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Chef Kirt and the Snake River Grill

Characteristic of his generation, Kirt Martin toured the Gulf of Tolkin in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy, expanding his culinary horizons in every port of call. After completing his tour of duty, Kirt pursued his passion for cooking. Influenced by his French grandmother’s cooking of wild game and by his mother’s incredible pastries and cuisine, it was natural for Kirt to take the helm as the third generation in the family’s restaurant for almost 2 decades. Kirt continued to perfect his skills and drew acclaim from food critic Oliver Town who described the restaurant as “An Oasis in Southern Minnesota’s Dining Desert”.

Eager to embrace new challenges Kirt moved to Idaho in 1988 and fell in love with the beautiful scenic wilderness, abundant wildlife and the people of the Magic Valley. He attending the College of Southern Idaho and received a degree in Biology. In his new home he was an avid hunter and fisherman. Kirt had found the perfect place for his next venture starting a catering business and teaching an extremely popular cooking class at the Collage of Southern Idaho called the “Great American Cook Out”.

Eager to learn more about his one true passion of cooking, Kirt felt he needed to get back to the basic techniques of classic French cuisine. He set out for Ottawa Canada enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu where he achieved both the Deplome de Cuisine and Deplome de Patisserie. He returned to “Gods Country” in 1995, and opened the Snake River Grill in Hagerman Idaho. Kirt incorporated family traditions, French cuisine and local game into the menu to give his customers a truly unique and delicious experience for the last 15 years.
Kirt’s catering business has grown to provide an extraordinary daily dinning experience for the 1000 Springs Snake River Boat Tours as well as numerous events throughout Idaho. His passions constantly push Kirt to forge new culinary directions using Idaho’s bounty of culinary treasures. He has been instrumental in establishing new standards for fine dining throughout Southern Idaho introducing our region to wild game prepared in the classic French style.

Wild game dinners are a weekly “event” at the Grill. These dinners led to the idea for a nationally televised cooking show, “Cooking on the Wild Side.” The weekly show, premiered in the fall of 1999 on The Outdoor Channel, featured easy to prepare wild game recipes created in classic French style. This popular series ranked sixth out of 150 shows for that year. The program has also been shown on PBS stations throughout the United States. A companion cookbook to the show was published in 1999 featuring recipes of Kirt’s family, and the Snake River Grill.

Chef Kirt is grateful for the opportunity to share his creative culinary style, passion for cooking, and zest for life by teaching cooking classes in both the Magic and Treasure Valleys of Idaho. Also, he has been producing product-cooking demonstrations in Macau and Hong Kong, China as a consulting chef for International Idaho Companies and the Department of Agriculture, Idaho Preferred.
He has filmed guest segments on Dave Langston’s internet television show “Western States Sportsman” plus hosting his own show “Cooking on the Wild Side” viewed online at “” and a local cooking segment on.

Kirt and his wife, Carol, reside in the Hagerman Valley raising their young triplet sons Daniel, Andrew & Benjamin, running the Snake River Grill and continuing the “Cooking on the Wild Side” projects.