freshest possible ingredients.
His zest for quality is obvious through the artistic plates and powerful flavors he designs. Just sip his Brandied Yam Bisque playfully garnished Sweet Potato Crisps or let his Braised Lamb drizzled with Peppered Tomato Gravy melt in your mouth. Then listen as he describes those dishes with a romantic flare, making it all seem so effortless.
Chef Josh’s soft-spoken demeanor only adds to the diverse style of his delicacies. He and his Sous Chef Alice pride themselves on executing the large scale events Bear Lake often hosts, holding anything from Weddings to Mother’s Day dinners. Adding a bit of sweet to his savory Alice’s talents do not go unnoticed. With her amazing dessert stylings and decadent sugary treats, this powerful pair is reinventing dining at Bear Lake Reserve.
Whether you are up for a day trip, or plan to take a week off, traveling to Bear Lake Reserve and dining with Chef Josh Sutton will provide great insight into culinary expertise. The Lake Club team is molded by experience and perfected by the lasting warmth of a community.