A Carnivore’s Dream with Chef Dave Martin @ Sun Valley HarvestFestival

There’s nothing I like more with a thoughtfully crafted meal with friends while meeting new people.

Wait, check that.

There is something I like more – a thoughtfully crafted meal with good friends and new ones when that meal is prepared by a dynamic personality whose love of cooking oozes out of his pores.

Just like ambiance can make or break a meal, so can the personality of the chef behind the meal.


In the case of the Carnivore’s Dream dinner pre-event for the Sun Valley Harvest Festival - Chef Dave Martin (of Top Chef fame) ratcheted up the evening with his wit, enthusiasm and pure joy for the experience and engagement with the dinner crowd of 70.

Enough of my blathering – let’s get to the true star of the show – the amazing spread prepared by Chef Dave and local Chef Brent Barsotti. Here is the nom-worthy menu, chock full of local meats and produce courtesy Idaho’s Bounty, Snake River Farms, Ballard Cheese, Teton Waters Ranch and Bucksnort Root Beer.


  • Dave’s Ginger POM Martini made with American Harvest Organic Vodka
  • Local Idaho Trout–Gravlax Style, short cured with Idaho Potato Tuile Topped with Local Chevre
  • Bounty of Local Idaho Cheeses from Ballard Cheese, Dried Fruits, Nuts and Idaho Honey

Dinner Menu

Salad of Duck Confit-Idaho Duck, Oven Roasted Pears, Nutmeg Walnuts, Apple Cider Vinaigrette, a sprinkle of Bleu Cheese and a pinch of Frisee


Citrus Marinated Idaho Grass Fed Teton Waters Ranch Skirt Steak over Roasted Corn Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette


Brent’s Famous Fava Bean Tortellini with sauce of Butternut Squash topped with Grana Padano and Fried Sage


Bucksnort Root Beer Braised Snake River Farms Pork atop Wild Cherrywood Bacon & Goat Cheese Grits drizzled with Dave’s Roasted Poblano BBQ Sauce


Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Molasses Cookie and Salted Chantilly Cream

A few observations from this extremely happy foodie:

  • I enjoy eating a confit as much as I enjoy saying the word.
  • Roasted corn salad comes alive when with a light and refreshing vinaigrette and can trump a hella-good skirt steak.
  • Fava beans AREN’T just for the enjoyment of creepy Hannibal Lector. Puree and add in some marscapone cheese and it’s a fab filling.
  • Who knew that root beer was for braising? 
  • Hello! Grits? When you are combined with bacon and silky smooth goat cheese you are elevated to foodgasm status.
  • Salt can pop anything. Forget salted caramels – my new favorite end to a fabulous meal is a kick-ass panna cotta with salted cream to pop that flavor.
  • You always meet entertaining people at group dinners. Case in point – the crew from Sysco Idaho. It was a true pleasure meeting the corporate Chef Randy King and I can’t wait to hear him emcee’ing the Chef Demos.
  • Chef Dave is a gem – and his personal attention to every diner’s happiness made the event.


Here’s to a foodie heaven weekend up in the mountains! The Sun Valley Harvest Festival officially kicks off tonight with a Restaurant Walk and events throughout the entire weekend (p.s. there is still time to come imbibe & indulge!) Check the website and the festival program for more information. 


– Jess Flynn

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