When creating a new menu, Komori draws from his biology knowledge, the engineering and artistic specialties of his parents, and some of the connections he developed at the College of Idaho. He gets his meat from Meadowlark’s Janie Burns and is foraged for ingredients by College of Idaho alumnus Michael Bowers and Professor of Botany Dr. Don Mansfield.
The fact that the College of Idaho inadvertently produced such a culinary genius is of little surprise. For over 125 years, the College of Idaho has had a reputation for excellence. It has some of the best academic programs that produce holistic graduates, including 4 NFL stars, 3 governors, 7 Rhodes Scholars, and numerous innovators and business leaders. The college’s PEAK curriculum is designed to help students become well-rounded in the fields of social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, and professionalism.
In the spring of 2019, State & Lemp closed after changing ownership. The restaurant had been doing the same thing in the same space, and most of the young, ambitious folks making up the State & Lemp were campaigning for change. Coincidentally, an upscale bistro café in Hyde Park Camel’s Crossing, was experiencing some challenges with the size of their kitchen since it was not designed for a full-scale restaurant. Camel’s Crossing owners Scott McCoy and Caitlin McCoy, together with head chef Christian Phernetton, and with a sizeable loan from Sequium, were looking to expand to a larger location. Word about Camel’s Crossing’s plans reached Kris Komori and Remi McManus, and they got in touch with the Camel group to inquire whether they would be interested in acquiring the State & Lemp property. The two parties came into an agreement regarding the transfer of ownership of the property, and Caitlyn and Scott McCoy remodeled the property as a traditional restaurant. The McCoys kept the 1304 W. Alturas Street Camel’s Crossing location, and it’s unique quirky, 1970s-inspired wine bar with an eclectic cellar and light bites and relocated their dinner operations to the second location at 2870 W. State Street. The new owners honored reservations and kept the same hours, as well as the budget-friendly pricing and format of the Saturday Night Supper Club, until the end of the year. In the following year, the new owners started making changes in small increments and making it their own but maintained the standard set by Kris Komori and his team.
Although State & Lemp has since closed, their legacy continues to live on in Boise, through the work of their successors. State & Lemp will always be remembered as the restaurant that put Boise and Idaho on the Pacific Northwest food industry map in an era dominated by the large cities of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland.…
If there is one thing that has always been consistent in Kris Komori’s life, it is change. Originally, Komori dreamed of doing audio engineering in college, but when he joined the College of Idaho, he developed an interest in Biology. He later did an internship at Boise’s Veterans Affairs Medical Centre and sat for the MCATs in anticipation of joining medical school. It wasn’t long before he started to develop another interest. While he was in college, Komori started working at the Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant and became quite passionate about cooking. After graduating from the College of Idaho in 2005, Komori decided that the best path for him to take was culinary school rather than medical school. Surprisingly the only cooking skills Komori had when he made this decision was melting cheese, but he knew that cooking is what he wanted to focus on and was determined to make it work.
Komori relocated to Boise when the love of his life, Allyson, joined Boise’s Veteran Affairs for her medical school residency. It was while he was working at the Sweet Valley Organics farmers markets that he heard word that a new restaurant was setting up shop in town. Inspired by the idea of joining the new startup, Komori grabbed his resume and rode his bike to the restaurant’s location. Remi McManus and Jay Henry were remodeling the property when Komori stepped in. The three had a tet-a-tet over a bottle of beer, and the following day, Komori was laying down the carpet. A couple of weeks later, Komori and Henry prepared a meal for a small dinner gathering, and it was clear that the team was destined to do great things together. As Henry recollects, he had a fantastic time with Komori when they first cooked together. They had a pleasant, deep conversation and also joked and laughed a lot, and the experience taught him everything he needed to know about Komori.
In the winter of 2014, Kris Komori was nominated for the James Beard Best Chef in the Northwest award and made it to the semi-finals. In the following year, he was nominated by Food and Magazine for the People’s Best New Chef award. In 2016, Kris Komori was yet again nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award alongside a fellow State & Lemp chef. The James Beard Award is the highest honor in the culinary world and is like the Oscar Awards for chefs. Komori attributes his culinary success to the State & Lemp’s specialized menu, which allows him and his team to try out different culinary experiments and creatively control the menu of fresh produce. State & Lemp’s five-course evening menu comprised a wild currant with Hagerman golden trout, cured on wild herbs, Crème Fraiche, Vollkornbrot, and green peach. Since Komori had become accustomed to change in his life, State & Lemp was a great place for him. The restaurant allowed him to change the menu continually and provided the much-needed change that defines much of his life. According to Komori, although sometimes he experiences challenges creatively, it is part of the joy of finally creating something that people genuinely love and doesn’t see himself working in any other industry.…
In the Pacific Northwest, large cities of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland dominate the food scene and usually get a significant amount of media coverage and food awards. However, the food scene in Boise, Idaho, has really been exciting in recent years. Various factors have catapulted Boise’s rise to stardom. One of these factors is the rapid growth of Boise over the last decade. Since 2010, the population in the Boise metropolitan region has increased by about a fifth, making it one of the fastest-growing American cities. The increase in population has fueled creativity among an ever-growing audience in the city. Another reason for the growth of Boise is the low cost of living, which allows cash-strained businesses such as restaurants to experiment more by reducing their cost of operation. Still, in some way, the city’s food scene is pretension free, and it is the kind of place that allows you to enjoy an excellent multi-course dish all while in your hiking clothes.
State & Lemp is undoubtedly the most creative restaurant to have graced Boise’s food scene, and perhaps Idaho as well. The amount of creativity State & Lemp has adapted over the years is simply mind-blowing. The Modern and eclectic restaurant was known as the go-to restaurant in Boise for some of the most thoughtful and creative meals in Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest served in a space that gives you the best dining experience. The meals were very sophisticated, incorporating various facets, and were visually appealing. The food served at State & Lemp didn’t just resemble a work of art; it actually was. The cooking wizardry of State & Lemp’s Chef de Cuisine ensured that every visit to the restaurant left you with a desire to visit the restaurant at least one more time. Some of the meals in the restaurant’s menu included teriyaki lamb tongue, duck breasts with roasted persimmons, and squash soup. The poster child for State & Lemp’s success, Kris Komori has been nominated twice for the James Beard Best Chef in the Northwest Award.
Interestingly, few people thought that State & Lemp would thrive when Jay Henry and Remi McManus set up shop at 2870 W. State Street, and not without reason. In 2013, the concept of creating a menu specially designed to offer meal and wine combinations that cost over $100 a plate was a challenging idea to sell in the region. However, through the culinary genius and savvy aesthetic of Chef Kris Komori, State & Lemp gained ground in the region and grew to become a beloved dining destination that rarely had empty seats.
Before starting State & Lemp, Remi McManus was a pro cyclist while Jay Henry was a restaurant Manager and Chef. The two owners met and developed their culinary skills at Franco Latino and Mortimer’s restaurants under Chef Jon Mortimer’s tutelage. They spent a couple of years as guerilla-style chefs in pop-up areas and people’s homes before venturing into State & Lemp. When they ran into Kris Komori, who had just relocated to the city, the three clicked instantly and formed a culinary team.…