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Indian Creek Plaza sign Culinary

If You Build It, They Will Come

Indian Creek Plaza brings new restaurants to Caldwell

by Lex Nelson

Walking through downtown Caldwell with Keri Smith-Sigman, it’s impossible to get more than 50 feet without being waved down by someone friendly. One man is helping her find the perfect door to top her upcycled desk, another wants to show off his under-construction restaurant, and a third just wants to say hello. It’s clear after a few blocks that despite Idaho’s skyrocketing population, Caldwell is still a small town where neighbors know each other by name—and that Smith-Sigman, the CEO of Destination Caldwell, has earned a lot of good will in the community for her company’s efforts to revitalize the city’s flagging downtown core. Over the last year, those efforts have born an armload of fruit in the form of new business, many of them centered on local food.

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Mai Tai Banner Culinary

The Chef Who Would Be King

How Mai Thai Executive Chef Justin Scheihing became Culinary King of the Mountain

Lex Nelson

It was a few days before the Shore Lodge Culinary Festival’s Culinary King of the Mountain Competition, and Mai Thai Executive Chef Justin Scheihing, one of two announced competitors, was relaxed. To hear him talk about the high-pressure competition and the four-course meal that followed, you’d think the weekend was just another dinner service.

“They explained most of it to me already,” Scheihing told CCN before heading to McCall to compete. “It’s just a black box cookoff, so you can kind of do any style and anything that you want. It’s kind of in the style of the TV show Chopped, where you have three rounds, and someone gets eliminated every round.”

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Sunday Roast Banner Beer

Behind the Brunch

Meet the chefs who made the 2019 Foodfort-Alefort brunch collaboration possible

Lex Nelson

With less than 24 hours to go before Treefort Music Fest opened for its fifth and final day, chefs all over Boise were working steadily to prepare their dishes for an inaugural event under the Alefort tent’s roof: a collaborative brunch that would join the forces of Treefort and Alefort, pairing five top-notch dishes from local kitchens with Dawson Taylor coffee, regional beer and cider for a crowd of 300. Before the so-called Sunday Roast was over, a sea of moving parts and disparate ingredients would come together to make something that tasted a bit like magic.

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Culinary

Something Sweet

Seven months into new ownership, much remains the same at The Chocolat Bar

Lex Nelson

For a couple that worked at a skin care company, buying a chocolate shop may have looked like a big leap from the outside. But when Jason and Trish Stack purchased Boise’s The Chocolat Bar from founders Chris Preston and Kristi Echols-Preston in August of 2018, it was a remarkably smooth career transition.

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Lemon Tree Co. Staff Culinary

Be My Veggie Valentine

Lemon Tree Co.’s Valentine’s dinner is another plant-based thank you to Boise vegans

Lex Nelson

Jasson Parra, co-owner of the downtown Boise sandwich shop Lemon Tree Co., credits his restaurant’s success in large part to Boise’s burgeoning population of vegetarians and vegans, who flock there for plant-based entrees and sides.

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Culinary

A Tale of Two Restaurants

After merging and then separating, Camel’s Crossing and State & Lemp forge their own paths

by Lex Nelson

The fine dining restaurant State & Lemp has been a center point of Idaho’s culinary scene since it first opened its doors in the fall of 2013, and by the time then-Executive Chef Kris Komori raked in his third James Beard nomination for Best Chef: Northwest in early 2018, all eyes were on its tiny corner dining room. So it’s no surprise that when the team running the successful Hyde Park wine bar Camel’s Crossing—Co-owners Scott and Caitlin McCoy, and then-Executive Chef Christian Phernetton—unexpectedly purchased the restaurant just months later, the news made headlines across the city.

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Chefs in a kitchen Culinary

Cooking Up Talent

Can a new nonprofit culinary school help boost Idaho’s restaurant industry?

by Lex Nelson 

David Knickrehm, chairman of the board of Idaho Chefs de Cuisine, sees one big problem threatening Boise’s restaurant industry: alack of talented cooks. He lays the blame partly on the graves of the Treasure Valley’s two defunct culinary programs—one attached to Boise State University and another to College of Western Idaho—and partly on a new cultural mindset.

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Bags of Gaston's fresh-milled flour Culinary

Flour Power

Gaston’s Bakery is the first in Idaho to mill its own flour

by Lex Nelson

In the vast space behind the neat, old-world pastry and bread, shop at Gaston’s Bakery lies a mad scientist’s laboratory of baking. Staff dart back and forth, some twisting bits of dough into breadsticks, others carefully rolling croissants, stacking boxes of packaged pastries or leavering baguettes into towering stone deck ovens. But despite the hustle and bustle, it’s the machine sitting quietly in a corner that’s perhaps the most exciting thing in the bakery: a cherry-red electric mill, which Gaston’s owner, French baker Mathieu Choux, started using just two months ago to make his own flour from Idaho wheat.

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Horizon with flock of birds in the background and laser in the foreground Beverages

Zapping the Bird Problem

Idaho vintners use high-tech lasers to scare birds away from wine grapes

by Lex Nelson

From a bird’s eye view, there’s a good chance southern Idaho’s Sunnyslope Wine Trail looks more like a miles-long buffet table than the proverbial patchwork quilt. That’s because for robins and starlings, ripe wine grapes make the perfect snack, particularly during harvest season—a problem vintners like Greg Koenig of Koenig Vineyards have spent increasing amounts of time and money battling.

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