Schedule Spotlight 1: Monteillet Fromagerie & Ludivine


We just released our schedule of Outstanding in the Field events for 2013. There are so many amazing chefs and farms that we work with across the country that we want you to know about! Every day leading up to our March 20th on-sale date we will shine the spotlight on one restaurant and one farm, tell you why we love them and why you should too. Watch for the daily post on our blog- we’ll be sure to mention it on Facebook and Twitter too.

Monteillet Fromagerie

Photo Credit: Monteillet Fromagerie

Who: Joan & Pierre Louis Monteillet, Monteillet Fromagerie
What: French Alpine Goats, Friesan & Lacaune sheep for farmstead artisan cheese
When: Thursday, July 18
Where: Dayton, WA – 28 miles northeast of Walla Walla; about 4.5 hrs from Portland, OR or Seattle, WA

The Love Story: Joan (from Washington state) & Pierre Louis (from France) met while traveling in Mexico in the late 70s. Six weeks after their meeting, Pierre Louis hitchhiked his way up to Walla Walla to find Joan, who was working as a chef at the time. “This began their odyssey of 33 years of love, farming and building a lifestyle based on authentic respect for each other’s cultures.” For the past 10+ years they have been making small batch, French-style artisan cheeses, raising the sheep and goats right on their farm.

Why we love this dinner: Joan and Pierre-Louis are those farmers that linger in your thoughts long after visiting their farm. They make you feel like family before they even know you. We usually plan an extra day or two into our schedule, just so we can spend some extra time at the Monteillet Farm. They are type of farmers that make you want to be a farmer, to throw your iPhone off a bridge and roll around in the wheat fields. You could be in Southern France. Pierre-Louis and Joan could be from Neptune. It doesn’t matter. It’s great food, great wine, great scenery and really great people. Plus, they make cheese, so there will be plenty on the dinner menu! While this is chef Hannah MacDonald of Brasserie Four’s first time headlining the event, she has helped out in the kitchen for the past 2 OITF events at the Monteillet’s. We’re sure her French-style cooking with be a great match, along with the many amazing wines that the Walla Walla region has to offer.

Check out this video from our 2011 dinner at Monteillet Fromagerie here!

Tickets for the July 18 event at Monteillet Fromagerie become available on March 20 on our website here.

Jonathon Stranger & Russ Johnson, Ludivine

Who: Jonathon Stranger & Russ Johnson, co-chefs & owners of Ludivine, Oklahoma City
When: Saturday, October 19
Where: Wichita Buffalo Co at Sandy Springs Farms, Hinton, OK – about 1 hour due West of Oklahoma City

How we found Russ & Jonathon: We’re constantly researching up-and-coming chefs with the right idea, who could potentially partner with OITF. Before 2012, we had never been to Oklahoma. When we came across Ludivine, Jonathon and Russ were quick to respond to our inquiry; they were aware of Outstanding in the Field and even had Jim’s “Outstanding in the Field: A Farm to Table Cookbook” in their kitchen library. Just a couple of weeks after our correspondence they were named Food & Wine Magazine’s People’s Best New Chef nominees. We hope they continue to get the recognition they deserve!

Last year’s event in Oklahoma: The OITF crew arrived at Crestview Farms (site of our 2012 OITF event in Oklahoma) the night before the event. Jonathon made the 45 minute drive out to the farm after service on a Saturday night just to check in and say hello. The next day was windy and picturesque. The dinner menu featured quail, Berkshire pork shoulder, and barbacoa Kiko goat, a heritage breed originating in New Zealand, served with housemade flatbread and a harissa yogurt aioli.  It’s a special thing when chefs inherently understand farm dinner-ing. And it’s even more special when they can take their own style and merge it so seamlessly with ours… on their FIRST TRY. And it’s REALLY special when they hang out afterwards and drink beer with us around a fire.

The Ludivine crew was a blast, and they even made this cool video at the event. While you’re at it, take a look at the other videos on Ludivine’s Youtube channel. They highlight many of the farmers around Oklahoma that they source ingredients from (including Sandy Springs Farms, where we’re headed for the event in October)!

Tickets for the October 19  event with Ludivine become available on March 20 on our website here.