WHITEFISH - A young couple in Whitefish are quickly making a name for themselves as they advance the culinary experience in Flathead County.
Chefs Sam Bassett and Sarah Nangle returned home to the Flathead Valley after spending a decade working at various high-end restaurants across the Pacific Northwest to start their own business — Forage Catering.
The Whitefish Pilot recently announced Bassett was voted Best Chef in Whitefish despite not working at a formal restaurant.
“Inspirational to see what we can do to further fine dining in Montana,” said Bassett.
Bassett and Nangle have been bringing world-class, locally sourced meals directly to your home.
“We use a lot of French culinary techniques and Montana ingredients, but we take flavors around the world and give people an experience that they may not have in Montana which is super exciting.”
A Kila native, Bassett honed his craft working under James Beard Award winning chefs in Portland, while Nangle, a Whitefish High School grad, mastered the world of pastries studying at Le Cordon Bleu.
“It kind of gives us the opportunity to keep everything in-house with Forage so I’m able to kind of handle the sweets ends of things and Sam of course is in charge of the savory,” added Nangle.
With uncertainty in the restaurant business during the beginning of the pandemic, Bassett and Nangle quit their jobs and decided to start a culinary endeavor in the Flathead.
“We saw that catering and in-home fine dining was kind of a safe avenue during the height of COVID or the beginning of COVID, where we could go into someone’s home wearing masks and they could have just their friends over rather than going into a busy restaurant, so it kind of started from that format and blossomed from there,” said Bassett.
Forage now caters weddings, office parties and special pop-up events, using locally sourced Montana ingredients, to bring an eclectic range of flavors from cultures around the world.
“Local ingredients are very suitable for all sorts of world flavors that we haven’t tried before, that end up working on the plate,” added Bassett.
Nangle said Forage offers up to five course meals, their menu consisting of staples such as braised wagyu beef short ribs and grilled Bison Tenderloin, to rotating favorites depending on the season and fresh ingredients.
“So, it makes our job a lot easier when we are not having to manipulate ingredients and just let them stand on their own because they’re raised with a lot of care and pride,” Said Nangle.
Bassett said their locally sourced menu would not be possible without the recent influx of natural-grow farmers and ranchers in the Flathead.
“We’re just blown away from the different ranchers and farmers from Hansen Farms, Two-Bear Farms, Raven Ridge Farms, all of our friends around the valley that we’ve established connections with, it’s been truly incredible, and it makes our job so much easier,” said Bassett.
Reservations for Forage Catering can be made online.