Chef Sunny Jin Elevates Montana Cuisine

Chef Sunny Jin is a traveler by nature. He’s a tireless forager, always searching for the next fresh local ingredient. And The Resort at Paws Up is thrilled to have him as our new executive chef.

“For me, happiness and inspiration come from my foraging walks and a dedication to sustainability,” Jin said recently. “Hiking the local area is really the best way to get in tune with the Montana landscape and the endless bounties it provides. It’s such an inspiring place. There’s an endless supply of local and seasonal plants, vegetables, fruit and game. In that regard Montana really can’t be beat.”

Since arriving at Paws Up, Jin has also been taking road trips to visit local purveyors. “I’ve been reaching out to reestablish existing relationships and forge new ones. I’m looking for sustainable excellence in our ingredients,” he said.

All of this translates incredibly well to his new role as culinary leader at Paws Up. Jin’s dedication to excellence and his flexibility and creation of free-flowing menus learned on a global stage, along with his fondness for seafood and wild game, work well in the wilds of Montana. Lest there be any doubt about the current level of culinary excellence at Paws Up, Jin was added to the list of chefs at 2018’s prestigious Pebble Beach Food & Wine, the premier epicurean lifestyle event on the West Coast. Among its former notable chefs: Philippe Legendre, Wolfgang Puck and Thomas Keller, one of Sunny Jin’s early mentors at the French Laundry. We sat down with Chef Sunny to ask him a few questions:

Is there a particular mindset you bring to your daily menus?

I want to serve something that I would like to eat and at the same time be proud of, and of course our kitchen’s staff and our guests’ opinions matter greatly.

Are there specific things you’ve found inspiring on your foraging walks? What piques your culinary fancy?

Lots of new exciting ideas occur to me every day in Montana. It’s such an inspiring place, with culinary riches like wild huckleberries, cherries, morel mushrooms, sage, Saskatoon berries, spruce tips, purslane. And what we can do with elk, bison, duck and trout.

Is it challenging to cook for our diverse Paws Up audiences, small groups and large?

Forever the optimist, I don’t see challenges but rather pleasant surprises. I enjoy teaching our culinary team at Paws Up, as well as learning from them.

What inspires the culinary staff to achieve greatness varies. It could be a tasting menu for a couple celebrating a special occasion or a group of 50 sampling various dishes at the Equestrian Center.

How does all of this—your rich experiences, the local sourcing—come together on a menu?

Our menus are free-flowing, and we’ve made progress in last few months from changing one thing at a time to changing three or four items while creating menu layers. We offer variety and tailor things to our guests and never sacrifice on quality or our standards. We’ll keep a large focus on cooking with Montana elk and bison and the highest quality beef. We strive to source animals fed and raised in an antibiotic- and growth-hormone-free, responsible way. Some of our recent dishes have included:

Crispy Duck Hash with Mustard Greens

Cedar Plank Salmon on Wilted Kale

Sherry-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Have you had a chance to work with some of the guest chefs at The Resort’s special culinary events?

Yes, I have. WinterFest was great. I love to see how other chefs work and engage with them. Collaboration is everything. Guest chefs help us keep it fresh and keep it engaged.

So, this area really seems to suit your “cook locally, cook sustainably” philosophy?

It does. I personally feel more driven by responsibility and less compelled by style. The reward for me is when I’m able to engage and connect with local farmers and ranchers. Their commitment to their craft and community is where I gain a sense of obligation. That obligation is then the intentional focal point in every meal.

Sounds like you are finding the kinds of local support you had hoped for?

Definitely, with Missoula and our neighboring rural communities, we are good neighbors. They may deliver food for sourcing our dishes, and if someone has a fence down, I’m more than willing to help fix it. Now that’s a culinary philosophy that’s as localized as it gets.

10 Reasons to Celebrate Christmas at Paws Up

This holiday season, leave behind the hustle and bustle for something truly magical: Christmastime in Montana. At The Resort at Paws Up, you’re in for a warm and adventurous holiday weekend. We have elves to take care of everything. Here are 10 reasons to spend Christmas at Paws Up in pictures and words.

  1. You get to experience a picture-perfect backdrop of snow-covered mountains.
  2. You’ll rock around your very own decorated tree.
  3. You’ll receive a surprise personal visit from Santa, right in your cozy luxury home with gifts and all.
  4. You’ll experience bonfires with s’mores and downhill snow tubing with a snowmobile chauffeur, followed by hot apple cider.
  5. You’ll participate in a gingerbread house decorating contest.
  6. You’ll enjoy quality family time with bingo game nights and more.
  7. You’ll warm up with indoor activities such as holiday crafts, movie nights and plenty of shopping at our Wilderness Outpost.
  8. You’ll experience a family broomball game on the Paws Up ice skating rink.
  9. You’ll enjoy the best Montana Christmas brunch and a glittering Christmas dinner with live music.
  10. You’ll end each day soaking in a soothing hot tub and then relax by your roaring fireplace.

Enough said? Contact our live chat on pawsup.com now for more information.

Meet AdrenZen Fitness Expert Idalis Valazquez

Idalis Velazquez

A wife and proud mother of two girls, a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and a former elite track-and-field athlete, Idalis Velazquez is a top expert in total body fitness. Velazquez specializes in fast and effective workouts that help busy people get the results they want in the time they have. Velazquez’s workouts and fitness tips have been featured in too many national publications, websites and TV shows to list. Paws Up is thrilled to have her as the featured fitness expert at the AdrenZen: Fall wellness weekend on October 20–23, 2017.

Paws Up: How would you describe your fitness style?

Velazquez: My fitness style is all about time-efficient workouts and building sustainable habits. The workouts and programs I create combine resistance training and are metabolic, meaning you will challenge your cardio and keep your metabolism revving for hours after you are done. I’m tough, but more of a cheerleader with those I train to help them unleash their fullest potential and keep them motivated.

Paws Up: How many times a week do you work out?

Velazquez: Four to six times a week. These workouts can last 15 to 60 minutes long, depending on the workout.

Paws Up: What is your top weight loss tip?

Velazquez:

  • Focus on building positive and healthy habits instead of creating restriction.
  • Learn to be mindful with your nutrition and exercise routine. Consistent application of small, sustainable habits along with your workouts will help you reach your goals.
  • When it comes to training for weight loss and fat loss, prioritize strength training and don’t overdo the cardio.
  • Resistance training builds lean muscle mass, which helps you burn calories and fat all day long and boost your metabolism. You’ll feel younger and energized and achieve the “toned” look most people want.

Paws Up: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Velazquez: I see fitness and living a healthier lifestyle as tools that help me be at my best physically, mentally and emotionally. I challenge myself during my workouts, but I also have fun. Knowing that caring for my body and mind will help me feel and be at my very best keeps me motivated. Plus, it’s nice to look in the mirror and see how this lifestyle pays off.

Paws Up: What inspires you?

Velazquez: My kind and loving daughters. The way they look at me and look up to me. Knowing that the way I live my life and that my habits and behaviors will have a huge impact in their life inspires me.

The community I’ve built through my social media also is inspiring. Knowing that I’m helping to reach a follower’s goals is priceless. I know that many of them don’t have a personal trainer nor gym memberships, and they have chosen to follow my workouts and tips. They inspired me to get creative with exercises and workout ideas that will keep them motivated to get their sweat on anywhere.

Paws Up: Why are you excited to visit Paws Up?

Velazquez: All of it! Every time I plan a vacation with my husband, I always tell him that my ideal vacation includes a beautiful resort surrounded by nature where I can just disconnect and enjoy fitness, healthy meals, rest and relaxation with spa treatments. The Resort at Paws Up has everything I would want for a perfect wellness retreat and more. I look forward to having the opportunity to share my love for fitness and wellness by teaching and meeting new people!

Paws Up: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to regain their fitness or start a new program?

Velazquez: Just start! Focus on what your body can do, rather than on what it hasn’t mastered yet. Create a plan, do your best and stay consistent. Even if you start with 15 minutes a day. Set positive, performance-related goals, since these will help you stay motivated and empowered.

16 New Paws Up Finds

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At The Resort at Paws Up, the start of summer means it is time to enjoy slower mornings, longer days (and more sunsets) and new memory-making adventures. The beginning of the season also signals the time for new merchandise to find their way to our Wilderness Outpost store. Enjoy one of those slower mornings with coffee in our rustic-chic Paws Up mugs, and take in a ranch sunset wearing some of our sharp new logo apparel that will ward off an evening chill. These fine finds are sure to brighten your summer and make you long to come back to The Resort at Paws Up. Call 406-244-7374 to purchase any of these items.

(above) Paws Up Metal Mug $25

Paws Up Swell Bottles

Swell Water Bottle 17 ounce $45; 25 ounce $55

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Mesh Back Cap $35 Premium Sueded Cotton Hoodie $65

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Paws Up Money Clip $40

Paws Up Wine Glasses

Logo Metal Wine Cup $35

the resort at paws up pillows

Logo Pillow $125

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Last Best Place Hat $35

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Paws Up Kids Tees $25

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French Terry Logo Pant $85 Logo Camo Joggers $95

Montana Wild Huckleberry Jam $12

The Resort at Paws Up clothing

Love Paws Up Hoodie $59; Cap $36

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Logo Browning Clipback Knife $75

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Suede Brim Paws Up Cap $35 Trucker Cap $35

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Paws Up Luggage Tag $35

The Resort at paws up wine glasses

Paws Up Wine Glass Set $45

 

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Logo Mule Mug $40

Wilderness Workshops This Summer at The Resort at Paws Up

summer wilderness workshops at the resort at paws up

Most vacations, most folks just sit back and relax. But at Paws Up, we have a different attitude. We think, why not create spectacular music, learn to take magnificent photographs or find out what it takes to survive in the wild? Self-improvement? Yes. Boring? Never. With workshops taught by world-renowned experts, your instructor could be a celebrated artist like George Van Hook, a national champion horsewoman like Barbra Schulte or a tough-as-nails mountain man like Gary Steele. From art to music to equestrian activities, outdoor adventures and everything in between, Wilderness Workshops at Paws Up will inspire, educate and fascinate you and your kids all summer long. Pick your passion and take time to explore it—while surrounded by the scenery and nestled in the comforts of The Resort at Paws Up.

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Gettin’ Primitive: June 20-23, July 23-29, August 3-9, 2017

Learn about the old ways from an honest-to-goodness mountain man—Paws Up’s resident outdoorsman Gary Steele. For four days at his self-built camp, you and your kids will get hands-on instruction in primitive skills like edible plant identification, fire making, knot tying, longbow archery, music making, orienteering, shelter building, storytelling, tomahawk throwing, tracking and woodsmanship.

Designed for families to come together in an environment that fosters confidence, curiosity, enthusiasm, responsibility and self-esteem, the Gettin’ Primitive workshop is sure to ignite your kids’ imagination. And be on the lookout for our resident mountain man at the Kids Corps of Discovery, around the luxury camps and on chuck wagon rides.

drum circle madness at paws up

Drum Circle Madness: July 2-8, August 15-21, 2017

If a drum circle happens in our forest, you should make sure you’re around to hear it. We’re pleased to welcome Scott Besaw back to Paws Up for his annual event that turns even the most rhythmically challenged into stellar little drummer boys (or girls, or adults). Besaw hails from Chicago’s world-famous Old Town School of Folk Music and brings with him an infectious passion for all things music. It’s a hands-on (literally, no sticks required) course that teaches basic music principles as well as team building. Come learn how to truly march to the beat of your own drum.

photo classes at the resort at paws up

Photography with Stuart Thurlkill

Sunset Photography: July 3, July 19 and August 1, 2017

Nature Walk Photography: July 8 and August 18, 2017

Picture this: the sun is making its final breathtaking appearance across the Montana landscape and, this time, you’ll have the skills to capture it with justice. This summer, let Paws Up Resort Photographer Stuart Thurlkill lead you on a wilderness walk as you learn how to capture that perfect photo. It’s a chance for you and your kids to gain a better understanding of light, composition and color, as well as a deeper appreciation for nature. You’ll see the world through a different lens, and head home with a collection of photographs to cherish your time in Big Sky Country.

 

painting wilderness workshops at the resort at paws up

Brushes With Greatness: July 10-17, 2017

Renowned American painter George Van Hook honed his artistic skill the old-fashioned way. As a young man, he visited the Louvre and traveled through France, Italy and Holland to study and be inspired by the masters. Now, for more than 35 years, this award-winning artist has painted and exhibited on three continents. He has also helped beginner and experienced painters alike improve their techniques and discover new talents. Van Hook will conduct this “plein air” watercolor workshop in a variety of eye-popping settings throughout The Resort. Go ahead, learn from a true pro and take in the unforgettable surroundings at the same time.

Summer art classes at the resort at paws up

Block Printing and Mosaics: July 17-21, 2017

Channel your inner artist at this Paws Up Wilderness Workshop with Artist in Residency Jill Schulman as she teaches adults and children the art of block carving and printing, as well as mosaic making. Schulman is a renowned sculptor and ceramic artist who is passionate about teaching her craft to others. No previous experience is required to take part in the workshop—just a willingness to think outside the “block.”

Paint and Pour at the resort at paws up

Paint ‘N’ Pour: July 22, 2017

There’s nothing like a little wine to wake up your inner Picasso, Renoir or Van Gogh. So allow us to pour you a glass while the talented Linds Sanders instructs you on the finer points of painting in a hands-on art session designed for all skill levels. Sanders will join guests at Paws Up throughout the summer as part of the popular Paint ’n’ Pour Wilderness Workshop. With step-by-step guidance in a fun and friendly atmosphere, you’ll be creating your own personal masterpiece in no time. All you have to do is show up with an open mind—the canvases, paint, wine and laughter are all provided.

starry night photography at the resort at paws up

Starry Night Photography: August 11-14, 2017

Get to know acclaimed ranch-life photographer and Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree Barbara Van Cleve while taking part in a unique and captivating photography workshop. Known for her spectacular nighttime imagery, Van Cleve will instruct workshop participants on how to capture vivid, dreamy photographs under a starry, moonlit sky. With more than 50 solo photography exhibits to her name and a lifetime of experience in the West and on ranches, she’ll show you new ways of visualizing, conceptualizing and capturing the images you want to share with the world. You might also run into her on a trail ride or around a campfire.

champion horsemanship at the resort at paws up

Champion Horsemanship: August 11-14, 2017

Take your horsemanship skills up a notch with instruction from the real deal, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree Barbara Schulte. With an emphasis on mental toughness, she’s helped elite riders all over the country reach their full potential. Here, with her guidance, you’ll focus on control as you wind through obstacle courses along scenic trails, and you’ll practice your aim on horseback with water-gun mounted shooting. Class sizes are small, and you’ll have ample opportunity to get to know this horse-riding legend. It’s a fun and exciting way to learn just what it takes to be an authentic champion cowboy or cowgirl.