The Lakeside Motel and Resort in Trout Creek has brought in guest chef Alex Mayberry from La Manzanilla, Jalisco, Mexico for two months to the local Trout Creek business.
Owner Jake Rostker said that he and Mayberry had met last year while she was up for the summer as their families are mutual friends.
Once they got to chatting, both Rostker and Mayberry were excited about the prospect of her coming back up to Trout Creek this summer and enjoying a bit of a working vacation — bringing some 16 years of culinary skills and tastes to both locals and guests.
“I’ve got recipes spanning over 16 years, and it has been so much fun being able to share some favorite dishes here at the Lakeside,” said Mayberry.
The long-standing chef — who also owns a restaurant in her now hometown of La Manzanilla in Mexico — said that she is loving the experience of being a guest chef here in Montana while visiting with her parents and enjoying the mountain surroundings.
Originally from Alaska, she owned a restaurant there before making a move to Mexico.
“My parents went down to Mexico and looked to retire, but said they were bored. So they invested in a restaurant down there but didn’t realize all the aspects that came with it. So they apprenticed under me, and it evolved into me moving down to Mexico and opening Magnolia’s Kitchen and Drinks,” she explained.
Mayberry went on to say that she along with her parents have found a real love of the culinary arts, and have been able to grow the restaurant dream successfully through all their individual talents.
Furthermore, she said that one of the bigger draw cards for her being in Mexico is the location and the small town where she and her staff can go to many local markets each day for fresh produce and supplies keeping the kitchen fun and inventive with her dishes.
Uniquely astounding is Mayberry’s love for conversing with her clientele even when cooking.
“Our restaurant is set up with the bar and kitchen in the middle with an open floor concept, so I can be fully transparent to diners, and I also have the ability to visit with them while I am cooking,” she said with a big smile.
“Even though I am in the back kitchen here, I make a point to come out and visit with diners here at the Lakeside each night I am cooking. I want to make sure they are loving the meal and also that it is part of the experience I like to give as a chef,” she explained.
Having her own flare and style about her approach to cooking and running a kitchen, Mayberry said that she has been having the best time while in Trout Creek and some of the dishes she has already produced are making a second appearance on the menu as diners have requested.
“I love getting feedback because I like to push the envelope a little with my dishes and it’s really been welcomed here by people who have come by for a meal,” Mayberry said.
With each menu that changes each night of Mayberry taking the reins in the kitchen, she has partnered up with senior bar staff member Teresa Jackson to create a specialty drink to match the dishes on offer.
“Teresa has done an amazing job with coming up with a specialty drink for each menu and I think it really helps take that dining experience to the next level and people are enjoying them,” Mayberry explained.
Last Thursday evening saw Jackson create a Bourbon Cider Sour to match the menu with a slice of red apple to garnish on the top rim.
The drink was a perfect match to any of the dishes that were up on offer — from the starters being either Cortzo Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms or the Martini Mashed Potatoes. Both plates holding their own as individuals had stark contrasts and surprisingly satisfying tastes that lingered on the palate buds.
Dishes you would quickly see in big city five-star celebrity dining, the stuffed mushrooms were packed full of flavor coming from the Mexican sausage used. While the Martini Mashed Potatoes had an unusual combination of flavors that one would not think could mesh well, but turned into an experience — allowing the palate to be prepared for the main course to come.
The dish encompassed butter poached shrimp and capers, on top of a creamy mashed potato finished with vermouth and lemon — all sitting the perfect serving size in a martini glass.
On hand for the main course meal, diners had the choice of the Warm Red Cabbage Salad or Beef Wellington. An extraordinary catch of the day was also on offer, and that was a Salmon Wellington that perfectly matched its counterpart for those that preferred the sea of the land.
The Red Cabbage Salad once again matched the signature drink of the night. A combination of cider dijon bacon dressing, dried cranberries, pecans, green onions and gorgonzola crumble — the taste from plate to mouth was a genuinely tantalizing experience.
A combination of flavors, once again that would not necessarily figure to match, worked a treat.
When asking Mayberry on her dish inspirations, she said she pulls inspiration for her culinary creations from a number different aspects in the world around her.
Rostker said that having Mayberry at the resort as a guest since the beginning of August has been a massive hit for the business with plenty of locals coming back multiple times to experience her array of dishes.
“It’s an opportunity to allow people an experience they wouldn’t normally get exposed to in this kind of area. Its an experience that you only really get to have on a vacation or in a big city setting,” he said. “It’s not just an experience for guest and locals, its an experience for us as well. Having her bring her unique style as a chef here she’s been able to make it a success in Trout Creek for diners and our staff as well.”
Rostker said that Mayberry’s outgoing, professional and passionate personality for her craft and people has been a huge hit and they are already talking about next year’s visit.
“This was something fun and different that we all can enjoy, from the community to the staff to myself. It’s been a great exposure to fantastic food and friendship that has proven a really positive outcome all-around,” he said.
Mayberry will continue her guest chef duties at the Lakeside Motel and Resort in Trout Creek through September before she heads home to Mexico. Those in the county who wish to have a taste of one of her many outstanding dishes only have a couple more weeks before you have to wait until her return next summer.