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I always liked to read cookbooks in high school and try to follow the recipes. I worked in restaurants when I was young, and was always interested in what the cooks were doing. Seemed as if I was always attached to the kitchen even though I was working as a busser.
Spontaneity is a big part of it. I really get unto creating a dish by seeing what’s around me, whether it be the different seasons, the weather, or just what kind of mood I’m in. Traveling and seeing what other chefs are doing is very important and inspiring!
We have wonderful ranchers and farmers in the Bitterroot Valley who are doing some beautiful things with locally raised meats and produce. Having our own orchard and gardens makes for a great story for our guests, and new things are popping up all the time during our seasons.
Our food is very diverse in terms of employing different techniques using local and regional ingredients. It makes me very happy when our guests say that they have never tried a particular protein or different ingredients, and they really enjoy it! Education and inspiration through food is most rewarding.
A big part of a chef’s work is teaching and setting examples on how to execute a certain task. It can be a simple mannerism or a verbal communication that can be the key to make things flow and click, and that’s where the fun and magic can happen!
Keep it simple, easy and fun. Don’t get stuffy. Crack open a tasty beverage and relax with friends and family.