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Meet our new Trailblazer, Chef Corso founder of MONTyBOCA. Chef Corso will be sharing his favorite recipes for the backcountry once a week with Backpackers.com. The recipes use ingredients you can pick up at a grocery store, are all ready in 30 minutes or less, are mindful of pack weight and volume and are trail-tasted across the United States.
Read below for how MONTyBOCA came about, why it’s valuable, and how you can participate.
I’ve loved food my whole life. My family was into making big dinners and sharing with our friends, and I took this early love and headed to Michigan for hospitality school then eventually to culinary school in Northern Italy and Napa Valley, CA. There, I became a classically trained chef — and Chef Corso!
I spent most of my culinary career in a test kitchen as a research chef, testing and developing the next best food products as well as teaching and training teams in restaurant kitchens all over the country. Suffice to say: I know how to make a meal in the front or backcountry, and I enjoy teaching people how to make a meal.
While I liked going outside, I never backpacked with any regularity until relocating to the Pacific Northwest. I started to explore the diverse mountains and shores. There, I grew to love spending days at a time in the wilderness, and while all my time in a kitchen was fun (and tasty), it was all indoors.
There was one trip to the Enchantments outside of Seattle that was really impactful. I spent four days and three nights in a stunning area and meal-planned the whole trip for five people, using fresh, real ingredients and zero packaged meals. We ate really well and it fueled our trek way better than the bagged options would have.
After that trip, I realized I wanted to be outside more and that I could eat well while backpacking with real food, instead of the typical dry, salty packaged stuff. The seed was planted and I started thinking about how to start a company with fast, easy recipes that would enable outdoor enthusiasts to cook all their own meals outdoors.
MONTyBOCA — where mountain meets mouth — was born.
We now have over 160+ trail-tested recipes in many different categories, plus two pocket-sized cookbooks. Our recipes are categorized by time of day, type of trip, dietary requirements, and group size. And we have an active trail-testing program where I make unique, custom meals so you can add your experience to the larger community.
Through months of trail testing dozens (if not hundreds) of meals, I’ve found that eating well outdoors doesn’t have to be difficult. It can actually be really fun and compliment your trek and location in a fantastic way.
All MONTyBOCA recipes are meant to be cooked on a portable camp stove, are mindful of pack weight and volume, are ready in 30 minutes or less, use 10 ingredients or less, and have no pre-prep or dehydrating.
Recipes are also smartphone formatted.
And there’s a bounty of ingredients that we may think are off-limits in the backcountry, like fresh vegetables or pre-cooked protein, that can easily be packed and last for longer than you think. I’ve also found some great super lightweight ingredients that have a large flavor impact.
Give the MONTyBOCA recipes a try and I think you’ll find that these meals are not hard to make, they taste delicious, and they’re a fun way to add a missing component to our treks.
The MONTyBOCA Philosophy
Food naturally fuels us. We look to it for calories and satiation, but we also seek out flavorful options, different ethnic styles, texture and freshness. I’m looking to share those elements in fast, easy recipes for your trip so you can eat well, keep your belly happy, fuel your trek, and provide a lasting experience.
Chef Corso Favorites
Check out Chef Corso’s favorite things in the outdoors!
- Favorite piece of gear: Foldable Chef Knife
- Favorite National Park: North Cascades
- Favorite Hiking Trail: Storm King Peak, above Lake Crescent in Washington State
- Favorite ingredient: Citrus
- Favorite food: Potatoes
- Most surprising ingredient: Coconut Milk Powder (good for breakfast in oatmeal or dinner in a Thai soup)
All images courtesy MONTyBOCA, All Rights Reserved.
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