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Flavors: The Women Flavor Makers of 2019

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.

Credit Stella Fong
Robin Bequet started Bequet Confections in Bozeman at Four Corners in 2001 on a shoestring. These days Bequet caramels come in thirteen flavors and is known throughout the world.

I learned about bugs this year. I had eaten insects before in my travels and have received gifts from friends, but Dr. Florence Dunkel, Associate Professor of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology at Montana State University Bozeman infected me with her love of eating bugs. After helping judge the 2nd Annual Bug Cookoff I learned firsthand how these protein-filled creatures could be tasty additions to my table.

Robin Bequet of Bequet Confections in Bozeman provided a mini lesson in creating a successful business. The company that began with two caramels now has thirteen different kinds 20 years later. The secret to Bequet’s success is to have a plan and stick to it.

Credit Lynn Donaldson
Claudia Krevat of Claudia’s Mesa showcases Montana’s legumes through her childhood flavors from Colombia.

Lane Giguiere of Matchbook Wine Company participated in the 2019 MSU Billings Foundation Wine and Food Festival as one of the Winemasters along with her husband John and Penfolds Brand Ambassador Ewan Proctor. With her husband, Giguiere were pioneers when they started R. H. Phillips in Yolo County, outside of Sacramento California in 1984. She provided sage advice on enjoying wine.

Credit Stella Fong
Co-founder of R.H. Phillips Winery in 1984, Land Giguiere is one of the women pioneers in the wine industry. These days she owns Matchbook Wine Company with her husband John.

Kim Mueller buzzed listeners with the life of bees from her Worden garden. With her kindergarten teacher affect combined with light-hearted enthusiasm and giddiness, we learned of how to raise bees. The result of her nurturing and the work of her bees was what she called “liquid sunshine.”

Sunshine also shined into the greenhouse at Swanky Roots just outside Billings towards Laurel. Owners daughter Veronnaka Evenson and mother Ronna Klamert run an aquaponics operation incorporating blue gill to raise lettuce and microgreens. Their operation allows for eternal spring making available fresh greens to the community year-round.

We can only smile when we see Claudia Krevat’s name. She exudes enthusiasm and good spirits. With her food inspired by her childhood in Colombia, she is the spokeswoman for Timeless Natural Food, a company that introduced alternative replenishment for rebuilding soils such as the planting of lentils. After discovering these colorful legumes on a grocery shelf, Krevat has shared the benefits and deliciousness of this crop with her creative dishes through popup dinners in Bozeman.

Credit Stella Fong
Eternal spring grows lettuce year-round at Swanky Roots by Ronna Klamert and Veronnaka Evenson.

Finally Executive Chef Lisa Rembold who took the helm of the Northern Hotel kitchen over a year ago hopes her passion for sharing food will make memories for guest who eat in the TEN dining room. These days Rembold is heading up an all-woman managing team. She held the passion so many in the business of food possess. This love of food carries those who feed us through the long hours and hard work.

Hosting Flavors Under the Big Sky: Celebrating the Bounty of the Region has been a tremendous gift. Show after show I discover those who grow, create and cook, making our place under the Big Sky more delicious. I am grateful for your efforts. May 2020 bring more flavorful moments.

Credit Stella Fong
Executive Chef Lisa Rembold of the Northern Hotel oversees special events and TEN by sharing her passion for food and making memories.


Stella Fong shares her personal love of food and wine through her cooking classes and wine seminars as well as through her contributions to Yellowstone Valley Woman, and Last Best News and The Last Best Plates blogs. Her first book, Historic Restaurants of Billings hit the shelves in November of 2015 with Billings Food available in the summer of 2016. After receiving her Certified Wine Professional certification from the Culinary Institute of America with the assistance of a Robert Parker Scholarship for continuing studies, she has taught the Wine Studies programs for Montana State University Billings Wine and Food Festival since 2008. She has instructed on the West Coast for cooking schools such as Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, Macy’s Cellars, and Gelsons, and in Billings, at the Billings Depot, Copper Colander, Wellness Center, the YMCA and the YWCA. Locally she has collaborated with Raghavan Iyer and Christy Rost in teaching classes.