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Industry stories, served hot and unfiltered

In this two-part series, we visit some of Boise’s iconic kitchens to ask industry folks what items they can’t live without.


Kris Komori , Kin

Family meal originated as a way for restaurants to feed staff a substantial meal outside of service hours. But it’s history and impact on the industry has inspired cookbooks, TV shows and autobiographies.

For co-owners Kris Komori and Remi Mcmanus, these daily shared meals are essential to running their operation. Today, it’s veggie burgers, all the fixins, and a beautifully light pavlova for dessert.

Kris, what goes down at family meal?
“It’s a combo. Up front we can go over info about events, menu updates, staffing. But really, there’s just more time spent relaxing, talking and hanging out together.”

Each member of the kitchen staff cooks family meal once a week. Front of house plans and executes a family meal once a month.

“It’s become a learning opportunity to cook for your peers with low stakes.”

Most popular family meal of late? Baked potato bar with all the toppings.

[cries in Idahoan]


Megan Rupp Chef Red Feather Lounge
Megan Rupp Chef Red Feather Lounge

“I think a lot of veterans in the industry left during COVID. But they also left room for a new generation of cooks coming in.”

Red Feather has recently reopened, and with it, comes Chef Megan Rupp. We walk back to the large pizza oven she often runs and I notice something hanging on the wall. She grabs it and laughs.

“So, maybe fancier places have a paddle…but we have this.”

[They actually have a paddle, like the fancy places]

It’s a metal bar with hooks on each end for rotating pizzas in the oven. A formidable weapon. I ask her what her biggest battle has been coming up in this industry.

“I’m female. I’m a minority. And I’m young. But, I’d like to make kitchens a better place. It’s more than just food and making money. I want people to feel welcome.”

We’re hooked.


Railli Kowall wine buyer for the Little Pearl
Railli Kowall wine buyer for the Little Pearl

As a bartender and wine buyer for the Little Pearl, Railli Kowall opens a lot of wine.

“90% of our wine list is chosen because it’s organic, biodynamic or they’re using good farming practices.”

In stark contrast to her thoughtfully curated wine list rests our unsung hero. It’s called the Truetap wine key. Railli owns every single color.

“Expensive wine keys are bulky and the foil cutter is hard to flip open quickly. This one isn’t too sharp — it opens easily, and it’s short.”
Here’s a question: can you marry a wine key?
“And it’s cheap!”

Yep. Five to ten bucks.

Railli pulls a few bottles of her current favorites she’s handpicked to go with menu items. We ask what her go-to bottle is when pairing with seafood. Then she drops this Truetap bomb:

“The best wine is the wine you want to drink. If you want to drink cab with your halibut, do it.”


Loran Rodriguez Diablo and Sons Saloon Chef
Loran Rodriguez Diablo and Sons Saloon Chef

Loran Rodriguez’ love of the grill started as a young kid working alongside his dad at the barbecue. Loran would go on to work his way up from a dishwasher to head chef at the Sangria Grille in Moscow before landing at Diablo & Sons Saloon. Now, he mans the impressive live-fire grill set up including two lifts connected to a pulley chain-and-gear system. A bit much? Not to Loran.

“We use all local woods to bring out those nice mesquite flavors. This grill is designed to give us the best sear possible.”

I watch as a fellow cook starts layering wood chips across the bed of the fire inside the grill.

“We’re trying to get a layer of incorporation into the hot coals evenly. We want the fire to work for us, not us work the fire.”

One last flaming truth: each one of these pieces of equipment, family recipes, and cooking philosophies from this series are all working hard to make this life that much more delicious. So, tip your industry friends generously with your coin and your encouragement. That’s hot.

Sarah Masterson
Sarah Masterson
Website | + posts

Sarah Masterson is a writer and creative living and working in Boise. She spends her time developing stories, messaging strategies and campaigns for brands that are doing good things for the planet. Also, she loves great food and doing weird research. Ask about her comprehensive spreadsheet on where to eat the best wings in the state of Idaho.

Matthew Wordell
Matthew Wordell
VisionKit | + posts

Matthew Wordell is a creative entrepreneur and co-owner of Visionkit Studio. When he’s not busy juggling productions at the studio or mountain biking in the foothills, Matt commits his time to community building for organizations like Garden City Placemaking Fund, Surel's Place, and Treefort Music Fest.