As executive chef at The Resort at Paws Up, in Greenough, Montana, Ben Jones gets to do something few chefs have a chance to do: cook in a place of stunning natural beauty, in the wilds of the American West, with ultrafresh ingredients from local ranches and farms, and at the highest culinary level. In one day Jones can go from overseeing a chuck-wagon dinner under the stars to cooking a bison tenderloin with butternut squash risotto or a rack of spring lamb at the luxury resort’s fine-dining restaurant Pomp.
Jones grew up in Florida and went to culinary school in New Zealand. And although his parents had moved to Montana, Jones could never find just the right job there. So he cooked in Columbus, Ohio, and in Chicago, at the top restaurant Tru and at the Peninsula Hotel. And he even did a couple of stints at Missoula’s Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern, returning to Chicago in between. But when the chance to cook at Paws Up came, Jones jumped. And with 250 guestrooms, special events, two restaurants, five dining pavilions within the luxury tented camps, and a variety of outdoor dining venues at the resort, there’s never a dull moment for the kitchen team.
In addition to daily meals, Jones hosts events such as Montana Master Chefs, a food festival of renowned chefs from all over the U.S., and special beer-and-food dinners, with local makers such as Big Sky Brewing. Plus he’s a certified wildland firefighter (his dad is a firefighter as well) and one of the fire department’s volunteer first responders.