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Chefs in a kitchen Culinary

Cooking Up Talent

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

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

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

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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Tapping a wooden keg Beer

Suds Across the Pond

Barbarian Brewing co-owners travel to England to brew sour beer

Lex Nelson

Trends, like 15th-century explorers, often hop the Atlantic from Europe to America—but sometimes the channel flows the other way. Garden City-based brewing company Barbarian Brewing proved that point in late September, when co-owners Bre Hovley and James Long traveled to London to teach the staff at Hop Stuff Brewery about what’s already a booming trend in American suds: sour beer.

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Ketchum Farmers Market Culinary

Learn About Local

Local food conference invites attendees to rethink Idaho’s food system

Lex Nelson

It’s no secret that the local food movement has been gaining ground rapidly in recent years. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, the number of farmer’s markets registered with the United States Department of Agriculture has more than quadrupled since 1994, and in 2017, Business Insider offered up an article expounding on why investors should keep a keen eye on the rising demand for local food, citing a Packaged Facts study showing the local food industry jumped from $5 billion to $12 billion between 2008 and 2014, and is predicted to hit $20 billion next year. Read more “Learn About Local”

Camels Crossing store front Beverages

Raise a Glass to the Underdogs

Camel’s Crossing works to highlight organic, biodynamic, and women-run wineries

Lex Nelson

Food & Wine reported in March that out of the more than 3,700 wineries in California, just 10 percent have women as head winemakers. California-based Wine & Vines put out even less promising figures on organic grapes, reporting that just 5 percent of the world’s vineyard acreage is used to grow them. Biodynamic wineries, a subset of organic that follows an even stricter eco-friendly rulebook, account for an even slimmer percentage of acreage. All this is to say, Boise wine bar Camel’s Crossing’s mission to highlight wines in these three categories is a rare thing indeed.

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People dining outdoors Culinary

Idaho’s Farm-to-Fork Founders

After 14 years, Peaceful Belly Farm’s Farm-to-Fork suppers are still going strong

Lex Nelson

Entrepreneur magazine credits restaurant partners Kimbal Musk (you may have heard of his brother Elon) and Hugo Matheson with founding the farm-to-table movement, pulling together disparate influences from California, the Pacific Northwest and beyond to create their Colorado restaurant The Kitchen in 2003. But in Boise’s microcosm, that right may very well go to Clay and Josie Erskine of Peaceful Belly Farm, who kicked off a trend of their own around the same time Musk and Matheson opened The Kitchen. Their concept was simple: chef-prepared suppers served outdoors on their 60-acre Dry Creek Valley farm, made with produce they’d grown themselves.

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