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Chef Joshua Skenes Goes Into the Wild

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Chef Joshua Skenes Goes Into the Wild
Photo Photo by Markos Mant on Unsplash

The three Michelin star chef behind Saison and Angler has announced a passion project that will allow him to evolve his vision and get back to nature with the Skenes Ranch, a place where untouched resources will allow him to create elemental and pure dining experiences for those who wish to escape the city and reconnect with the sublime.

Ten years ago Skenes established a pop-up, in a drafty old carriage house in the back of an alley, serving dinner once a week. There was no real stove or indoor heating and he built a firepit in the back yard. That small endeavour was built upon to create Saison and Skenes went on to be awarded three Michelin stars, the only American chef to achieved it by cooking over fire. 

As the business grew, however, it seems that Saison perhaps took on a life of its own and deviated from Skenes’ original vision. The chef has now announced on his website that, after retreating to the woods and finding what he describes as in “the middle of some of the last pristine wilderness left in the lower forty-eight. I knew when we found this place it was unlike most places in the world, and it would allow us to be surrounded by every resource needed to connect directly with nature in its most vibrant state. Oceans, mountains, pastures, forests, farms, rivers, and lakes are all within arm’s reach.”

The Skenes Ranch will be a working farm, a restaurant, but also function as a lab, a school and a forum for innovators and collaborators on how to better produce and raise food, an antidote to modern food consumption.

It is a place where we can reconnect with old ways and lost skills but with the added benefit of modern knowledge. A place where we can sink into the intangibles lost on us in a city: clean mountain air; the smell of the river where you caught the trout which is grilling in the fireplace you’re sitting next to; and the sounds of nature, free of noise pollution. - Joshua Skenes

For the discerning and conscientious diner Skenes Ranch can provide a range of activities and experiences, from foraging to grilliing masterclasses, fly fishing excursions and hosted travel. It promises to be a place that pears back what it means to eat, to reconnect with nature and by doing so, finding a simpler truth in food.

Skenes will dedicate himself to the building of the Ranch and in the meantime his friend Laurent Gras will take over the reins of Saison. Skenes remains on as owner and partner.

Skenes says as the project progresses he will offer more “blueprint than structure”. Construction is not yet underway, but it’s a fascinating project that is sure to attract clientele to the heart of the true American food.

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