‘Top Chef’ Comes to Montana for Fall Food and Wine Excursion

Paws Up ranch in Montana is hosting a food and wine excursion weekend with former ‘Top Chef’ contestants

Big appetites meet Big Sky Country.

Paws Up ranch in Greenough, Montana, is hosting a food and wine weekend excursion from September 25 to 28 called Montana Master Chefs, complete with multi-course dinners, wine tastings, chef head-to-head challenges, and ranching activities with former Top Chef finalists Kelly Liken, Brooke Williamson, Ariana Duarte, and Elizabeth Binder. You can make your reservation for the weekend in Big Sky Country where guests will be able to spend the weekend with these chefs while they sleep under the stars, learn the ins and outs of fly fishing and cattle driving, and eat quite a bit.

We chatted with Brooke Williamson, a former Top Chef contestant and chef/owner at Hudson House in Redndo Beach and the Tripel in Playa Del Rey, California, about her participation in this weekend event.

What is your menu at Montana Master Chefs going to be like?

I'm keeping it simple this year. I really feel like the idea behind the ranch is to give people a high-end escape from reality. My goal is to create a menu that is perhaps unexpected in depth of flavor, but charming and comforting.

How will you be incorporating local Montana ingredients at the event?

I'm a huge fan of huckleberries... And the local foraged huckleberries that come from Montana are some of the best I've ever eaten... I'm going to use the sweet and tartness of the berries in a couple of different ways to add structure to my main course.

Why do you love coming to Montana?

Montana is one of those timeless places. It's one of the only places I've been that can transport you from the craziness of life and put it all back into perspective. Perhaps it's the trees, or the constant sound of the river or the incredible sky that make it such an incredibly peaceful place to be. There are few moments of travel that I take these days where I return home feeling relaxed... That's one of the reasons I love Montana. 

What makes this event so unique?

I’d have to say it’s the incredible collaboration of all the participating chefs. I love building menus and experiences for diners with other chefs whom I respect, and Paws Up draws the best. The food is always inspiring and unpretentious.

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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi