When I called Bradley Ogden after 20 years I expected him to say, “who?” But, instead we had fun catching up about our time at Campton Place in the Eighties – a time when his culinary expertise was taking San Francisco by storm. After I departed Campton Place, Bradley’s fame sky-rocketed, though we suspect no connection here.
I followed his openings and successes, mostly from afar, only dining in one more of his great restaurants. When we were thinking about which chefs to invite to our 2008 Montana Master Chefs event, I told the rest of our team…”I know Bradley Ogden” and they all snickered. Okay, so I meant…”I knew him when he was just starting out” and, “yes that was 20 years ago, and no we had not stayed in touch!”
I called him anyway.
When we met in the reception barn on the first night of the event we exchanged warm hugs and kisses, then we wondered where 20 years had gone, denied that either of us had aged, began talking about the rest of the 80’s team at Campton Place, and eventually mingled with the other guests. It was so great to see him again…and just as wonderful to enjoy his masterful cooking two nights later.
Bradley’s infectious personality is only outdone by his abilities in the kitchen, and after 3 days of fun with him, twenty years felt like yesterday.
During my original stint at Paws Up, we introduced the Montana Master Chefs event to rave reviews and ecstatic guests. The timing of my return was impeccable as my first weekend back happened to be the 3rd annual Montana Master Chefs event.This years event was amazing, with Chef Bradley Ogden of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group, Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, the Resort’s own Wes Coffel as well as Bravo TV’s Top Chefs: Stephanie Izard and Casey Thompson.The Vintners were of equal stature with Richard & Anita Funk of Saviah Cellars, Cyril & Blakesley Chappellet of Chappellet Vineyard & Winery and Pete Przybylinski of Duckhorn Wine Company.One of my ‘tiresome’ tasks as GM is that my wife and I have to attend each and every dinner and are forced to consume great quantities of fine food and exceptional wine.The highlights, gastronomically speaking, of the event for me were Wes’ Roast Squab with Compressed Dixon Melon, the ’06 Duckhorn Merlot, Daniel’s Nova Scotia Lobster and his amazing dessert that paired so beautifully with Saviah’s ‘06 Une Vallée Walla Walla Valley Red Wine, and Bradley’s Short Rib & Veal Sweetbreads with the ‘05 Chappellet Signature Cabernet.
I also had the opportunity to again, be the MC for The Top Chef Cook Off Challenge.This year’s competition featured a Montana Master Chefs first, the guest challenge.Matt and Teresa McCarty faced off in Battle Short Ribs, with Top Chef’s Stephanie and Casey acting as Sous Chefs.Matt ended up victorious in this “battle of the bungalow”.Casey and Stephanie then squared off in Battle Pheasant, after a scare where they thought they were being given live birds, they were presented with pheasant breasts and the twenty-minute battle ensued.Stephanie was named the winner in this hard-fought contest.Both Matt and Stephanie will be back to defend their titles in ’09.
For more information on this year’s event as well as past years, please see www.montanamasterchefs.com, we hope to see you in 2009.
Welcome to The Last Best Blog and our little slice of Montana.For those of you I haven’t met, I am the recently appointed General Manager of the Resort.My predecessor, Terre Short accepted the role of Managing Director for our company, which allowed me this tremendous opportunity.Terre’s day-to-day involvement in the Resort will be somewhat lessened, but she is still actively involved in the strategic planning and overall direction of our operation.
While I may be the new General Manager, this isn’t my first time to this rodeo.I was the opening Food and Beverage Director for the Resort in 2005, became the Assistant General Manger soon after and remained in that role until 2007.I left Montana for a short time to be the GM of a resort in the mountains of Colorado, until I was swayed back to try to fill Terre’s shoes.