Food & Beverage: Hooked on Skytop

Out of the stream and into the frying pan.

Nature takes center stage at the Skytop Lodge, a 1920s-era Poconos mountain resort located in Skytop, PA, so it is fitting that it recently arranged a F&B event for a group that included grabbing fishing poles and catching their own trout. What a way to activate a group's atavistic circle-of-life vibe.

"What's more exciting than catching your own dinner?" asks Executive Chef Stevan Sundberg. "Plus, freshly caught trout is a welcome reprieve from the rubber chicken meals that are all too commonplace at group functions."

Trout abound in the six miles of lakes and streams that are part of Skytop. The group gathered in the resort's fishing and shooting center where they were outfitted with a fly rod, a Pennsylvania fishing license, a stream permit, and a trout stamp. The group then proceeded to the resort's private trout stream that teems with freshly stocked trout, accompanied by a private guide who helped the group fly-fish.

After catching "the big one," the group was welcomed into the kitchen of this Dutch Colonial-style manor house to help prepare the trout with Chef Sundberg.

This historic lodge sits on 5,500 pristine acres with wooded mountain slopes in their native wild state, a 75-acre lake, waterfalls, over 30 miles of hiking trails, and an 18-hole golf course where a quietly grazing deer is a common site. The lodge has 125 standard rooms or mini-suites; 10 four-bedroom cottages; and a 20-room luxury inn that sits on the golf course.

Chef Sundberg was introduced to the world of cooking at an early age growing up in Brooklyn with a Swedish father and a Greek mother. He attributes his decision to become a chef to being raised surrounded by cultural diversity and the tapestry of rich foods that come with it. Sundberg's love of different cultures continues to influence the course of his life.

He studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales and graduated in 1982. He has been executive chef at Skytop since 1985 and plays the role of teacher and coach to the 60 employees he manages. On a typical day at Skytop, Sundberg coordinates three meals a day for up to 500 guests—as he has done every day for the last 17 years.

When it's time to get down to business, Skytop features 17 meeting rooms, a 4,200-square-foot ballroom, and many executive suites. Its executive conference center has 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

Originally published June 1, 2009

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