Nolan was born and raised in the French Quarter; his mother was “a big home cook.” (The Crabmeat Suzanne on Ricard’s menu is her namesake recipe.) Despite having raised Will in a food-obsessed environment, however, Nolan’s mom “wasn’t too stoked” when he took his first restaurant job at 14. Soon after, he moved to live with his father in Pine Plains, New York, where he found a job at a hunting farm, collecting and prepping game birds and washing dishes. At 15, Nolan returned to New Orleans to cook at a barbecue joint.
Eventually, Nolan went on to attend Portland Culinary Institute, graduating in 1999. In 2009, after stints cooking in Singapore, New Orleans and Durango, he landed his present position with the Viceroy Snowmass. Nolan was given “full control” over menu development and sourcing—a rarity for hotel chefs.
“I want guests to realize we’re not just a hotel restaurant—we’re part of the culinary community, and I want them to come away with an awareness of local product, as well as having had a comfortable experience,” he explains.
It’s this laid-back demeanor and dedication to his craft and customers that make Nolan such a beloved member of the community. A former competitive Big Air and Slopestyle snowboarder and avid skateboarder, Nolan has mastered work-life balance as much as possible for someone overseeing three restaurants. He and his wife, Emily, who also works in food and beverage, are fond of off-season road trips, snow sports, mountain biking, hiking and participating in charitable and educational local events like Sustainable Settings’ Harvest Festival and friendly fire competitions such as Cochon 555’s Heritage Fire, a wood-fired, whole animal cookery bacchanalia featuring humanely raised and heritage livestock prepared by chefs from all over the country.