Third Chef at The Resort at Paws Up Earns James Beard Nomination

The Resort at Paws Up in Montana now has three James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs on staff. The nomination further solidifies the 37,000-acre privately owned ranch’s reputation as a preferred culinary destination in the Western U.S. with its seven dining options. Within The Resort at Paws Up is its adults-only experience, the green o. Debuted in 2021, its executive chef, Brandon Cunningham, has earned the ranch’s latest James Beard Foundation nomination for the Best Chef: Mountain category.

Executive Chef Brandon Cunningham’s approach to the tasting menu at the green o’s signature restaurant, Social Haus, is a representation of his “ego-less” culinary philosophy. The chef concocts his menus the night before, so guests never truly know what surprise they are going to get.

At Paws Up, Executive Pastry Chef Krystle Swenson is a two-time James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef, working alongside Cunningham at Social Haus in 2021 as well as at Crawford & Sons restaurants in Raleigh, NC. From deconstructing s’mores into a masterful chip and dip creation, to texture-rich ice cream with bold colors and herbaceous flavors, those with a sweet tooth have met their match.

Now General Manager of Food & Beverage at The Resort at Paws Up, Sunny Jin originally joined as an executive chef. He brings his James Beard nomination from Jory Restaurant at The Allison Inn & Spa in the Willamette Valley. What drew him to Montana was the simplicity of the destination and the challenge of mastering its cuisine.

Guests can try the dishes crafted by each of these chefs and their counterparts year-round across the multitude of dining outlets on-site—from the adults-only Social Haus at the green o, to the traditional fine Western dining at Pomp, more casual fare at Tank and Trough, and seasonal options such as live fire cooking at Shed, beloved glamping Camp Dining, and outdoor culinary pop-ups, BBQ at The Yard and Chuck Wagon Dinners.

2024 Culinary Events

Visitors can also witness these chefs collaborating with culinary talent from around the country during three culinary events. Be it a springtime celebration of powerhouse women in culinary or a late summer roundup of the best culinary talent in the nation, foodies and adventure seekers alike can savor the talents of these chefs through dining events held year-round at the ranch. Events include: 

The Wonder Women of Food & Wine (April 26-28, 2024) – Guests will have the chance to sip and sample the chefs’ artistry, then learn the stories, tips and tricks to their culinary journeys and successes. Paws Up’s Executive Pastry Chef Krystle Swenson is joined by guest chefs including Chef Duskie Estes of Farm to Pantry, Chef Crista Leudtke of boon eat + drink, and master sommelier support from Austin’s June Rodil.

Montana Master Grillers (May 24-27, 2024) – This year, Paws Up spotlights female pit masters who will showcase their skills with grilled ranch-to-table cuisine paired with local craft beverages. In addition to BBQ, the event offers live music, family activities and outdoor adventures in Montana’s wilderness. Guest chefs include Chef Megan Day of Burnt Finger BBQ, Chef Erica Blaire Roby of Blue Smoke Blaire, Chef Erin Smith of Feges BBQ and Chef Lee Ann Whippen.

Montana Master Chefs (August 30–September 2, 2024) – Early autumn in Montana brings an abundance of fresh ingredients, which Paws Up celebrates each September at this event. Over the Labor Day weekend, guest chefs prepare creative American cuisine showcasing seasonal flavors, complemented by wines and local craft beverages. Live music sets the tone and guests can work up an appetite on outdoor excursions in the ranch’s wilderness.

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