bearYou are invited to join The Epicurean Bears Dinner Club! Please call to join for 2014. See schedule below.

Big Bear Camp is such a wonderful setting for a dinner party and we have great cooking facilities. We want to support the local foods movement, build community, meet new people and have fun together at our beautiful forested retreat. That’s why we’ve started a dinner club for people who love food, fun and cooking. We call it “The Epicurean Bears”.

How The Epicurean Bears Dinner Club works:

Up to 20 members and guests will meet the first Thursday or Saturday of every month* for a prepaid dinner cooked by a volunteer “Guest Chef”.along with his/her group of 2-3 cooking friends.

To join The Epicurean Bears, call Hal at 541-228-5372 and ask for a membership form. (Sorry we don’t have internet here at the Camp). Return the form with your $1 annual membership fee, plus the required $20 advance dinner payment, which goes into your member account. This enables you to attend a dinner of your choosing. We realize that it’s really nice to be able to bring a guest or two. This is great. An additional payment of $20 per person is required. Reservation are first come first serve, so you’ll want to reserve your spot(s) early. Your reservation will be confirmed by PHONE. Once you are confirmed your fee is non-refundable BUT you may give your spot to anyone you wish. Members may go to multiple dinners, as long as there is at least $20 in their account at time of reservation.

Who Cooks?

If you have always had a hankering to prepare a fantastic meal using the best ingredients in a professional kitchen for a group of admiring people, we encourage you to volunteer as a “Guest Chef”. As the Guest Chef, not only do you get a big pile of cash (approx. $400) to buy those yummy ingredients, you and up to three assistants receive overnight lodgings at Big Bear Camp the night before and the the night you cook. Also you have the option of inviting up to 3 more of your friends. (They must pay the advance $20 dinner fee.) If interested, please ask for the “Guest Chef” info package.

A note about fees:

Of the $20, $3 goes to Big Bear Camp for the use of facilities and $17 goes into the Guest Chef’s “Ingredient Pot” for the Guest Chef. Any money not spent stays in the “Pot.”  Each fall there will be a harvest picnic for all members using the excess club $ to help cover its cost.

2014 SCHEDULE: (Meals start at 6 p.m., but come early to visit, watch or help the chefs

*NOTE: From March until July we will meet on the first Saturday of the month. From August through September, we’ll meet on the first Thursday of each month (due to conflicting camp reservations). October is our last meal for the 2014 season and we’ll dine on the first Saturday. If we are unable to find a volunteer chef, we’ll still dine together with a themed potluck meal.


March 1, 2014 – Hal and Tonia, Big Bear Camp Hosts cook “Comfort Food”.P1020958

Meat Loaf, Mac n’ cheese, spinach salad, mashed potatoes, and for desert: brownies with ice cream. Ingredients from local sources, including Big Bear Camp.            .

April 5- no chef. We’ll have an Italian themed potluck.                    (There is no fee.) Big Bear Camp will make a big pot of pasta with homegrown tomato sauce. Bring another sauce or another dish.

May 3 -  Sarah Pattee cooks Bavarian.Sarah3

Sarah Lincoln Pattee, the cook/chef does not have a drop of German blood in her, but she grew up in four different neighborhoods in Munich; her family still lives there in Unterhaching, a small suburb of the city. She remembers eating heisse Marroni (hot chesnuts) from the old Bavarian street vendors, pommes frites (French fries), gebrannte Mandeln (burnt sugared almonds) and Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes) at festivals and the Christkindlmarkt at Christmas. She loves Wurst and Kraut—and has tried almost every possible pastry in almost every Konditorei in Munich.

.Sarahs menu: Germans love food and Germans love celebrations that include lots of food. What better time to celebrate Frühling than a German picnic dinner in May?

Wurst -
There are more than 1500 types of sausages made in
Germany. This menu will feature 4-6 different better-known specialties (locally made by German sausagemakers) from Germany‘s different regions–with matching mustards/condiments. Examples are: 

       Münchner Weißwurst (Munich white sausage) with sweet mustard s)

      Berlin Curry Wurst with German catsup

      Bratwurst with Extrascharfsenf (extra spicy hot mustard from Duesseldorf)

      Wienerwurst – frankfurters with Mittelscharfsenf mustard


            German potato salad (made with mustard and vinegar NOT mayo), from an old recipe given to me by my friend’s Oma Magda.


            Popular Bavarian egg noodles, served as a side dish.


            Bavarian red cabbage, served warm. A regional Bavarian specialty.

Obatzda – Popular German cheese spread, served with bread or pretzels.


Thinly sliced cucumber salad with dill and vinegar.

Spargelsalat mit Kräutersauce

Asparagus salad with herb sauce. If available fresh, we will have Weiss Spargel, a much-loved dish throughout Germany in the spring. Otherwise, green.

Bread Selection

              Germans love bread. They are made fresh made daily. We will have a choice of breads, including Roggenmischbrot (rye-wheat), Vollkornbrot (whole wheat, Sonnenblumenkernbrot (sunflower seed),  Semmeln (rolls), pretzel, Salzstangl (salty pretzel sticks) with some additional surprises.

Dessert Selection

          A presentation of popular German desserts– from the Portland German bakery and homemade. Some examples are:

      Käsesahne Kuchen — German cream cheese cake – lighter and not as sweet as American cheesecake; uses quark

–    Obstkuchen – fruit torte with available fresh fruits. Served with Schlagsahne (whipped cream)

      Bienenstich – “bee sting” crumble cake

      Bierkuchen – just like it sounds – beer cake, made with dark beer

      Mohnkuchen – poppyseed cake


Non-alcoholic drinks will be a black currant spritzer and  Apfelschorle, apple juice & sparkling mineral water. Also I can bring some German mineral water, as well as German herbal teas and coffee to go with dessert.


June 7, Saturday – looking for chefs. (See above for more details.)

July 5, Saturday -

Aug – Sorry, no dinner due to conflicting camp guests.

Sept. 4, Friday -

October 4, Saturday- Back to the Saturday schedule – Carl and Tonya will make  Rubin sandwiches using homemade pastrami, rye bread and homemade sauerkraut made from Big Bear Camp garden cabbages. More info later.


May 2 – John Rivera cooks his favorite Mexican dishes from his childhoodJohn

June 6 – Lindy Burtis will cook a Middle Eastern vegetarian feast 

Lindy in Lebanon


July 18 – Matthew Schmidt cooks EthiopianMatt:epic bear

 August 1 – Hal and Tonia, Big Bear Camp Hosts cook Oregon local.

September – Sorry no dinner this month

October 3 – Teresa Welsh and Deneys Felker cook local Harvest Dinner.