It’s been said that anything tastes good outdoors. We don’t buy it. Anyone who’s ever had macaroni for the third night in a row, or was forced to scrape burnt porridge out of a sooty pot knows that there are a multitude of ways to screw up a meal in the outdoors.
A good meal while camping can really elevate an outdoor experience. There’s nothing quite like working up an appetite in the fresh air, and then tucking into a delicious, simple meal prepared over a stove or fire. Basic ingredients and straightforward recipes come to life when experienced in the great outdoors.
We asked some backcountry chef friends what their tips and tricks are for cooking outside. This is our first installment in the Camp Chef series.
Michelle “Meesh” Moran (@the_nomadic_chef_) grew up in Ontario, but quickly felt the draw of the mountains, and moved out West for school in Victoria, then jumping to the adventure mecca of Whistler soon after. Planted in the Sea to Sky region, she’s not looked back since, focusing her time on growing food, crafting epic backcountry meals, and going for long walks in the mountains, in all seasons.
Meesh currently resides in Pemberton with her dog #shadowruffruff where she grows more vegetables than she can consume and continues to refine her approach to “farm-to-table” backcountry cuisine.
We asked her a few questions about her approach to camp cooking.
FAVOURITE GO-TO CAMP MEAL?
Breakfast! I rarely eat a full breakfast at home but I love it when I’m camping. A one pan hash is the way to go: all the deliciousness, less clean-up and there is still a spot open for your coffee. A close second is a warm bowl of ramen because it can also be made in one pot, has lots of options for protein & veggies and a delicious salty broth to top it all off. Basically, it’s the best remedy after or before a big day of moving in the mountains.
THREE FAVOURITE KITCHEN TOOLS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT WHILE CAMPING?
My custom Mike Jones ‘Kitchen Buddy’ knife, a coffee-making device paired with Pemberton Valley Coffee ‘Lazy Crow Espresso’ & any type of stove.
TIPS FOR ASPIRING CAMP CHEFS?
Create a menu before you go, break it down by day and have it saved somewhere you can access it while out in the field. This will ensure you don’t forget to pack anything and have all meals covered. Pre-cut your veggies and pre-cook anything you can (ie. pre-cut onions/garlic/peppers, pre-bake potatoes for breakfast and pre-boil eggs for ramen). These small things will save time at camp and speed up how fast the food gets in your belly!
Also designate a set of cutlery, plates, bowls, pots, fry pan, flipper, wooden spoon, paring knife, small cutting board, coffee cup, salt & pepper grinders, small olive oil, dish soap etc. to always live in your camp box then you’re already a step closer to leaving. Most importantly... always pack out what you pack in!
MOST MEMORABLE SPOT YOU’VE HAD A BACKCOUNTRY MEAL?
It’s hard to claim a most memorable meal as I feel like I’m always searching for the next best one; be it creating one or consuming one. So, I’d have to say that slamming back a simple sandwich on the summit of a new peak and feeling small is always the best feeling in the world. Wherever that is, at that moment, that is the best bite of food I could be eating.