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From the Ashes

From the Ashes

This definitely isn’t your average Sunday cookout in the back yard. Meat lovers, prepare yourselves for a barbecue like you’ve never experienced before. You won’t want to miss this American smoked and fired foods adventure coming to Settlers Creek this summer.

From the Ashes was born from two tragic events, according to Wendi Haught, co-owner for the event planning and production company Framework Meetings and event planner for From the Ashes. “After the barn fire at Settlers Creek last year, another food friend of mine in South Carolina, Anthony DiBernardo, had a fire at his restaurant early last fall, as well. One had equipment, the other had a venue, and so we got them on a call to talk about how we may be able to assist them in recovering from their fires from a business standpoint,” she says. “The concept of taking their love for smoked and fired foods out on the road was discussed, but with the amazing beauty of our area and the fantastic venue options available at Settlers Creek, we decided it would be powerful to have this event here in our own back yard in Idaho. We’ve had the date and event planning underway since September 2017, and we are so happy the public support and excitement over the event has been so contagious!”

Founder of Tastes of North Idaho, a nonprofit Facebook food group dedicated to supporting small local food-related businesses and owners, Ron Borg was approached by Wendi regarding the huge event being planned at Settlers Creek, as she and the owners of Settlers Creek, Chris and Gabe Varela, were looking for a nonprofit group to donate the event’s proceeds to. As Ron says, “We are a nonprofit group, but our focus is to help other groups in need. So we asked that instead of receiving the money if we could be part of the event and help pick a recipient. And in the end, that is what happened, and we chose Kootenai Humane Society.”

Saturday, July 14, 11am to 8pm, nationally recognized pitmasters from across the country will gather in Coeur d’Alene at Settlers Creek where they will showcase the best of the best in American barbecue. From brisket and whole hog to pork butt and ribs, paired with traditional and not-so-ordinary side dishes, the pitmaster stations are sure to impress at this summer celebration!

Bill Hilbish, executive chef at Settlers Creek, has put together an incredible team of local and regional food and beverage partners for the event. Visiting pitmasters include: Anthony DiBernardo, owner/pitmaster of Swig & Swine in Charleston, South Carolina; Jean-Paul Bourgeois, executive chef of Blue Smoke in New York City, New York; Laura Loomis, pitmaster at Two Bros. BBQ Market in San Antonio, Texas; and Jason Dady, executive chef and owner of Jason Dady Restaurant Group in San Antonio, Texas.

As Ron says, “The highlight of the event, I feel, will be the diverse group of pitmasters from around the country ... even Idaho. Locally we have Daryl Kunzi of Drummin’ Up BBQ and Brad Peugh of BOHICA smoke representing Idaho with our emerging Pacific Northwest food flavors.”

From the Ashes

Wendi states that it has been a pleasure to work with this particular group of guest pitmasters and local chefs and producer-partners. “The amount of time each of them make in order to share their food, their food stories and connections with each other is completely inspiring. They are building their own intertwined community through their engagement with From the Ashes, and that is so remarkable to witness.”

In addition to the pitmaster stations for sampling the various barbecue styles and accompaniments, the event will also feature some of Idaho's favorite area culinarians leading an “Application Station” where guests can connect with local chefs to learn new ways to prepare these primal cuts of smoked and fired foods. Chefs include Andy Buffington of Hiro's BBQ, Jesse Nickerson of Bistro on Spruce, Tony Shields of Left Coast Fusion, Chris White of Cosmic Cowboy Grill and Teresa Whitney of Sysco Spokane.

Along with the mouth-watering food offerings, you have the opportunity to sip regional craft beers and wines. There will also be activities, games and entertainment throughout the day. Families are invited to eat, sip and enjoy a beautiful North Idaho summer’s day at Settlers Creek.

In attendance will also be five nationally known food and adventure bloggers from Maine, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and Florida. “We are working with the Idaho Department of Commerce and Idaho Preferred to take them around North Idaho to experience some of what we all love about our area,” Wendi explains. “Each of these guests has a tremendous online following, so we are looking forward to having them help us get the word out about the amazingly talented food and beverage professionals we have in our area!

Tickets are priced $29 for adults (ages 21 and older) and includes full food access and one beer/wine tasting ticket; $25 for adults (ages 13 and older) and includes full food access and non-alcoholic beverages; $15 for youth (ages 5 through 12); $83 family ticket package (includes two adult and two youth tickets). Tickets can be purchased online at or on site at Settlers Creek, located at 5803 West Riverview Drive, the day of the event.

“One of the wonderful things about this event is Wendi has allowed me to reach out to our local Idaho small businesses and get them involved in this event in many ways,” says Ron. “We will see local chefs, local farms, vineyards, cider and brewery companies and more all participating in this event.”

“The most humbling part of this event’s journey,” states Wendi, “has been the incredible interest and support from those in our own backyard—the local food growers, producers and culinarians are as excited as we are about getting their delicious products in front of such a powerful groundswell in the nation’s awareness of our beautiful state and the bounty it has to offer.”

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