Many mix their business with pleasure by going to events at Montana’s Resort at Paws Up that are designed to “deliver equally on adventure and cuisine.”
A recent article in Travel Weekly featured the Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre, luxury ranch resort in Montana that has become a favored destination for vacationing chefs. Chefs who head to Paws Up who are lured by the chance to combine adventure pursuits such as fly-fishing, horseback riding and hiking with special culinary-themed events, including the annual Montana Master Chefs (MMC) weekend.
The MMC event has become so popular, in fact, that when it is held later this year in September, the guest chefs will be celebrity alums of the “Top Chef” television show, who will mingle with hotel visitors both at the dining table and in the surrounding mountains, Travel Weekly reported.
In addition to competitive cook-offs held at Paws Up, guests and chefs can fish together, forage for fresh produce at local farms and markets, hobnob at the outdoor spa and break bread in a variety of scenic settings, Travel Weekly reported.
“The positioning of the brand—a ranch and a resort—dictates that we deliver equally on adventure and cuisine,” Larry Lipson, owner of Paws Up, told Travel Weekly. “It’s our mission to be equally well known for both, and we have made them both cornerstones of the brand.”
The MMC is one of eight annual culinary events Paws Up puts on every year, Travel Weekly reported; others include Montana Master Grillers and Upper Crust, a camp featuring pie chef Kate McDermott, Travel Weekly reported.
The first MMC was in 2006, created to showcase the resort’s culinary offerings and to attract couples, honeymooners, girlfriend getaways and small groups to the resort off-season in September.
While the visiting chefs at those early events were well-known, Lipson told Travel Weekly, “we discovered that Bravo Top Chefs have the ideal chemistry for the event… because they welcome a challenge and they enjoy mixing it up with guests.”
All chefs and winemakers are required to host at least one wilderness activity during the weekend, and they tap a number of guests to be sous chefs during the cook-off on the last night.
“An additional evolution of culinary events at Paws Up is the integration of national entertainment,” Lipson said. “ ‘American Idol’ [contestant] Crystal Bowersox played Montana Master Grillers last Memorial Day weekend, and ‘The Voice’ finalist, Seth Bradley, will be playing two shows during the upcoming Montana Master Chefs in the fall.”
During MMC, the days’ events are topped off with five-course dinners for guests, prepared by the Top Chefs and paired with wines from local wineries, Travel Weekly reported. The resort also offers some 50 outdoor activities, from go-kart racing to cattle drives, rappelling, ATV touring and archery.
This year, Travel Weekly reported, an all-women team of host chefs will be featured, including Brooke Williamson from Playa del Rey, Calif.; Elizabeth Binder of Napa, Calif.; Ariane Durate from Montclair, N.J, and Kelly Liken of Vail, Colo.
The three-night weekend is priced from $926 per person per night (double occupancy), Travel Weekly reported, and includes airport transfers from Missoula Airport, accommodations and all of the dining, wine and activities.