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edible Monterey Bay Summer 2015

Into the Wild Backcountry Gourmet A chef for your more intrepid summer adventures By Kathryn McKenzie Photography by Michelle Magdalena Good food and the great outdoors have long gone hand-in-hand for Zac Creager, owner of Santa Cruz’s Midtown Café, who has fond memories of growing up and taking family horseback trips in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. His love of wild places and food has led him to a unique destination— a side business called Sierra Gourmet Backcountry Catering, for which he cooks meals made with organic and quality ingredients for outdoor adventurers. “It is quite a niche,” says Creager, who learned the fine points of open-fire cooking from South American gauchos while working as a trekking guide on the Northern Patagonian Ice Field in Chile. Creager spent several seasons as a guide there, alternating with stints helping manage the Santa Cruz Farmers’ Markets and working as a cook at numerous Santa Cruz restaurants, as well as Feel Good Foods organic catering. Together, these experiences led Creager to launch Sierra Gourmet three years ago. Creager had to put Sierra Gourmet on hold last year while getting the café up and running; with that accomplished, he’s now turning his attention back to the outdoor catering business. “It’s fun for me,” he says of Sierra Gourmet. “It’s a combination of enjoying some beautiful locations and having really cool gigs.” Cool gigs, indeed. Among them, he has cooked for rock climbers in Yosemite and a children’s adventure camp in the Sierra. 32 edible monterey bay Summer 2015 Continued on page 35


edible Monterey Bay Summer 2015
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