Steelhead Trout, creamy umami barley with shiitake mushrooms, charred cabbage wedge, topped with ginger pickled cabbage and ginger dashi miso broth. PHOTO COURTESY OF GRACE GANOOM-GREIN

A switch

Grace Ganoom-Grein steps into a cooking adventure

Big Sky is a hard place to get to, and an even harder place to leave.

Grace Ganoom-Grein has been living in Big Sky since she was ‘itty bitty,’ and basically has never left. Even for college, she went just down the canyon and into Bozeman to study mathematics and education at Montana State University.

“I felt like Bozeman was a big enough transition for a while and then I did a little bit of traveling,” Ganoom-Grein said. She got her out-of-Big-Sky fixes but always came back.

For four years, Ganoom-Grein has been the high school program director and fifth through twelfth grade math instructor at Discovery Academy and Community Learning Center. This season will be her last with the school, as she looks to start her own private chef and in-home catering company under her husband’s company, Sage Home Services.

Leaving kiddos that you have formed such deep and important relationships with is imaginably just as hard as leaving Big Sky would be for Ganoom-Grein. She plans to keep offering tutoring services after she leaves Discovery, something she did before fully employed at the school.

“I don’t think I could fully ever give up that part of me and my life, but I’m ready to kind of pursue things in my own direction as opposed to with the organization,” she explained. She loves math, she loves the kids, but she also loves cooking.

Before this transition, Ganoom-Grein had done a few private jobs for part-time families in the area and learned of other opportunities by word of mouth, family friends, or through her husband who was a property manager for a while. The creativity was refreshing for the math side of her brain.

“It was an outlet for creativity whereas, you know, with math there is not as much of an outlet for creativity,” she said.

Ganoom-Grein found herself cooking so much more during the pandemic, too, as many of us did, and really was taken with how much she loved it. “It made me so happy,” she said. She created an Instagram page to start sharing her food pics—a way of testing the waters—and found that this was something she wanted to pursue.

While some may have focused their cooking efforts on trying to perfect a specific thing, Ganoom-Grein did not have one meal or recipe she fell back on during her pandemic cooking. Ganoom-Grein is more of an experimenter. She made a lot of bread and a lot of pizza— “Mostly because it’s one of my favorite things to eat!”—but her eating habit changes were what really surprised her.

“I was not a meat-eater prior to like, August, of last year, so I started cooking and eating more meat, and that was really surprising, how much I loved that. So, I’d say that was pretty cool. Now I’m like a full-on omnivore,” she said. She gets game meat from a neighbor and loves to play with the new-toher product.

As a sendoff into her cooking adventure, Ganoom-Grein will be hosting a Big Sky Virtual Kitchen event on June 15. Participants will watch her cook a meal via Facebook Live and purchase prepared bags of food from the Hungry Moose to cook along with her. Seared tuna tacos with watermelon salsa are on the menu.

“It’s a go-to for a quick and easy thing,” she described—something fresh and fun for a summer meal.

Ganoom-Grein and her husband were just in Arizona recently where she had the ‘most amazing’ Mexican food. While the fish taco virtual kitchen meal was not inspired by this trip (but by a meal she had in a now closed Big Sky restaurant), Ganoom-Grein uses travel to fuel her experimentation.

“Any time I eat something new I get so inspired by that so anytime I get the chance to travel pretty much anywhere, I’m always looking for food I haven’t tasted,” she said.

Right now, Ganoom-Grein is obsessed with Mexican food. Her husband is getting sick of it, to which she said she does not care, as she knows she will shift into another phase of obsession after experiencing something new.

Her cooking adventure will allow for plenty of this, but it is likely that this particular journey is here to stay.

Individuals can sign up for the Big Sky Virtual Kitchen event before June 15 through the Big Sky Virtual Kitchen Facebook page. Email Ganoom-Grein for private chef or in-home inquires at gganoom3@gmail.com.

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Lone Peak Lookout

Cori Koenig, editor: editor@lonepeaklookout.com
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