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Ucross Chef Shares Her Recipes

Cooked shrimp skewers on a bed of rice with
"The Ucross Cookbook: Cooking for Artists on a Wyoming Ranch" is the first cookbook Ucross will release.

People will soon be able to get a taste of what it's like to be a resident artist at Ucross Foundation with the new Ucross cookbook: The Ucross Cookbook: Cooking for Artists on a Wyoming Ranch. Author and chef Cindy Brooks has been cooking at Ucross for 11 years, but her culinary journey started a long time before that.

"I was a starving art student and started working in kitchens, and it just went from there," she said. "I just really took to food, cooking, and all that, like a fish to water, I guess you could say. It just fit in with doing my artwork and the creativity of it."

Brooks also owned a restaurant in Bozeman, Montana before coming to Ucross. The cookbook will feature her recipes that come from all across the world and covers salads to desserts and everything in between.

"When I'm not cooking, I'm usually traveling, and so that certainly has its influence. The residents that are here, they're here a lot of times for a month, so I enjoy giving them a variety of food from different countries, and it keeps it interesting for me as well as them," said Brooks. "And coming from California with all the influences of all those restaurants, and farmers markets and on and on. Yeah, it just makes me happy, I guess you could say. Anyway, I enjoy bringing all that to the table."

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ucross closed its doors for a few months. So Brooks wasn't cooking for resident artists but that gave her a chance to get her recipes on paper.

"A lot of recipes are in my head," she said. "So [it] gave me time to go through the process of just getting the recipes where I wanted them to be, and then [I] worked with Cree, who's our wonderful writer who helps sort of flesh everything out that needed to be fleshed out, she's the co-writer of the book."

Coauthor Cree LeFavour is a Ucross alumni and the author of several cookbooks, including the James Beard Award finalist "Fish". The Ucross Cookbook will feature essays and photography from other Ucross alumni as well.

"And so it all circles back to the experience of being at Ucross as an artist in residence, and that's what we tried to do with the book, with this photography, with the stories, the essays, the recipes, to give everybody a feeling of what it's like to be here," said Brooks.

The book's creation is being funded by a Kickstarter campaignthat closes on the morning of September 14. If enough funds are raised, the cookbook will be available for purchase by the end of the year.

Ivy started as a science news intern in the summer of 2019 and has been hooked on broadcast ever since. Her internship was supported by the Wyoming EPSCoR Summer Science Journalism Internship program. In the spring of 2020, she virtually graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in biology with minors in journalism and business. When she’s not writing for WPR, she enjoys baking, reading, playing with her dog, and caring for her many plants.

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