Taste of Billings: Questions for James Honaker, Bistro Enzo

Bistro EnzoThe second annual Taste of Billings, featuring two nights of fine dining at the historic Billings Depot on Montana Avenue, is set for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 5 and 6.

The Saturday night formal dinner will feature a seven-course meal, each plate paired with a wine. All proceeds will go to support the nonprofit Billings Depot. More information is available on the depot website.

In advance of the affair, Alexander Clark and Bryce Turcotte of Stodgy, a new creative marketing company in Billings, met with the seven chefs who will be serving up the Saturday feast, Turcotte to shoot portraits of them and Clark to ask them to describe the course they will be serving and to ask them five questions about food.

Turcotte and Clark donated their services to the Billings Depot and are allowing Last Best News to run the photos and Q&A’s. Today’s chef, James Honaker of Bistro Enzo, was not available for a photograph.

Course: Entrée

Description: “Smoked Trout a la Winold Reiss,” is an homage to a great trout dish I ate in a Great Northern dining car in 1966. As a child I used to collect Great Northern Railway calendars featuring Native Americans illustrated by the artist Winold Reiss. The plating of the dish will reflect this.

Five Questions:

  1. Favorite guilty pleasure food or eatery?


2. If you weren’t a chef what would you be doing?


3. Dish on your menu that you eat the most?

Any decent staff meal. Like many cooks, I seldom eat at my own restaurant.

4. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Pristine fish

5. Person you would love to cook for?

Back in the late 1980s I sent an application, in poor French, to Giradet, a restaurant in Crissier, Switzerland. The chef, Freddy Giradet, had never allowed an American to work in his legendary restaurant. I applied as a dishwasher, and mentioned that we shared a mutual love for cycling. I didn’t get the job, but he did reply with a personal letter.

Monday: Tim Zimbelman, chef at Jake’s West End.

Tuesday: Stephen Hindman, Stacked.

Wednesday: Wally Bone, TEN.

About Ed Kemmick

Ed Kemmick has been a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist since 1980. Except for four years in his home state of Minnesota, he has spent his entire journalism career in Montana, working in Missoula, Anaconda, Butte and Billings. "The Big Sky, By and By," a collection of some of his newspaper stories and columns, plus a few essays and one short story, was published in 2011.

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