Flavors Under the Big Sky

Third Monday of Each Month from 6:30-7:00PM

Host Stella Fong shares her personal love of food and wine in this monthly series. Celebrate the bounty of the region with Flavors Under the Big Sky.

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Stella Fong

The word “sassy” exhales confidence and liveliness with irreverence sifted in. The Sassy Biscuit Co. in downtown Billings bakes up such sassiness that it has become one of the more popular places in town for brunch. Founder and owner Jilan Johnson opened the bruncherie serving breakfast  everyday and into the evenings from Wednesdays to Saturday in 2018.

Stella Fong

When stepping from Montana Avenue into Veronika’s Pastry Shop, an embrace of buttery and caramel goodness welcomes you. Once inside the bakery you cannot help but feel owner and baker Veronika Baukema’s love and attention she’s mixed into creating her French, Eastern European and Russian pastries. The space is bright and cozy, and Baukema’s enthusiastic welcome only invites you to collect a treat.

Lynn Donaldson, Stella Fong, Louis Habeck

Cooking in a landlocked state, away from the coastal tides of trends, three James Beard Foundation semifinalists for Best Chef of the Northwest: Dave Wells of Chico Hot Springs Resort, Jeremy Engebretson of Lilac on Montana Avenue in Billings, and James Honaker of Bistro Enzo located in Billings’ West End stand solidly under the Big Sky.

Lynn Donaldson

In 2019 Flavors Under the Big Sky: Celebrating the Bounty of the Region had many flavorful moments. I am grateful to those who shared stories of their passions in making our foodscape more delicious, but in this show I wanted to honor those women who I believed left the biggest impression.

Stella Fong

Susan Carlson remembered the poinsettias and the flocked Christmas tree at the Northern Hotel. When she was a little girl in the early 60s, this iconic hotel held the dreams of sugar plum fairies especially during the holidays. She was always in “anticipation” when she dined there with her great grandmother Emma Evers, grandmother Dorothea Wolfe and mother Bette Lindsey. The thought of going there excited her. Being there made her happy. Thinking about returning, reignited the sensations of anticipation. In time, her daughter Emily, and son Gary joined the event so looked forward to, so anticipated.

Stella Fong

Apples and fall are synonymous in my world. As cold seeps into the air and the light of day takes on shades of orange, these signs of Mother Nature tell me it’s time to pluck ripening apples from the trees. When collected, they become the treasures to be shined with a pulled down sleeve and bitten into or peeled and sliced to be baked into pies or breads. They can be concentrated into sauce or butter, preserved for future savor. But for me, the prize of the season is fresh pressed apple juice, the nectar from “the noblest of fruits” as honored by Henry David Thoreau.

Stella Fong

Bees help food grow in our world. Their work in cross pollination bring forth the seeds to about one third the farmed crops in the world. In the last years, bee keeping has become abuzz under the Big Sky. The popularity is evident with the Yellowstone BeeKeepers with a membership evolving from a handful of members to now around 60. The group that meets at the Last Chance Cider Mill on the second Tuesday of each month is a wealth of resource for the seasoned beekeeper to the novice to someone who just wants to learn.

Cierra Coppock

When going through the Flavors Under the Big Sky archives, I discovered that this blog was never posted for the show that aired in the summer of 2016. The Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market is about to end for this season, but I wanted to reshare this story about the great resource we have here in Billings. Mostly, I wanted to encourage parents to bring their children to the market and grocery stores, and let them see, taste, touch, smell and experience the bounty from Mother Nature.

Stella Fong

Flavors Under the Big Sky: Celebrating the Bounty of the Region replayed a show that aired in the spring of 2018 to pay tribute to Gene Burgad. The world lost Gene on August 14, 2018, a man who gave us food, drink, community and humor. As the co-owner of The Rex Bar and Grill for 34 years, he was ever present to welcome guests who walked into his establishment. He was influential in reforming and refashioning Montana Avenue.

Stella Fong

Under the flight approach at Bozeman Yellowstone Airport in Belgrade, there’s another winged specimen found at Cowboy Cricket Farms. Here high octane protein products are being produced from Acheta domesticus or the common house cricket by James and Kathy Rolin, the founders and owners of a business that they advertise “brings bugs to the world in fun and exciting ways.”