The Starting Lineup….

It is our great pleasure to announce this year’s lineup for Montana Master Chefs 2009 (10/8/09 – 10/10/09).  We have an extremely strong lineup of chefs and winemakers this year and MMC ’09 promises to be the best ever.   Thursday’s Dinner will be prepared by our very own Chef, Wes Coffel and will be paired with the fabulous wines of Frog’s Leap Winery.  We are so excited to have the winners from the past two seasons of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Stephanie Izard (Season 4) and this year’s winner, Hosea Rosenberg that we are featuring the two of them as co-chefs for Friday Night’s dinner.    Stephanie and Hosea will work together with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars to pair their culinary creations with the famous wines of this Napa Valley institution.  On Saturday night we welcome Chef Kent Rathbun, Executive Chef/Proprietor of Abacus and Jasper Restaurants in Dallas who is pairing his menu with the wines of Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

In my post titled “Proud to Announce”, I talked about Chef Rathbun and Frog’s Leap Winery so I wanted to make sure I gave our latest additions to the lineup equal time.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards has been producing some of Napa Valley’s finest wines for over 30 years.   They have been innovators and pioneers in the industry since the beginning – their 1974 Insignia was the first Bordeaux-style blend produced in California under a proprietary label.  Their Insignia and Backus wines continue to be some of the highest rated, most sought-after and finest wines produced.  I can’t wait to try them this year.

Chef Stephanie Izard, winner of Bravo’s hit show “Top Chef” season 4 and Executive Chef/Proprietor of The Drunken Goat in Chicago will join us again this year.   We really enjoyed Stephanie’s company last year.  For those of you that are fans of Top Chef or saw her in action at last year’s event; you know she is a fierce competitor, a great chef and a genuinely nice person.  Stephanie is the defending champion of our Top Chef Cook-Off Challenge and this year will be challenged by Top Chef Season 5 winner, Chef Hosea Rosenberg.  Hosea is the Executive Chef of Jax Fish House in Boulder and is looking to extend his competition winning streak in 2009. We are looking forward to a great battle between these two winning chefs in Saturday’s Top Chef Cook-Off Challenge as well as seeing them work as a team preparing Friday Night’s dinner.

Pairing with Stephanie and Hosea will be Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.    Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars wines are world-renowned and history making:  On May 24, 1976, a wine tasting took place in Paris that changed the world’s view of California wines forever. The French wines were First and other classified-growth red Bordeaux and white Burgundies. They were matched against California Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. The tasting was blind, with the identities of the wines concealed and the labels revealed only after the jury of nine tasters had voted its order of preference.  The unthinkable happened. Warren Winiarski’s 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet was judged the best. The Cabernet had bested four top-ranked Bordeaux, including first-growths Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Haut-Brion. The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from California also bested its French counterparts (for those of you keeping score, Jim Barrett from Chateau Montelena joined us for Montana Master Chefs I).   It will be a pleasure to partake in some of these historic wines, whether it is the S.L.V, Fay or Cask 23, I can hardly wait for October.

We have also partnered with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars on a live auction lot for this year’s Auction Napa Valley.  Our lot is titled Big Bottles, Big Sky  – The “Big Bottles, Big Sky” experience begins with a rare vertical of highly collectible CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon in bottles of extraordinary size and grandeur along with a five-night Big Sky adventure vacation  with us here at The Resort at Paws Up.  We are thrilled and excited to be a part of this wonderful charity event in the Napa Valley and to be paired with such a magnificent collection of wines from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Hope to see all of you at Montana Master Chefs 2009 as well as Auction Napa Valley 2009.

Cheers.

-Jim Nielsen, General Manager

In The Mint

Patrick Waechter, editor of “A Rare World” (Mint Lifestyle’s online magazine), recently wrote a great piece on Paws Up as the best option for his extended family vacation.  Here are a couple of snippets from his article:

“The Resort at Paws Up is a wilderness playground to be enjoyed by folks of all ages and walks.  Accommodations are exceptional, activities are endless, and seemingly every vantage point on the grounds allows for an ideal vista of the far beyond.”

“Taking all of this in mind, with the great frontier of Montana awaiting us, I am just not sure how anything could be easier than Paws Up.”

We’d like to thank Patrick for the great review, and can’t wait to welcome he and his family to Paws Up!

“Glamping” in Greenough

We continue to be at the center of the “Glamping” (glamorous camping) phenomena.  We were recently featured on a short video by ViroPop.  See below (you can move forward to 1:05 to the start of the Glamping portion of the video):

Note: we also salute Apple’s green efforts.  Nice to see other companies sharing our passion for eco-friendly behavior.

Jennifer Domansky, editor at GlampingGirl.com, has written articles about both Tent City and River Camp.  She did a great job capturing the essence of both of these canvas communities.  Be sure to check out her website.

Natasha’s Quest

We have been following the story of Natasha Hurst, a small business owner from Canada, who is chronicling her weight-loss goal on her blog.  She has set up a series of “rewards” that she gets when she reaches certain benchmarks of pounds lost.  One of her “rewards” is a weekend getaway with her husband to The Resort at Paws Up.  We are flattered by being chosen as the destination associated with this reward.  We are 100% behind Natasha and support her in this great effort she is putting forth.  We can’t wait to welcome her and her husband to The Resort soon.  Go Natasha!

Check Us Out on Facebook!

First, a blog.  Now, a profile on Facebook!  The Resort at Paws Up is really trying to keep up with the social media phenomena.  Technology has come a long way since Lewis & Clark navigated their way through our neck of the woods without Google Maps approximately 200 years ago.  We are excited to connect with our many friends and members of the “Paws Up Family”.  We’ll keep you posted on all of the events and happenings from Greenough, MT.

Click Here to check out our Facebook Profile!

It’s All About the People

As those of you on the West or East Coast and in the South get a taste of what winter in Montana feels like, we in the frozen northwest are now planning for the coming season. We spend an awful lot of time brainstorming on how to make those of you who vacation with us have the experience of a lifetime. What comes from these sessions is that what makes this place special: the people.

You might expect that a blog from the ‘HR guy’ would naturally be about the people, but in this case it rings true. A large portion of our guest comments are about how different our staff is, who share their way of life and provide a window into the Montana lifestyle.

Trail riding isn’t something our cowboys and cowgirls stage so guests get a western experience. Our wranglers ride their own horses on days off. Fishing guides take you to their special spot on the river and they take you down rivers they fished as a child. They share a part of the Big Sky that keeps them here.

The pace is slower, the journey less crowded with time to think and dream and breathe. Our people understand that and don’t get in the way. What our guests say is that our staff makes them feel like they belong and they treat them like friends. I guess that’s why so many people come back and ask for staff by name. Friendships have been formed from great life experiences and isn’t that what a vacation is supposed to be. Our people hope to see you soon.

– Brad Lassiter, Director of Human Resources

Walla Walla Coming to Montana

We are really excited to be featuring wines from Casey McClellan and Seven Hills Winery for our Walla Walla in Montana event April 3rd and 4th. Seven Hills is the oldest vineyard in Walla Walla and has been a pioneer in Washington State for many years. Seven Hills Winery has a broad range of wines that should be fun to work with. Chef Coffel is looking forward to the pairings and has started to work on number of menu items tailored to Seven Hills wines. We’ve tried a nice crisp Riesling recently and a nice Red Mountain Cabernet as well. I look forward to trying Casey’s version of Viognier which has always been a favorite grape of mine.

– Kevin Kapalka, Director of Food & Beverage

Greetings from your Lodging Friends

A quick hello from a Winter Wonderland called The Resort at Paws Up.  Looking outside and seeing how beautifully white everything still is, we can take a moment to reminisce about the great Christmas we celebrated here together.  Christmas is a family event and we have been lucky to have such an extended Paws Up family during this time. To hear the jingle bells of the horse drawn sleigh, and to see our Guests cuddled up under blankets and enjoying the majestic surroundings of Greenough under falling snow, looking forward to a hot cup of cocoa at the end of the trail. That is the true feeling of Christmas.  Our Guests ice skating until dark, or enjoying the tubing down the hill, knowing that there will be a nice fire burning in their homes, warmly decorated for the season and a scrumptious dinner awaiting them, brought smiles to their faces.

In a combined effort of some of our wonderful Guests and Paws Up staff, we had Frosty coming alive in the front yard of the Reception Barn. Their hands were getting cold, but the results were amazing.

Christmas 2008 was what you would hope Christmas to be and we are looking forward to Christmas 2009 and welcoming all of our Paws Up family back.  Happy New Year from all of us in the Lodging Department.

– Wonny Rengersen

Happy New Year!

The New Year’s Eve festivities are in full swing – guests are enjoying dinner, games, conversation and of course, libations. Chef Wes’ menu is a big hit as usual, starting off with a fun amuse of a Lobster Corn Dog with Carrot Ketchup. As one guest told me, “you know you’re in a high-end place when the corn dogs are made from lobster”. Other highlights of the evening include an Oyster Sampler with Preserved Lemon & Whitefish Roe, Ahi & Passion Fruit-Truffle Vinaigrette, Cucumber & Champagne Mignonette; Squab Roulade with Foie Gras & Wild Rice Stuffed Cabbage, Minus 8 Vinegar; Marrow Bean Soup with Smoked Pork Won Ton; Seared Ahi with Ricotta Gnocchi, Fennel Purée, Olive Mousse and Poached Lobster with Celery Root-Potato Purée, Spinach, Black Truffle, Cognac Butter. After dinner it is off to the Tank & Trough for games, Texas hold’em, fireworks and music by Mudslide Charlie. If you haven’t experienced the beauty of a fireworks display reflecting off the snow on a crisp Montana New Year’s Eve, you just don’t know what you’re missing. As we approached midnight, the crowd grew more and more excited, not just in anticipation for the New Year, but also because one of our guests (who just happens to be a famous drummer) had joined the band for an awesome jam session. Midnight brought cheers, toasts and well wishes for new friends and old. The forecast calls for another six inches of snow tonight so 2009 will arrive in a fresh blanket of white. Happy New Year from all of us at Paws Up. Cheers.

– Jim Nielsen