This author is a paid content writer for Idaho Tourism.

If you spend your free time watching shows like Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, or Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, you’ll love this behind the scenes peek into how top Idaho chefs prepare exclusive, authentic Gem State cuisine. Here, three top-tier Chefs from the Boise area talk insider tips, give insights into their unique approaches, and most importantly, share the special recipes that only a select few know how to make – until now.

Get Acquainted with Idaho’s Most Phenomenal Chefs

Chef Dean Fuller

Executive Chef Alb/Sfy Company – Albertsons

Executive Chef Dean Fuller has been mastering his craft in the foodservice business for over 28 years. Chef Fuller had classic European training as an apprentice Chef in Waikiki, Hawaii in the late 70’s and continued his passion to make all things delicious as an Executive Chef in Hawaii, Manhattan, California, and Virginia. Later, he began catering as part owner and Executive Chef of a southern California catering company. He soon found success and secured prestigious positions at the Greek Theater and Pacific Amphitheater. During his time at these highly sought after concert venues, Chef Fuller catered for the likes of the Eagles, Van Halen, and Journey, to name a few.

Yeah… that Journey.

All of this success finally led Chef Fuller to the City of Trees in 2008. He began work as the Executive Chef of Castle Ranch Steakhouse at the Boise Hotel and Conference center and he now works as the Executive Chef for Alb/Sfy Company – Albertsons. His passion for food is widely known as he uses local products, supports Idaho farmers, ranchers, and wine producers, works with local charity events, and creates sustainable menus for numerous Idaho Preferred catering events.

Chef Dean Fuller’s Short Rib Hash and Eggs

Idaho Preferred Products: Weiser River Signature beef, Vogel Farms eggs, Ballard Family Dairy cheese

Ingredients: (Serves 8)

Short ribs

  • 6 pounds beef short ribs
  • 3 tablespoons oil – divided
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stock celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

Hash and eggs

  • 4 ounces diced bacon (4-6 slices)
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 ½ pounds shredded cooked potatoes or prepared hash browns
  • 8 eggs


In large heavy oven-proof pan heat 2 tablespoons oil. In batches, sear meat on all sides. Remove from pan and season with salt and pepper.  In same pan, add remaining tablespoon of oil. Sauté carrots, celery, onion. Add spices, stock and ribs. Cover and cook in oven at 350°F for about 3 hours or until meat is tender and falling apart. Remove ribs from pan and cool slightly.  Remove meat from bones and pull apart into shreds.

For hash, melt butter in small skillet. Sauté bacon and onions. In large bowl, add sauté to shredded potatoes, mix. Add in soup and ½ of cheese. Transfer hash brown mixture to baking pan and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, in small nonstick skillet cook eggs individually until yolk is soft-set set – keep warm. To serve, place one scoop of hash brown potatoes on each plate. Top with 2-3 ounces of shredded beef and finish with cooked egg on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or place in oven to keep warm until service.


Fork, Downtown Boise
Executive Chef Kris Ott of Fork and ALAVITA, downtown Boise.

Chef Kris Ott

Executive Chef

Chef Kris Ott is the Executive Chef for Fork and ALAVITA in the heart of downtown Boise. He received his training just outside of what some would consider the food capital of the world – Paris, France. Prior to working in Boise, Chef Ott prepared five-star meals at Oliveto under renowned chef, Paul Bertolli, who was the recipient of the James Beard Award. Chef Ott now resides in Boise and works at both Fork and ALAVITA – both have outstanding reputations in the local community. Chef Ott holds high standards for quality of food, and places a stern focus on local, sustainably-sourced ingredients in both locations.

Chef Ott also ran the culinary show for the Oakland Yacht Club, where he infused his Italian training into every dish he prepared. He specializes in butchery and meats, and has an acute eye for preparing mouth-watering fresh fish. He describes fish as the perfect meal as they are delicate, beautiful in nature, and no two are the same. He has surely mastered the craft of cooking out-of-this-world trout, as anyone who has been to Fork can attest.

Chef Ott’s Pan-Roasted Hagerman Trout with Quinoa & Fresh Lentil Salad

Pan-Roasted Hagerman Trout, Fork
Chef Ott’s Pan-Roasted Hagerman Trout with Quinoa & Fresh Lentil Salad

Idaho Preferred Products: Hagerman Trout

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • ½ Cup Quinoa
  • ½ Cup Lentils
  • ½ Tbs Parsley
  • 2 Oranges – Zest & Juice
  • ½ Cup Chopped Bing Cherries (Dried)
  • Hagerman Trout

First cook the quinoa and lentils separately with one cup of water each. For quinoa bring the water to a boil then add the quinoa and simmer for ten minutes and turn off heat. Let steam for 10 minutes with the lid on to fluff the quinoa, then remove and spread onto a sheet pan to cool. To cook lentils again bring water to a boil and then add lentils – cook until they become tender, then strain from the water and rinse gently with cool water, also spread on a sheet tray to cool. Chop parsley and cherries separately, until very fine, then zest and juice your oranges. Now take all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with salt & pepper to taste and finish with olive oil.

Bring large sauté pan just to smoking point and lay in your seasoned trout skin side down – turn your heat down to medium and let the skin become beautifully crispy. When your fish becomes 2/3 cooked, turn off the heat and flip the fish and let rest in the pan. Place your crispy trout skin side up onto your quinoa & lentil salad and enjoy.

Chef Christopher Zahn

Head Chef, Cake Designer, Florist at Zee Christopher
Owner of Zee Christopher and President of the non-profit Corks 4 A Cure

Head Chef Christopher Zhan has been creating delicious dishes here in the Treasure Valley for years. As the owner of Zee Christopher, he has polished his talents in catering, floral design, and wedding cakes, along with running Zee’s Rooftop Cafe. In 2011, Chef Zahn was a recognized as one of the Idaho Business Review’s 40 Accomplished Under 40.

That’s not all, to add to his impressive culinary résumé, Chef Zhan provides his services to the Idaho Food Bank Empty Bowls, and acts as a role model for local chefs in the community. In addition Chef Zahn was the spokesmodel for Idaho Preferred in 2010, a featured caterer at Savor Idaho for four years, a multiple award winner at the Taste of Idaho three years in a row, and the St. Alphonsus Festival of Trees 1st place award winner in 2011 and 2012. He spends his free time contributing to Think First Boise, the Boise Chamber of Commerce, American Culinary Federation, Leadership Boise, and the Treasure Valley Food Coalition.

Chef Christopher Zahn’s Colorful Curried Vegetables

Chef Christopher Zahn’s Colorful Curried Vegetables
Chef Christopher Zahn’s Colorful Curried Vegetables

Idaho Preferred Products: Wissel Farms carrots and beets, Cox honey

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 1 large red beet, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Blanch each vegetable separately in boiling salted water so the colors stay true, approximately 10-15 minutes or until al dente. Cool all vegetables and hold. When ready to serve, add the yellow curry powder to a warm sauté pan and allow the spices to heat and release their aroma, about 30 seconds. Add butter, honey, carrots and golden beets and sauté for 1 minute. Add red beets, lime juice, salt and fresh pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Now that you’ve read all about some of Idaho’s most renowned chefs, it’s time to do some dicing and slicing of your own. Be sure to give these recipes a go and send us a picture using #VisitIdaho on Instagram, or share your meal with Visit Idaho on Facebook. Let’s see what ya got!

Tyler Schnur

Published on May 10, 2016