Learn What Local Chefs Like to Cook and Eat in Their Own Home Kitchens

Treasure Valley is home to some world-class, award-winning chefs. This month we are getting to know three of them a little better. Take a look at what they like to do when they are away from their restaurants and what they make and eat at home. 

Richard Langston

Owner/executive chef, Richard’s

500 Capitol Blvd. Suite 100, Boise, Idaho, 208.472.1463 RichardsBoise.com 

Describe your restaurant in 25 words or less.  

Modern and elegant yet comfortable. Seasonal food, well-prepared, but accessible.

When did you decide you were going to have a career as a chef? 

Growing up in a small town in Louisiana, I had two grandmothers nearby who were wonderful home cooks. I learned to make things like gumbo, fried chicken, greens and other country fare for big crowds. Sunday dinner had from 10 to 20 people every week. After college, my job as a cost accountant took me to San Francisco. I was wowed by the food scene there and continued to cook for myself and my friends while eating out. Fast forward a few years, I was married with a small baby and unhappy working in the corporate environment. My wife arranged a tour for us—yes, we took our 6-month-old baby—at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and I knew I had to enroll. I quit accounting and worked full-time in two different restaurants in Palo Alto while attending school, and six months after graduation, I was made chef at La Pastaia. I’m not sure I knew I wanted to be a chef until I set foot in the CCA, but I’ve never looked back!

How do you spend your free time? 

We live right on the Boise River, so I like to get outside and take advantage of the Green Belt. I also love to entertain—you’d think I get enough of that at work. We have lots of friends who are also great cooks, so it’s fun to cook for each other and drink wine! We also love to travel when possible and eat out in other cities—very inspiring!

What are your favorite things to eat at home?

Whatever my wife cooks! She’s a great home cook, by the way. We tend to eat pretty simply—lean proteins, lots of veggies in season. But fall and winter bring out the big gumbo pot. I love to revisit my Louisiana roots and cook gumbo, jambalaya and chicken and dumplings. We usually have a gumbo party in December, so I think this is one of my favorite dishes to make—getting the roux just right is an art! I always make sausage and chicken gumbo, and for special occasions, like the party, I’ll make a seafood gumbo with shrimp and oysters.

Dustan Bristol

Owner/executive chef, Brick 29

320 11th Ave. S Suite 300, Nampa, Idaho, 208.468.0029, Brick29.com

Describe your restaurant in 25 words or less.

Modern American bistro with seasonal menu changes utilizing local ingredients

When did you decide you were going to have a career as a chef?

When I was 25. I had worked in kitchens from the age of 17-22 and got a little burned out. I went to work in a sawmill in North Idaho and had my 25th birthday at work. I realized I am now a quarter of a century old and I did not want to end up like my coworkers that were making great money but hated the job. I went to culinary school later that year.

How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy lawn work, fishing, dirt biking, hiking or anything that is outdoors. We tend to spend many hours inside, sometimes with minimal natural sunlight, so I enjoy the opposite on my days off.

What are your favorite things to eat at home? 

I enjoy dishes with developed flavor. Right now I am big into smoking and Indian cuisine. If I am short for time to actually prepare, then I like to be creative with items that I find in my fridge or pantry, like herb grilled fish with local doughnut peach salsa.

Aaron Wermerskirchen

Executive chef, Juniper Juniper

211 N. Eighth St, Boise, Idaho, 208.342.1142, JuniperOn8th.com

Describe your restaurant in 25 words or less.

We support as many local providers as we can. Our wine list is mainly Idaho winemakers, and our menu changes seasonally with what is available. 

When did you decide you were going to have a career as a chef?

I started working in a real kitchen after I quit my house painting job. Our boss wanted us to paint a huge church with no scaffolding—pretty sketchy, time to switch jobs. That’s when I started working in a restaurant called the Victoria House in Victoria, Minnesota. I loved the speed and the family-like way the kitchen would knock food out. I started taking things seriously and learning under my first chef, Ricardo Salazar. He was tough, quick-witted and talented. I am still striving to get to his level.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend most of my time with my family and love playing and watching sports of all kinds.

What are your favorite things to eat at home? 

I love to make a BLT salad with a rotating vinaigrette created with ingredients I have around the house, but it mainly consists of lettuce, bacon, avocado, cucumber, halloumi or feta cheese and my wife’s homemade croutons.