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Local Chef Spotlight

Food is what brings people together during tough and perfect times

Article by Kendall Houlton

Photography by Julie Gatez Wilmot

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Julie Gatez Wilmot was born and raised in Los Angeles. At 26 years of age, she had spent considerable time studying in France, and working for eight years at Michelin starred restaurants, including Marc Faivre, Coussau, and Marcon. Returning to LA, Julie worked at Maude and as a chef for the Golden Globes and the Elton John Aids Foundation Oscars party alongside Chef Wayne. Julie subsequently accepted the position of executive chef at Mirabelle Wine Bar, turning out weekly fresh pasta dishes whose recipes appeared in the popular publication, Eater LA.

Julie moved to Idaho to be closer to family and entertains great hopes of putting Idaho on the national culinary map. Her philosophy: Food is what brings people together during tough and perfect times.  She is an enthusiastic supporter of local artisans and farmers. At Boise Lifestyle, we asked her what especially inspires her within the Treasure Valley food scene.

Who - and what period of time - had the most impact on you when you began your career? 

The first chef that I worked for was Chef Dubouz of “Pause Dejeuner” in Pontarlier France. Chef Dubouz had worked as a sous chef for my grandfather's restaurant “Le Moulin du Prieure” years earlier. He taught me to forage in the forest for mushrooms, herbs, flowers, fruits, and wild game to serve in his restaurant. Seeing true “farm to table” in raw nature made me fall in love with cooking. Following that, I went to work in a 1 star Michelin restaurant and won a regional competition for the Best Apprentice in France and competed for the national title in Paris, where I realized how little I knew about cooking. I placed 3rd [in this competition] and continued studying for the next seven years in France.

What food-related endeavors do you enjoy in Ada County, either professionally or personally?

In many ways, Ada county reminds me of France [with] the road-side fruit stands, wineries & breweries. I enjoy the authenticity of fresh herbs & berries in the hills and easy access to farm raised beef, pork, lamb, and wild game. The food chain in Ada county rivals the supplies of big cities. The farmers' market is a plus here too. I love being able to find fresh produce and see how the vegetables and fruit change during the seasons; its like a beautiful tableau of colors. On a personal level as a diner, I am fascinated by the variety of mom and pop restaurants as well as upscale eateries that are a pleasant surprise to the palate...[whether] it be Chandlers Steakhouse for a fine dining experience, Goldy’s for their cornbeef hash, St. Lawrence Gridiron for their giant beef rib, Prost for their Bratwurst and beer, and lets not forget, Chip, for fresh baked cookies!

Moving to Boise from Los Angelas, what inspires you within the Treasure Valley "food scene"?

The Treasure Valley is ripe with endless opportunities in the culinary arts. It may not match the scope of Los Angeles, New York, or Paris, but locals have a great appreciation for the hometown nature of local chefs. With an ever-burgeoning population, I know I will see tremendous growth in future restaurant diversity. The new, young and diverse demographic in the Treasure Valley is open to experimentation of the palate New restaurants (pre-Covid-19) are opening up everyday. This reflects the desire and need of the local population for new and different, as well as established eateries that seem to flourish on a daily basis. There is also an influx of eager young talent which, like any great University, only benefits from the collaboration of its peers.

To learn more about Julie, you can find her on Instagram @tipsycheffoods.