Miss Quincy: rock n’ roll bush cook, blogger, pop-up restauranteer

missquincyJody Peck is best known for fronting Vancouver-based hard rockers Miss Quincy and the Showdown. Though the band now has three full-length albums to their name, including last spring’s Roadside Recovery, Quincy has another, lesser known, vocation: for one to three months a year, during the fall hunting season, she lives off-grid as a bush cook in northern BC. She’s now bringing that facet of her life to the fore, however. Running four Sundays in February and March, she’s opening up her home as a pop-up restaurant. On the menu is a brunch of wild meats and fresh produce, prepared “bush style” by Quincy herself. The brunch series coincides with the launch of her brand new (and first) blog, Rock n’ Roll Bush Cook, a collection of recipes and stories from both life in mountainous hunting camps and life on the road.

Quincy gives a taste of the stories readers will find on her blog: “Sometimes a bush story entails a really crazy snowstorm and being lost and having to stay out over night. Sometimes it involves run-ins grizzly bears…. You’re really at Mother Nature’s mercy. You’re not dictating the course of your day… It’s very humbling. You’re in such huge wilderness. It’s so much bigger than the couple little people out there.”

Cooking, like Quincy’s humbling lifestyle, is in her DNA. Born near Fort St. John, her parents were seasonal hunting camp workers who owned a farm. Growing up in the wilderness (along with relocations around the Northwest Territories and the Yukon) and working in camps has taught her the importance of being independent and resourceful: “I do most of the butchering, and there isn’t running water, and there isn’t electricity, so it’s equally important that I can chop wood and get water as it is that I can make a good meal or that I am a good hostess because the functioning of my camp is all up to me as well,… Some days I have to just clean. Some days I have to climb a mountain. Some days I have to look after a sick horse. Some days I have to be a wrangler…”

Perhaps most valuable of all, camp life has equipped Quincy with a mind for creative solutions to any situation: “There’s never a situation that I am presented with that I feel like I’m helpless in…. I always know there’s a way to make something happen. It might not be the obvious solution, but I always know there’s a solution. And I think that just comes from growing up in the wilderness where it’s actually survival, like the solution means you survive or not.” With that amount of confidence, life on the road as a touring musician comes a little easier to Miss Quincy.

Miss Quincy has conceived the pop-up as a way to celebrate the launch of Rock n’ Roll Bush Cook – an event that’s low-key but fun and very specific to the blog. While the pop-up venture is novel to her, the general conviviality it promises is not: “I’ve been playing house concerts for a long time. I used to host house concerts, and I love the feel of house party or a dinner with friends. It’s just one of my favourite things to do.”

Being an experienced cook, she has few apprehensions about the brunches. The main things she thinks about are the same things she thinks about with shows. She explains, coolly: “The things that I think about are the same as show logistics: make sure everything’s organized, and make sure everybody’s prepared and that you just do a lot of preparation so that the event is just fun and smooth and that it really can just be like a house concert, like a house party, like a meal with friends.”

Like many of Quincy’s shows early in her career, the Sunday brunch series is largely a DIY affair. About the meats she uses, which are sourced from the wild, she explains: “… I’ve been the one that’s processed it every step of the way, so from the wild to the whole field/dressing/butchering process, I know for a fact its incredibly ethical, and the animal’s been respected, and it lived a very natural life. And that’s really important to me.”

However successful the pop-up may turn out, Quincy is sure that full-time restauranteering is not in her future. Rather, she just simply hopes her diners will have a positive experience with wild meat. “When people hear that I am a bush cook, they often tell me their one or very limited experience with wild meat, and often times it’s not positive ’cause they’ll say, ‘Oh, god, I had this really terrible deer steak,’ and then I’ll ask them who made it, and they didn’t know how to prepare it. The quality of the meat is extremely important, and if you have properly harvested and prepared wild meat, you can’t get higher quality than that. So I hope that there’s some people that are experiencing wild meet for the first time.”

Although the menu focuses on wild meat, Quincy promises that the dishes can be made vegetarian-friendly. “It’s very easy to turn it vegetarian. We don’t fully judge,” she says with a laugh. “We welcome everybody, and there is something for everybody.” That being said, she still beams particularly fondly about her signature pulled “poose” pancakes: “One of the dishes that I’m serving is called pulled poose pancakes. (And I made that word up; I’m very proud of it!) So what that is pulled moose, but I’ve added a little bit of heritage pork to it because it makes it really decadent and amazing,… It’s delicious, but I just love saying it!”

For more details about Miss Quincy’s Sunday brunch series, and to reserve a spot, visit Brown Paper Tickets. Roadside Recovery is available on iTunes, Bandcamp and missquincy.ca.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu