Thursday, October 16, 2014

Life of an Outdoor Chef…

Life as an outdoor chef  is interesting, challenging and very rewarding. We can be called upon for any outdoor excursion that requires groups of people be fed (without available electricity).

Often time's it must be ferried on your backs. In Idaho, where I live and do several outings, most times of the year have fire restrictions so Propane or Iso-Butane is the fuel of choice.

Many a happy customer has praised my ability to feed them well. Let’s be honest, it’s not hard to get people to eat well outdoors and like it, everything taste better outdoors! If I believe all of the praise about my fare, I wouldn’t be able to get head in front door of my house!

There is a truth about the quality being better than the most common ways of nutrition in the backcountry. I have been an “anti” freeze dried food person up until I met a fellow Author (online) and collaborated with a Manufacturer of freeze dried food.

What I learned is the food that is dehydrated or freeze dried can be good, void of chemicals and robust amounts of calories. They have their place and I am a cheerleader for their cause now. Eliminate MSG and higher than needed amounts of sodium and have a strong amount of calories, we all can benefit.

Now the craze is gourmet camp cooking… “You too can be a Camp Gourmet” the Backpacker Magazine articles state. Well these high caliber cooks have been around for years and versions of quality outdoor cooking reside in River Rafting guided tours, Hunt Camps and general Car Camping.  These, in my opinion are some of the best outdoor chefs in the world.

This year  I was lucky enough to travel to Sweden for a product development meeting for Primus, wow, what a treat. Again, talk about
the rewards! 

Imagine Advance Base Camp at Mt Everest, some very wealthy and eccentric clients of the guides have requested or demand high caliber food. So, where is your next adventure and where are you going eat?

I personally want to thank those who are keeping the dream alive:
Dan & Carrie Robbins
John & Julie Platt
Steve and Margo Mandella
John, Tamara and Dylan Fadgen
Ralph Shelton
Nick Karl
Mike Fox
Tom Cox
Tom Lopez
IdahoSummits Outing Participants (Several great folks)

Bob Boland-Boss
Primus Equipment

Shawn Hostetter-Other Boss
Katadyn North American Foods (Alpine Aire Foods)

Ian Scott
Sandra Budik
GSI Outdoors

Matt Eells- Just Bossy
Slade Weston
Camp Chef

* Photos by Nick Karl, Tom Cox and Steve Weston
Eat Well Outdoors!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2014

I was offered a great opportunity to work with two of my top clients at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014.

The plan was to launch OR (Day Zero) at Open Air Demo with my number one, Primus. The mission was to cook 500 four ounce samples of an easy backpacking recipe from my book all while showing off the new two burner camp cook stoves for Primus.

The planning for this event was like pinning a tac on a rodeo bull. Its 1000 no 500? Which county do we need to get a food handler license and temporary food booth permit.?We are going with 500 and when those samples are gone, they are gone.

Curried Salmon Pilaf, a recipe from my book was going to be served at Pineveiw reservoir in Utah. The weather, not cooperating, the wind and rain came on with full force early mid-morning. While cooking with one hand, we also needed to hold the tent down with our other hand. On an interesting note we were cooking on the new Radiant two burner stove and they were on for the entire Open Air Demo, through the rain and wind.

Here they come, not expecting to be seeing Primus showing off their product in use, the ETA Lite Stoves hung like Chinese Lanterns and two guys shoving a good helping of rice in their face. Many smiles and “That’s good, I didn’t expect it to be… “I don’t even like curry but this is good” was released many times from the mouths of the buyers and vendors.

Many positive comments later and the weather improving the food is moving and the day is moving on to the finish. A wonderful day with my Primus Family which included Lars-Ola, Per and Eric all from Sweden. The Mad Scientist Bob Boland invented a wonderful Open Air Demo!

Day One, no cooking today just marketing of the book and networking. Got to visit with Dean Lords. The Day one brought us a fiesta party with our other family Katadyn, featuring a Mariachi band and samples of their new product “Alpine Aire Freeze Dried Guacamole”. Additional highlight of this party was meeting Idaho Climbing Legend pioneer Ray Brooks, who is a sales rep for Katadyn.



Day Two- One of those cool moments happened when I was able to meet Melissa Arnot, giving her a copy of my book and a Primus ETA Lite Stove that she claims will be used the very next week on a backpacking trip in Colorado. We were photobombed by Hans Florine.. Ha Ha


Day Three- Excited to be doing a cooking Demo for Alpine Aire Foods of the Katadyn Family. Months ago I was experimenting with some of the Alpine Aire foods pouch foods with the goal of creating a more robust version of the meal experience. My first mark was Clam Chowder. Potato Cheddar Soup? Yep, perfect Clam Chowder base. Doing the demo at the Katadyn booth we felt like rock stars. We are graced by Wayne Gregory who recently sold his company, Gregory to Jansport.



Day Four- Farewell all, going home back to Idaho and we are tired. Car full of swag

Eat Well Outdoors!

In The Wild Chef.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Trail Clam Chowder

I was approached at Outdoor Retailer in SLC by an awesome guy from Alpine Aire Foods (Katadyn North America). They were curious about a possible collaboration with me and their organic low sodium freeze dried food offerings.

My first attempt at a recipe was using their Creamy Potato Cheddar Soup. I immediately thought of Clam Chowder. Using a fresh potato, carrot and celery stalk with a canned clams makes this very easy to construct at camp. Using a freezer bag and re- using the empty pouch helps keep the clam can odors hidden from our critter friends.

The ingredient list is:

1 Packet of Alpine Aire Creamy Potato Cheddar Soup
1 Potato
1 Carrot
1 Celery Stalk
1 Green Onion for Garnish
1 6.5 oz. can of Chopped Clams
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Pepper
1 Tsp. Tabasco
3 1/2 Cups of water
1 Gallon Freezer Bag

Chop the potato and carrot into 1/4 cubs and add to the pot * Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes

Then add celery and clams (and the juice from clams) and cook for an additional 5 minutes. When potato's and carrots are tender add the soup mix slowly stirring well, cut the heat and put the lid on for 12 minutes.
When your 12 minutes are up, take the lid off and add some green onion and tabasco for garnish. It should look like this below! Enjoy...

 Here is the instructional video on how to prepare this dish Trail Clam Chowder

Saturday, April 5, 2014

On Air Talent???

Recently I was asked to do a series of Backcountry Cooking Videos, "how to" cook my recipes on a backpacking stove.

It has become learning experience and does not show signs of letting up. The biggest learning curve isn't the technical HD GoPro camera clicking the on button, it's the on air talent (me).
You cant fake this stuff. You either have it or you don't. I didn't so I was told to "be yourself". Well that doesn't work well (sarcasm). It helps to have your friends do the filming and the scenery is out of this world awesome so we have that going for us, which is nice.

The failures (bad clips) are costly, not having a way to view the clips and know if they work within the editing is frustrating. We have got some great advice and some not so great advise, everyone is very willing to offer up their ideas after the fact and that's ok, I asked their opinion. I just completed video number two and WOW, what a huge improvement in both talent and creativity and finished product. looks like I might be getting the hang of this... Wish me well!

Here is a little outtake for you...

Climb High and Eat Well Outdoors!