Stella Fong

Flavors Under The Big Sky Host

Stella Fong shares her personal love of food and wine through her cooking classes and wine seminars as well as through her contributions to Yellowstone Valley Woman, and Last Best News and The Last Best Plates blogs. Her first book, Historic Restaurants of Billings hit the shelves in November of 2015 with Billings Food available in the summer of 2016. After receiving her Certified Wine Professional certification from the Culinary Institute of America with the assistance of a Robert Parker Scholarship for continuing studies, she has taught the Wine Studies programs for Montana State University Billings Wine and Food Festival since 2008. She has instructed on the West Coast for cooking schools such as Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, Macy’s Cellars, and Gelsons, and in Billings, at the Billings Depot, Copper Colander, Wellness Center, the YMCA and the YWCA. Locally she has collaborated with Raghavan Iyer and Christy Rost in teaching classes.

Fong has featured local bounty through her participation at the Good Earth Sunday Suppers and the first Field to Table dinner at Danly Farms in collaboration with caterer Tom Nelson and Executive Chef Shane Weigel. Her food and wine pairing dinners have benefited many organizations in Billings.

Born in the San Francisco Bay Area and raised in a traditional Chinese family, Fong devises culinary creations that include a mixture of old and new. Her understanding of food for the consumer came from working at her father’s grocery store, Martin’s Market in Berkeley, California. Fong’s articles have appeared in Cooking Light, the Washington Post, and Fine Cooking. She has written for Magic MagazineBlue Water Sailing, the Big Sky JournalWestern Art and Architecture, and Montana Quarterly. She developed recipes for San Diego State University food services and the Kids Cooking Club. Fong judged for the International Association of Culinary Professionals cookbook awards, chairing the program in 2010 and 2011. She holds Bachelor of Science degrees in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and computer engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and a general cooking certificate from the Culinary Institute of America. Fong has volunteered for the MSUB Wine & Food Festival for many years and chaired it in 2008 and 2009 with Susan Carlson.

Stella Fong

Raghavan Iyer and James Dodge taught cooking class Savory Sweet: Tater Love for the 25th MSU Billings Foundation Wine and Food Festival.

The two, James Beard and IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) recognized cookbook authors and teachers returned to Montana to help raise scholarships. The class, based on Iyer’s latest book - Smashed Mashed Boiled and Baked-and Fried, Too! paid tribute to potatoes from around the world.

Stella Fong

Emblazoned on Chef Josh Cannon’s knuckles are the words “COOK THIS.” As the Executive Chef at the recently opened SEVA Kitchen in downtown Billings, he had obviously declared his passion for food. Together with Owners Harvey Singh and Schuyler Budde, he hoped to bring “globally inspired flavors” to his guests. 

Stella Fong

Executive Chef Bernard Guillas recently participated in the 25th MSU Billings Wine and Food Festival teaching a class entitled Spring Fling – Sharing the Love.  The title of the class embodied the spirit of Guillas, a Frenchman living La Jolla near San Diego, California. The man exuded charm packaged with passion for food and living. As the head culinary leader for the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and Marine Room restaurant, Guillas not only impressed the locals, especially the women with his multiple air kisses, but also with the art he created on the plate.

Stella Fong

Flavor Moments is an offshoot of Flavors Under the Big Sky: Celebrating the Bounty of the Region. In Flavor Moments, we discover new flavors from restaurants, farmers, and producers. We learn of events, new eateries and new personalities in food and spirits. 

In my email the other day, I received a note from Lena Olson. Lena worked at City Vineyard for seven years before taking on a sales position at Winegardner’s Wines. Eventually she went to New York and now continues to consult in the wine and food industry there. As for her reason for heading to the Big Apple, she said, “I wanted to go to the biggest ‘baddest’ place to see what happens.” So I was intrigued to hear from her. 

 

Lynn Donaldson

Fifteen minutes from downtown Bozeman is the Gallatin River Lodge. On Jack Rabbit, the road to Big Sky is a sign with a cowboy riding a trout. For those who choose to turn at W Valley Center Road, a 20-acre retreat anchored by a log-hewed building awaits. Vistas of surrounding mountains and an on-site pond provide bucolic views for the 12-room “luxury boutique hotel.” Executive Chef Scott Meyers presents artistry on the plate to nourish both the appetite and the senses.

Stella Fong

At Tippet Rise, passion rendered music, erected life-sized sculptures, and created food. Chefs Nick Goldman and Wendi Reed of Wild Flower Kitchen cater with energy and gusto at the 10,260-acre art and music center in Fishtail, Montana. Amongst the musical notes and wide-open spaces, they feed world-renowned performers from afar, and guests arriving for chamber music recitals or tours of the vast sculpture park.

Lynn Donaldson

Ox Pasture features local big sky flavor. For Executive Chef Chris Lockhart, seasonal produce and products from the environs around Red Lodge shape his menu planning.  Local bounty plays the starring role backed by flavors and food from afar. Contributors to the local offerings include Laurel Farmers Market, owned by Leslyn and Greg Johnson. Even more, “local” also applies to the strong community support, filling the restaurant with eager patrons who have become regulars at the popular restaurant.

Stella Fong

The world of wine ferments its own speak. In describing the aroma, taste and sensation in a glass, descriptors abound. Flavors of fruit and non-fruit are not purposefully added to wine, but develop as grape juice ferments into a spirited drink. The words used to communicate what is sensed come from experience and memory. We identify smell and taste from what we have already sensed in our lifetime.

Stella Fong

Most morel mushroom hunters keep secrets, stored deep in the chambers of their minds, holding the location of mushrooms past. This burden of hiding information, and then the want of recognition, sometimes compels them to share what they know, only to be held back by protectiveness and paranoia.

Stella Fong

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and your feed him for a lifetime.”
-Maimonides

Michael McCormick relocated to Livingston to pursue his love of fly-fishing, but now spends most of his time casting towards the Livingston Food Resource Center. The Center, opened two years ago, includes a food pantry, community kitchen and gathering space to nourish Livingston and Park County.


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