Travis Stimpson was born and raised in Lodge Grass, Montana and picked up this love of cooking in early childhood by holding the strings of his grandmother’s apron as she walked the kitchen floor.
Through years of brandings, pot lucks, and Sunday dinners he decided to make a profession of this trade and worked at the Custer Battlefield Trading Post Café under the tutelage of amazing older women, specifically the inimitable Tela Rondeaux, who taught him how to feel the dough to know if it was ready, see the steam from a pot and tell if it was finished, watch the boil of a soup and tell if it was thick enough, and smell the salt in a dish; use your senses to cook with love and care was the message he received from her.
After learning as much as a reservation education could provide and striving to always be better he set his sights on the Billings lights and started a culinary career at Walker’s Grill, working for Bill Honaker. In the Walker’s Kitchen, Travis formed and honed his skills as a chef and served as sous chef under three different executive chefs during his time there.
After his time at Walker’s he chose to learn more about the baking trade and went to Grains of Montana to serve under the great John Raney. Under his guidance, Travis learned the kitchen science that is baking and found a deep understanding for the first thing man ever cooked from a base of ingredients…bread.
After a year of baking, Travis stepped from the hearth and went back to the stove, working as sous chef under Chef Steve Marsh at the newly established Café Italia. After a year, Travis took the helm at Italia and guided it through its new growth period.
Achieving everything that Italia could offer, Travis chose to help a friend solidify his restaurant as a gem in the Billings landscape and worked to help grow Lilac restaurant in its downtown space.
Now, Chef Travis has decided it’s time to define his own place in the Billings restaurant community and offer the food that he has come to be known for in the restaurants he has served in.
Local Kitchen and Bar is the new canvas where Billings can watch Chef Travis create. Local is a concept, a mindset, and a deeply felt idea to this chef. Local is the background we as a Billings community will share; a place we come from, a place we gather, and a place we enjoy great food, cold beer, and good wine.
Travis is local, and Local is Billing’s best new restaurant!