Montana Mex “Grow a Meal” Series
As a professional Chef and owner of the national food brand Montana Mex, I have spent a career cooking for others and curiously exploring how my personal mantra of Fire, Food and Friends can bring community together through inspiration and activated purpose.
I’ve always dreamt that Montana Mex would be more than a food brand and truly grow into its purpose as an authentic community builder and during the summer of 2019, while partnered with Royal Oak we did just that. In joining forces, we connected with a local Montana organization, Big Sky Youth Empowerment, whose mission is to provide opportunities for at-risk teenagers to experience success. Having been labeled as an “at-risk youth” myself, it was a core tenant within this program for Montana Mex to transmit the safe haven that I had found in cooking, which helped me establish my own value within adolescence. By creating a three-part series over the course of the summer we were able to invite BYEP to my home and garden to introduce the importance of a natural and organic food shared experience. BYEP empowers upcoming generations and I felt as though their mission aligned with my own organic values stream of being outside, recreating and most importantly realizing one’s own value and worth.
Through the “Grow a Meal” series, I wanted to expose the group to the lifecycle of a plate of food. Teaching how a recipe goes from seed to meal, filled with a healthy amount of natural lessons and skillsets. There is a lot of hard work that goes into gardening and farming. I wanted to share this space and invite others to grow, create and learn. I was motivated in inviting the group to not just share a meal but to share in the food experience, from growth to grill to grub.
Witnessing and being present for the growth and joy they felt in hard work, cooking and coming together was a highlight of my summer and grilling on Royal Oak hardwood lump charcoal was the perfect tool/partner in bringing this community together.