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

Back in April, my husband Joe Dillard had the privilege of learning how to make French Bread from Greg Patent. I gifted him a weekend where he could have hands on experience with an award winning cookbook author. Patent’s book Baking in America won him the James Beard Cookbook Award and finalist recognition for the International Association of Culinary Professionals Best Baking Book. Greg has become a mentor and has provided me invaluable support and advice in the culinary arena over the years.

Stella Fong

Veronika’s Pastry Shop is easy to walk by. From the sidewalk, the small storefront is unassuming.  White outline sketches of France’s Eiffel Tower and Russia’s Basil Cathedral mark the front window. However from the street when driving by, a red awning emblazoned with the shop’s name marks its location on Montana Avenue.

Stella Fong

As I write this post for the next Flavors Under the Big Sky, I send strength and hope to those in California, especially in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. Mother Nature has not been kind, but I know the human spirit perseveres. May time heal all the damage that has been done. May Mother Nature grant a reprieve for repair and renewal.

Stella Fong

Women chefs. Women produced wines. Chef Megan Jessee, Programs Manager for the Montana Restaurant Association Education Foundation is one of the chefs participating in the 2nd Annual ZONTA Sip and Savor. Jessee shared about the event, “I think it is the perfect partnership – female chefs female winemakers and ZONTA since their goal is to empower leaders, female leaders in our community.”   

Flavor Moments: MoAv Coffee

Sep 25, 2017
Stella Fong / YPR

A cup of java jolts those who enter MoAv Coffee at the corner of N 25th Street and Montana Avenue in the historic Carlin Hotel built in 1913.  Jeff Hosa, co-owner of MoAv coffee confessed, “We always say we are nerds about coffee.” From dawn to beyond dusk, this gathering space offers caffeine to bring pulse to life in the mornings or calm through wine and beer later in the day.

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.

Pages