Chef Michael Gallivan moved to Jackson in 1976, the year that Snow King Resort opened in its present location. Today, he is the new chef at Hayden’s Post, bringing quality and local food sourcing back to its menu of campfire cuisine. Hayden’s Post has seen a lot of changes through the years, so we sat down with Gallivan to get to know the man behind the food.
Gallivan hails from New England, raised in a family of avid female cooks. “Every event had incredible food,” he said. There were relatives on both sides of his family who had ties to Wyoming. In 1976, the year Snow King was built, he moved to Jackson, living with his aunt and uncle on Karns Avenue.
In 1979, Gallivan graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. After working as an executive chef in a variety of resorts and golf clubs on the east coast and Florida, Gallivan moved his family to Jackson in 1991 to become the executive chef at Teton Pines. His wife, and three sons, had never been to Jackson. When they rolled into the town of Jackson that first evening, the Town Square was an idyllic scene of illuminated antler arches and softly falling snow. In those moments, Jackson is an easy sell. The active lifestyle stuck, and Gallivan’s three sons are now a pro skier, a pro flying fishing guide, and a physicist.
Before coming to Hayden’s Post, Gallivan took a few years off from the world of cooking. Now, he’s excited and enthusiastic to be back in it. He believes rustic, Rocky Mountain cuisine to be the heart and soul of Hayden’s Post. Now, he’d like to bring a consistent quality to these dishes that locals and tourists can count on to be delicious and of good value.
“Good food is universal,” Gallivan said. “There are good and bad hamburgers. We buy fresh chicken wings, not frozen, not flavored, completely fresh.”
Notably, Gallivan is dedicated to making as many items in-house as possible. This includes salad dressings, and sauces. We’re talking to a father who used to make his kid’s baby food from scratch. And, he wants only quality ingredients going into each component, as “you can’t make a final product out of something that doesn’t start from the right place.”
His favorite item on the new menu? The spicy chili lime chicken salad. Enjoy smoked jalapenos, fresh lime juice, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, griddled corn, three kinds of cabbage, marinated chicken, and a chili vinaigrette that is packed with complex flavors. This is only one of many new options adding fresh flare to the menu.