This post was submitted Trapper Badovinac
Background: Many people on this forum are interested in working as a camp cook. What I’ve discovered over the past few years is there are a lot of outfitters who have no problem finding guides and wranglers, but are continually looking for a good cook. A few years ago I had one outfitter try to steal me away from another outfitter and it turned into a pretty heated argument between the two. The outfitter clients pay top dollar for hunting and fishing trips and they are no longer tolerant of eating freeze-dried meals or processed food.
When an outfitter goes looking for a cook many turn to LeRee and Cody Hensen of Royal Tine because they run schools and have a solid reputation of only recommending the very best. I’ve personally gotten work from three different outfitters after being recommended by Cody and LeRee.
Several years ago I attended Royal Tine Outdoor Cooking School in Phillipsburg, Montana. I was on a writing assignment for Northwest Travel Magazine. I expected to learn a bit, I ended up being blown away.
At the time I saw this experience as a learning vacation in one of the most spectacular settings in the world. Camp chef LeRee Hensen teaches what many consider a lost art, but it’s not in some fancy kitchen in a big metropolitan city; it’s in the wilds of western Montana. If you love to cook outdoors, this may very well be your dream vacation as you learn in real time while cooking for a guide and packer school.
During the course of the week I prepared many familiar things like cowboy coffee, scrambled eggs, and pancakes. The fifteen-pound turkey in a fire pit wasn’t something I’d ever had the courage to try on my own, and baking apple pies in a Dutch oven was a challenge I’d fail at too many times in my past I had given up trying again.
Sour dough breads and donuts along with Dutch oven lasagna flavored with fresh morel mushrooms have enhanced my culinary skills as well as my palette.
And LeRee Hensen is the best of teachers; she’s at hand to answer any question, but let’s the students participate instead of simply watch. The experience was one I’ll never forget and I used what I learned to put smiles on the faces of friends and family. Everyone knows that food always tastes better outdoors, but truly well prepared, great food outdoors will make the cook a legend.
If your goal is to work part time or seasonally as a camp cook, or if you just want to expand your own cooking techniques, I highly recommend you attend this class. It made me a much better cook and it opened the doors for me to earn extra money in some of the most beautiful places on earth.