Dining with Chef Scott Myers
I want people to walk away from a meal at Brigade with a deeper appreciation for what we have access to, who makes that possible, and how amazing these farmed and wild foods can taste. —Scott Myers
Executive Chef Scott Myers pulls over a wooden two-top table and sits on the top with his hands clasped across his apron and feet dangling a few inches from the concrete floor. We’re in the back room of the newly opened downtown restaurant known as Brigade, in a space that holds forty of the restaurant’s two hundred fifty seats, with floor-to-ceiling windows, Douglas fir–lined walls, and a spectacular second-floor view of the Bridger Range on a cloudless day.
It’s the calm before the storm: four weeks until opening day at the new French-inspired, Montana-local restaurant, named in honor of Chef Georges Auguste Escoffier, who developed the Brigade de cuisine kitchen structure—a military- inspired team system that delegates responsibilities to people who specialize in certain tasks. My eyes move around the room, noticing the sharp angles of the tables and rafters against the circular light fixtures; the mixture of industrial metal, exposed brick, and wood—a delicate and intentional balance that puts my body at ease.
We settle in, and within a few moments of hearing Myers speak, my Delaware-born ear detects a Mid-Atlantic accent. “What foods remind you of your childhood?” I ask—and we are off down memory lane.
Born with German and French ancestry, Myers grew up between Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Vermont and admits that his culinary upbringing was quite different from the experiences of most kids. “My dad’s side are old-school Mennonites; we sold geese, guinea hens, and chickens at the Amish markets in the summer, and I was raised on things like unpasteurized milk, scrapple, blood sausages, and maple syrup,” he says. “It was a tight-knit community, and we all shared what we had. I didn’t appreciate it as a kid, but now I realize how important that was to my understanding of relationships and where our food comes from.”
Myers recalls learning to use the stove at seven years old and stepping into a local restaurant as a dishwasher at thirteen. Several years later, he enrolled at New England Culinary Institute and found internships at Crossroads Bake Shop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and Shore Acres Inn and Restaurant in the Champlain Islands of Vermont. As he prepared to complete another internship in Virginia, his mother was hospitalized from a severe car accident, and he returned to Vermont to care for her, splitting time as a sous chef and vegetable farmer for three years.
This may sound like the path of a guy who pinpointed his passion at a young age, but Myers describes his route more as “a way to escape the boredom of classrooms and offices”—though his curiosity and taste buds continued to lead him. “When I returned home as an adult, I started to realize that the land where I grew up produced the most amazing watermelons and tomatoes. I wanted to know: How is it even possible for something to taste so good right out of the ground?”
Upon moving to Montana twelve years ago, the questions continued: What foods are native to this area? Which varieties can withstand the June hailstorms? Where can you find mushrooms near these hiking trails? Why am I the only one eating wild watercress out of Cherry Creek?
Over time, he learned that Montana is the top producer of peas and lentils in the country—thank you, Timeless Seeds— and that a spoonful of organic green lentils grown in Fort Benton, with a little butter and salt, is “literally out-of-this-world.” He found that Catamount Farm grows the best cherry tomatoes and ground cherries, Streamline Farms has sweet and consistent greens, Ross Peak Ranch sells fantastic longhorn steak, and Willow Spring Ranch produces the most tender lamb.
These farmers—and many others—enable Myers to fill his menus with the freshest ingredients in the region and be a member of a shared and supportive community that mirrors his early life. “Strong relationships are everything, especially when going through hard times like this past year and a half,” he says. “I want people to walk away from a meal at Brigade with a deeper appreciation for what we have access to, who makes that possible, and how amazing these farmed and wild foods can taste.”
Previously the executive chef at Gallatin River Lodge, Myers says he is looking forward to being downtown, where he hopes the restaurant will draw consistent crowds who crave a more modern flair to traditional Montana dishes. Along with foraged mushrooms and plants, he aims to alternate game meats like pheasant, quail, venison, and elk from local and international producers, items that he believes are lacking from area restaurant menus given the rich hunting culture in Montana.
Elk tartar with quail egg and parsley espuma, pork and pheasant terrine, spring pea and morel mushroom risotto, and Wagyu strip steak with green peppercorn jus are just a few of the mouth-watering menu items to try at Brigade. With Myers at the helm, Bozeman diners are in for a colorful experience that will elevate and excite, all while supporting small farmers, seasonal ingredients, and the future of food here in the Gallatin Valley.