Twenty-five years ago, Lisa Cilva Ward and Jeff Ward were waiting tables at Deer Valley's Stein Eriksen Lodge. Today, they own the Silver Star Café, a restaurant the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" with chef Guy Fieri chose to feature in an episode set to air in two or three months.
Lisa Ward said they received a call during the Sundance Film Festival to let them know they were a candidate for the show, and they exchanged phone interviews and recipe information with the producers for about a week.
"They had quite a process to verify that our dishes were made from scratch, so they wanted to know what food we used and what the process was," Ward said. "One of the first questions they asked was, 'Do you make at least 80 percent of your food from scratch?' and if we had said no, that would have been a deal breaker."
The intimate restaurant takes "comfort food" and makes it lighter, healthier and more current, according to Jeff Ward. Guy Fieri and the senior producer of the show decided on three of those recipes: the Pork Osso Bucco, Vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff and Crispy Pork Belly appetizer.
Jeff Ward said the Pork Osso Bucco is a braised pork shank served in a Southwestern-style tomatillo sauce over chipotle grits and topped with a garnish of cilantro and queso fresco.
"We use a Neiman Ranch pork shank," he said. "Neiman Ranch is a producer of free-range natural meats with no hormones or antibiotics."
Lisa Ward said the Vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff is a house-made spoetzl topped with a mixture of wild and domestic mushrooms in a hearty brown sauce with sour cream to finish it off.
"The mushrooms are so meaty that it almost mimics the beef the dish would normally include," she said. "You can include a grilled steak on top of that if you want to, but most people don't since it doesn't really need it."
The Crispy Pork Belly appetizer is "a play on pork and beans." Jeff Ward said they render some of the fat from the pork belly and then braise it for several hours. It cools and is then portioned and quickly skewer fried. It is served over a sauté of white beans with caramelized apple and topped with Carolina-style BBQ sauce that is "mustardy and vinegary."
"Chef Dave really likes pork belly, so we took what is sort of a trendy menu item right now and did something a little different with it," Jeff Ward said.
Guy Fieri and his team showed up at the Silver Star Café and went through every single step of the recipes for the items they chose to feature. Fieri ended his trip with the traditional "tagging" of the restaurant.
"I said there was no way they were painting on my walls," Lisa Ward said, laughing. "So I handed them this canvas I had and they tagged it. Then we framed it and hung it on the wall."
She and her husband are not only proud that their restaurant, only four years old, was featured on the show, but that the show making its way to Park City reflects what the Wards said is an outstanding restaurant community.
"This is the first time this program has ever come to Park City," Lisa Ward said. "I think that says a lot about the restaurant offerings in town and will bring in a new level of tourism."