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5th & Wine welcomes new chef

Posted at 8:07 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 16:34:52-04

GREAT FALLS — 5th & Wine in downtown Great Falls has welcomed a new chef.

Like many places, 5th and Wine in Great Falls is beginning to look more normal. But rather than returning to normal, 5th and Wine is stepping up.

Chicago native Lorenzo Rivera is the new executive chef, and he’s got an impressive resume. Rivera comes to Great Falls after a recent stop at the Resort at Paw’s Up near Missoula. But during his time in Chicago, he learned from among the best: Stephanie Izard, who won the fourth season of Bravo’s Top Chef.

“I feel like a lot of the way she runs her kitchen, it's kind of how I run mine. It's one of those things where it's like, if everybody's on the same page, we're all working hard toward a similar goal. There's nothing wrong with having a little fun,” Rivera said. “And that's kind of how I run my kitchens too.”

Rivera said he incorporates much of what he learned from Izard into his menu as well. “Everything comes from scratch, you know. And so that's kind of something I've adopted into my style of cooking is, you know, all of our sauces,” he said. “Start with the stock. So if you roast your own veal bones, you make really good stock, then that translates over into your sauces, and then your sauces are super nice.”

But interestingly enough, Rivera’s path to working with top-level chefs started out as just a job. “Growing up, I didn't have a lot of money. And so it kind of started with me just taking a line cook position for the money, and then finding out that I actually really enjoyed it,” Rivera said. “And I think the passion just kind of comes from the whole culture, the industry. It's kind of one of those things that you fall in love with pretty quickly, you know?”

5th and Wine co-owner Tara Strunk is elated to add Rivera’s skillset to the menu as they reopen.

“The main thing that I love that he's brought is his pasta is hand-made. It was hand-cut for a little while until we bought a pasta slicer but having a fresh menu and unique ingredients has been something that we've been wanting for a while.”

Both Rivera and Strunk agree, 5th and Wine customers should be pleased with what’s next.

5th & Wine is at 214 5th Street South. Click here to visit the website.