During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them to you so you can learn a little more about what makes them howl in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.  

Amie Soltis is the Pastry Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. Soltis has created several signature items since joining the culinary team at the resort in 2008.

With 12 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Soltis passion for food began when she first baked for family and friends as a young girl.

I had the chance to talk to Amie about her passion for Great Wolf Lodge and baking picture perfect sweets.

Great Wolf Lodge - Do you have a recipe or culinary creation that you created just for Great Wolf Lodge?

Chef Amie - I have created several “signature items”. We try to incorporate our signature wolf paw into many of the treats for Bear Paw, my favorite is the Chocolate Peanut Butter Paws. (Editor’s note: Be sure to check out her favorite recipe at the bottom!)

GWL - What other treats have you created for the guests at Great Wolf Lodge?

Chef Amie – I love sweet treats. Our Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake on a stick, Homemade Paw-shaped Marshmallows, Wolfie Pies, and Paw Berries are just a few of the treats we make daily.

GWL - What makes being a chef at Great Wolf Lodge so special?

Chef Amie - I feel lucky to have the position I do at Great Wolf Lodge. It is my job to add "the cherry on top" to our guests' experience. My team and I create special moments for our guests on a daily basis through our delicious homemade treats, and custom birthday surprises. It is awesome to walk out to the Bear Paw and hear a child say, "Wow, look at the size of that Rice Krispie treat!" or "Oh my gosh -  cheesecake on a stick!" It immediately brings a smile to my face, because I know I have done my job.

Great Wolf Lodge Chocolate Peanut Butter Paws

(Yield: 8 “paws” or 1- 9x13 pan)

Ingredients:

1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
6 cups Crisped Rice Cereal
1 12oz bag Milk Chocolate Chips

Instructions:

  1. Mix corn syrup and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil for 1 minute ONLY
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth
  4. Add mixture to crisped rice and stir until evenly coated.
  5. Scoop mixture into paw shaped cookie cutter and flatten
  6. Melt chips in the microwave on low heat or over a double boiler
  7. Spoon paw details on each with the chocolate and allow to cool.

You can also press this mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan and drizzle with melted milk chocolate. Enjoy!

 

During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them to you so you can learn a little more about what makes them howl in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.

Nick Baker is the Executive Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. Chef Baker brought his “fresh” ideas to the resort in 2011.
 
Managing the Food and Beverage team in Grapevine keeps Chef Nick very busy, but he was happy to share his passion for cooking with us.

Great Wolf Lodge - What is your all-time favorite food?

Chef Nick – My favorite all time food is seafood at its peak of freshness. I am extremely passionate about food. In my perfect world, I would have access to all the freshest ingredients possible so that I could create simple dishes that capture the essence of each item at its peak of freshness.

GWL - Do you have a favorite recipe or culinary treat that you have created just for Great Wolf Lodge guests?

Chef Nick - Our veal meatloaf with amber beer onion demi glaze rocks!

GWL - What makes a meal at Great Wolf Lodge different from other places?

Chef Nick - There is such a variety of foods to choose from at all levels. We really do have something for everyone.

GWL - What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Nick – I love watching the smiles and hearing the conversations while our guests are enjoying my food. Everyone always has a smile on their face whether it’s the guests or the employees. It’s obvious they are all happy to be here.

GWL - What advice do you offer to someone who wants to become a chef?

Chef Nick – My advice is to cook with passion. Whether it's boiling potatoes or creating an elaborate plate presentation, always take pride in what you're doing.

GWL - What is your favorite summer ingredient?

Chef Nick - Being from Texas, of course beef is at the top of my list for summer grilling!  Here’s a delicious way that I like to prepare beef on the grill:

  • Start with a Coulotte Steak. It is a versatile cut that can be easily grilled or roasted whole and carved.
  • Season it with roasted garlic, kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper and a good Spanish paprika. 
  • The beef will be very similar to brisket but can be cooked medium to medium rare.
  • Slice the beef thin and serve on a toasted baguette with chilled horseradish sauce. 
  • Add some skewered grilled seasonal vegetables and your favorite beverage. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them so you can learn a little more about what makes them “howl” in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse CityMeet Chef Thom Bennett. Chef Thom has served as the Dining Room Manager and Sous Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City since 2009.
 
Every day, Chef Thom uses best practices he has learned during his 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry to inspire his staff as they keep Great Wolf Lodge guests top of mind. Chef Thom recently told me a little about himself and shared a recipe favorite.
 

GWL - What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Thom - The art of it. I love to help bring out the creative side of young culinary people.

Great Wolf Lodge - What is your all-time favorite food?

Chef Thom - There are too many to list. Cajun food, Southern cooking, Italian, French. I really like Middle Eastern food, too.

GWL - Do you have a favorite recipe or culinary treat you created just for Great Wolf Lodge?

Chef Thom - My two favorites are Wolf Berries and “Blueberries on a Stick” that are dipped in chocolate.

GWL - What makes a meal at Great Wolf Lodge different from other places?

Chef Thom - Kids. It's fun to be here. There is always something happening for the kids.

GWL - What makes being a chef at Great Wolf Lodge so special?

Chef Thom - I like my work and the staff. They are talented and good people. Every day is different and that keeps my work interesting.

 

Chocolate Fondue

 

This is yummy and simple! Take dessert favorites like Rice Krispy treats, marshmallows, or cream puffs and dip into smooth, rich chocolate. Yum! Fruit such as strawberries, bananas, blueberries and pineapple are also great foods to dip. Love pastry? Use pieces of pound cake or even brownies. 

This recipe makes 1 ½ cups of ganache. (Ganache is a classic French preparation.) 

Ingredients:

12 ounces chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Optional - 3 tablespoons flavored liqueur

Instructions:

Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Microwave until it melts and pour in a bowl for dipping.

Tips for success:

  • Don’t serve the chocolate too hot. Chocolate will burn if left too long in a microwave – and you don’t want to burn your mouth!
  • Add flavor to your chocolate: almond, peppermint, or orange liqueur are a nice flair for this dessert.
  • Arrange the pieces for dipping around a platter and place the bowl of chocolate in the center. Use fondue forks for dipping.  Enjoy!

 

Sandusky, OH Scooops Kid SpaThis week, we celebrated the grand opening of Scooops, the ice cream themed spa at the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, OH. Not only is this a one-of-a-kind spa for the region, it is also the final one to be added to the Great Wolf Lodge resort family. Now guests can visit each of our resort locations and experience this sweet treat.

Once the Neapolitan ribbon was cut by General Manager, Sara Wysong Miller and Violet the Wolf on Tuesday, the first guests who started down the pink carpet were faced with a tough decision - choosing between chocolate, vanilla and strawberry scented scrubsand fizz balls for their service. All of the products smelled sweet and tempting!  Our first visitors to the spa, wrapped in signature pink plush robes, were treated to flavored manicures and pedicures while others went directly for glitter tattoos. Their experience was topped off with a Scooops tiara and unique bag of treats – and of course, ice cream!

Sandusky, OH General Manager and Violet

Scooops Kid Spa – spelled with three “o’s” to represent the popular ice cream flavors of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla – can accommodate six pedicures and six manicures at one time. The spa, which features over 500 square feet of spa and retail space, also specializes in birthday celebrations and “Mommy and Me” packages designed to “scooop” loads of fun and create special memories. 

The addition of Scooops Kid Spa is just one part of an extensive $2 million renovation the Great Wolf Lodge has undertaken this spring. With brand new bedding, curtains, carpet and upgraded in-room appliances in every room, the guest experience at the resort has never been better. Additional improvements include new chairs in the waterpark, and new carpet throughout the resort.  Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky is definitely ready for summer! 

As we opened Scooops this week, we began to wonder - what does our  favorite ice cream flavor say about us?  Scooops has the answer!  Visit our online Flavor-ator at www.greatwolf.com/scooopskidspa.  Is the Flavor-ator right? Or do you think you’re a combination of two flavors? Tell us what your favorite flavor is - and book your daughter’s appointment at Scooops today! 

 

New to Scooops? Check out our Scooops Kid Spa video.

 

 

Soothing music and a light waterfall. The smell of eucalyptus and mint in the air.  Plush seating surrounded by cool granite tile fixtures. Warm tea with a soothing herbal infusion of licorice root and peppermint.

These are all sensations not typically associated with indoor waterparks and family-focused resorts. At Great Wolf Lodge, however, they are a part of the guest experience. Tucked away from the thrills and excitement in each Great Wolf Lodge resort, guests can visit Elements Spa – a quiet escape to relax and rejuvenate from all the stresses of daily life.

If you have visited the Elements Spa location at during a Great Wolf Lodge getaway, or if you have not yet had the relaxing experience, the adult-only oasis has enhanced its services with new product lines and experiences. When I heard about these additions, I was ready to jump in the car and head to the spa myself!  

At each Elements Spa, we’re excited to now feature bareMinerals® Skincare and makeup. The product line from Bare Escentuals offers a unique mix of cosmetics that combine skin care with makeup that helps us enhance our best features. bareMinerals has been a spa favorite for many years, and we are thrilled to now offer its wide array of products to our guests.  

Elements Spa has also added Eminence Organic Skin Care to its locations. The complete line of Hungarian beauty essentials use healthy ingredients, including organically grown herbs, fruits and vegetables. With facial peels infused with natural acids from yams, pineapples and papayas and massage oils made using mimosa champagne massage oil, the combination of flavors will leave skin glowing and your taste buds tingling.

By using sustainable farming and green practices such as wind and solar power energy, Eminence offers products that are in line with our Project Green Wolf efforts. As a leader in quality organic skin care, Eminence products help make the Elements Spa experience as good for your body as it is for your spirit.  

I hope you are as excited as I am to visit Elements Spa. After taking in the waterpark thrills together as a family, a quiet escape to the Spa is the perfect way to get a little bit of “me time” while on vacation. There’s so much to choose from: an Eminence Organic Indulgence Facial, Body Treatment, Manicure or Pedicure and each Lodge often features their own special packages.

Want to guarantee you have this time during your next Great Wolf Lodge stay? Book your treatment before your arrive!

Project Green WolfWith the four year anniversary of Project Green Wolf approaching, all of us at Great Wolf Lodge continue to celebrate the distinction as the first national hotel chain to have all properties achieve Green Seal™ Certification – Silver.

Project Green Wolf at Pocono Mountains Great Wolf Lodge

I can remember the first year we celebrated this momentous occasion at the resorts. Each lodge planted their own tree in front of the lodge. It was also during this Earth Day celebration that Wiley the Wolf was introduced in his new Project Green Wolf gear. With his help, the all the lodges have maintained their standard of environmental sustainability while not compromising the guest experience.

In 2007, Great Wolf Resorts started reducing energy and water usage across its properties as part of the Green Seal Certification process. After implementing a variety of energy-saving business practices, the company is proud to report a reduced electricity consumption of more than 1.5 million kWH in 2009.  Gas usage was also reduced by 234,806 Therms for the year. Lastly, reduced water usage resulted in an overall savings of nearly 4.5 million gallons in 2009.  Most recently, some lodges have initiated their own battery recycle programs, composting and food sharing with local non-profits were permitted.

Although the Green Seal Certification only applies to the lodging portion of Great Wolf Lodge, we are dedicated to creating “greener” waterparks through our Project Green Wolf efforts. This includes  management of fresh water resources, waste minimization, energy efficiency, environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing, and guest education.

What did you do to celebrate Earth Day with your family? 

 

 

Who doesn’t enjoy slaying dragons and collecting all the runes? I sure do, and I can’t wait to try out the latest addition to MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge...Topper Powers.

When magi select their wand in the store, they have the option of adding some pizzazz to their wand with a themed topper. This spring, guest at all the properties with MagiQuest will see their wand topper gain abilities that affect the game in a various fun ways.

For example, the topper on my wand - the Majestic Pink Gem and Crown - will now allow me to win the pixie adventure in one cast. Also, when I duel the red dragon, the topper will allow one resurrection when I’m out of healing mana. I don't know about you, but any help I can get with the red dragon is great!

Some of these powers even have a chance to recharge while playing the game while others are only a one time use. While the toppers vary a little from property to property, you can expect to see some combination of the following (with powers listed) –

  • Red Dragon & Dragon Gem – Power to one Silver Dragon with the fire burst
  • Majestic Pink Gem & Crown – One cast to win Pixie adventure & one resurrection when dueling the red dragon
  • Unicorn & Horn – cause Magic to spread through the realm
  • Trixter – spread the “power of laughter” through the kingdom – will give every screen a joke and tell which Magi brought this bit of laughter your way
  • Blue Claw – Xavier’s “draining” magic; steal mana from other Magi
  • Armillary – ability to get hints at select status stations through the Kingdom
  • Skull & Dark Stone – beat back the red dragon with a laughing skull of light

Locations with some variety of the toppers listed above include: Charlotte/Concord, Cincinnati/Mason, Grand Mound, Grapevine, Kansas City, Pocono Mountains, Traverse City, Williamsburg and Wisconsin Dells.

MagiQuest has always been a blast to play, and the addition of Topper Powers increases the ways you can interact with the experience. I can’t wait to go try out my new topper power at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge. How about you?