What’s The Secret To Cooking At High Altitudes?

DATE: 5/13/09



Carol Zahorsky

Public Relations for Visit Rainier


[email protected]

What’s The Secret To Cooking At High Altitudes?< /strong>
May 13, 2009

The chef at the Summit House at Crystal Mountain shares a few insider’s tips.

Having mastered the art of cooking at high altitudes, Chef Aaron Willis of the Summit House at Crystal Mountain — perched 6,872 feet above sea level — makes the following suggestions for preparing lofty cuisine.

-The higher the altitude, the lower the boiling point. Water boils at about 198 degrees F at 7,000 feet, compared with 212 degrees F at sea level. 

-Boiling, braising and sous vide cooking methods take longer on the top of a mountain than at the bottom. When braising his Asian Short Ribs, for instance, Chef Willis adds more liquid to allow for the extra cooking time, which is about 30 minutes longer than at sea level.

-Food stored at high altitudes dries out faster than at sea level, so ingredients like flour, breadcrumbs, and legumes absorb more liquid when cooked on a mountaintop.

-At high altitudes, baking times increase due to lower air pressure. That means the oven needs to be hotter. Chef Willis recommends upping the temperature by about 25 degrees F.