e-Compass – December 2009

Hobby Highlight

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams.

Michael Hannah, Executive Chef for Bellingham Golf and Country Club

We are highlighting Michael Hannah as our Hobby Highlight this month because he is one of those people who enjoy the rare opportunity of earning a living by doing what he loves; cooking, creating recipes and mentoring other aspiring chefs. While looking through pamphlets for graduate school as a senior in college, Hannah noticed a catalogue for the Culinary Institute of America. “Those guys in chef hats seemed to be having a lot more fun than those guys studying in the library,” he says. Chef Hannah, who was working toward a major in philosophy at the time, dropped out of college the next day, applied to the Culinary Institute of America and never looked back. He graduated from the Institute in 1979, and has since worked at a number of country clubs and high-end restaurants and hotels.

Michael Hannah, Executive Chef for Bellingham Golf and Country Club at work preparing cuisine. When Chef Hannah’s wife, Lori, wanted to move back to the Bellingham area about 4 years ago, Michael found work as the Executive Chef at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. “One of the best parts about being a chef is that you can work anywhere,” he says. Chef Hannah now has a staff of 15 talented people who help him prepare the food for the Club’s two restaurants, poolside snack shack and countless special events, banquets and parties. Incidentally, Lori works as the florist and event planner at the Country Club, integrating Chef’s culinary creations into dozens of events each year. Chef Hannah says he relishes in the challenges of cooking for such a wide range of people and events. “One day I’m worrying about getting the candy for the snack shack and the next day I’m preparing elegant meals and instructing at our cooking seminars,” he says. Chef Hannah advises those people less acquainted with cooking to trust their instincts. “If you like mustard, for example, try putting it in things you wouldn’t normally put it in,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to try new things.” Integrating local produce, meats and fish into the menu at the Country Club is one of Chef’s passions. You will often see representation from boutique farms, orchards, ranches and wineries on the club menu, thanks to Chef Hannah’s respect and appreciation for our local farmers and growers. Locally responsible AND delicious – now that’s a hole-in-one!

Michael and Lori have been tax clients at Multop Financial for the past few years.

Chef Hannah’s Black Bean Soup


Day One:
1 pound dried black beans
2 quarts water or chicken stock
1 ham bone or 2 ham hocks

Day Two:
4 slices bacon diced into 1/2 inch sections
2 cups chopped onion
4 chopped garlic cloves
2 chopped jalapeno’s
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup chopped cilantro (divided)
1 cup sour cream
2 squeezed limes


  1. Rinse beans, cover with water and soak overnight.
  2. Bring chicken stock or water to a boil with ham bone; lower heat and simmer for two hours. Strain. Pick meat off bone and chop. Set aside the meat and the stock.
  3. Drain soaked beans. Put in stock pot with the ham stock and enough water to cover by 3 inches.
  4. Bring to a simmer. Skim off any scum than rises to the surface. Lower heat and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until tender. Add more water if necessary.
  5. During the last 45 minutes of cooking, prepare the rest of the soup. Place bacon in heavy bottom pan and cook until fat begins to render off. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno and seasonings. Cook until onions are golden. Add tomatoes, ketchup, and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add to beans and cook until beans are tender. Finish with 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. To make cilantro cream, combine sour cream with fresh lime justice and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Put a dollop on each serving and enjoy.

Business Beacon

“Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” –Harvey MacKay.

Lone Boot BuffaloRanch: “Buffalotastes like beef wants to.”

John and Sue Muggy owners of Lone Boot Buffalo RanchWhen John and Sue Muggy bought their first three buffalo, Buff, Tuff and Muff, they had no idea they would one day be the proud owners of a herd of nearly 30 bison. “I call it John’s mid-life crisis,” Sue says with a laugh. “The kids grew up and the horses were gone. We had to do something with the land.” More than 10 years later, the Muggy’s are the proud creators of Lone Boot Buffalo Ranch, a 17-acre ranch located in Ferndale that specializes in high-quality bison meat. From sirloin steaks to ground meat to buff dogs, John and Sue Muggy offer bison meat to their clients in just about every form imaginable.

Bison meat is a healthy alternative to other meats, as it has significantly less fat, calories and cholesterol than beef and even skinless chicken. Sue describes the taste of bison meat as slightly sweeter and a little richer than beef. After eating only bison meat for several years, she says she now finds other meat to lack flavor. “Buffalo tastes like beef wants to,” John says. In addition to bison meat, the Muggy’s also sell breed stock, by-products, hides and skulls, and they specialize in the starting of first-time herds. “We have gotten about nine people started with herds in the region,” John says. When touring the property with John and Sue, you can feel how much they love what they do. It’s a business, but more than that, it’s a big part of who they are as people; the pride and dedication shows in their eyes.

Photo of buffalo on Lone Boot Buffalo Ranch The bison at Lone Boot Buffalo Ranch are raised naturally without artificial growth stimulants or hormones, which keeps them healthy and happy. “We take a lot of pride in our buffalo,” Sue says. “We never sell anything we wouldn’t eat ourselves.”

John and Sue also spend time educating the public about the health benefits of bison meat, as well as teaching classes on how to cook it. “Many people think bison meat is too dry, but often, they have just overcooked it,” Sue says. “Due to the low fat content in bison meat, it does not have to cook for as long other meats, and that can be hard for some people to get used to at first”, John shares.

In addition to being the owner-manager of Lone Boot Buffalo Ranch, John Muggy has also been on the board of the Herman Miller 4-H Park since 1996. Through annual auctions, fundraising efforts and work by members of the 4-H club, a gazebo, outdoor horse arena, trails and several other undertakings have been accomplished. The club is looking to build an indoor arena, restrooms and corrals in the future, as well as purchase the 20 acres it is currently leasing next to the park. “These kids really have accomplished all this in the spirit of 4-H,” John says. “We’re looking for anyone who may be interested in supporting the park.” The annual auction will take place March 22, 2010, but in the mean time, anyone interested in helping the 4-H club achieve the rest of their goals should visit www.HermanMiller4HPark.webs.com.

John & Sue Muggy utilize Multop Financial’s investment advisory services.

To learn more about this month’s business beacon, Lone Boot Buffalo Ranch, visit www.LoneBootBuffaloRanch.com

Team Focus

Melanie Multop

Never ever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has.         –Margaret Mead

An uptown event in downtown Bellingham: The Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Lightcather Gala

As a board member for the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Melanie Multop recently served as Chairperson for the Museum’s Gala Celebration for the opening of its newest building, the Lightcatcher. Months of preparation and planning went into the black tie gala, which took place Nov. 13, 2009. “We wanted to host a very special event,” she says. “We wanted to bring something quite glamorous and exciting to Bellingham.” Gala guests were greeted with valet parking and glasses of champagne as they made their way into the Lightcatcher. A live jazz band played as the guests looked through the museum’s inaugural exhibits and sampled the event’s catered appetizers, which were prepared by Fool’s Onion. Melanie also coordinated a light show to highlight the building’s translucent wall. “The building was washed with color and moving lights that really added to the excitement and uniqueness of the event,” she describes.

After the 250 guests settled in, the museum’s executive director, Patricia Leach, welcomed those in attendance. Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike also said a few words before Harold Closter, Director of Smithsonian Affiliates from Washington DC, presented the museum with its official certificate stating it was officially part of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program. Melanie shares, “I would say the night was a huge success, and it was so fun to see people in tuxedos and ball gowns! How often does that happen in Bellingham? A lot more often, I hope, now that we have this wonderful new facility in town”. She explains that the Museum is putting together an event package for the Lightcatcher. “The facility will be available for rent for private parties. It’s awesome to have another venue in town, especially something as modern and unique as this one.” Melanie adds that their sons, Matthew & Austin, were the only children at the Gala. “They thoroughly enjoyed all the hands-on activities in the Family

Interactive Gallery, all designed to teach kids about art, nature and history.” It was great to see the boys in their tuxedos, playing with the children’s exhibits. Plenty of adults were participating as well.” The building was designed by Jim Olson, founder and lead architect of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen from Seattle. Mr. Olson was also in attendance at the Gala, answering questions, and enjoying the opportunity to see the building brought to life with guests, art and excitement. More than half of those in attendance were not current members of the museum. “I think the Gala gave people a chance to come and see what the new museum has to offer, and I think it sparked a lot of new enthusiasm for the organization.” She says. Melanie mentions that The Museum Store carries some wonderful, interesting gifts for people of all ages; a great alternative to the mall this holiday season. She adds, “People should think about giving a museum membership as a gift for Christmas; it’s something that can be enjoyed all year long.”

When asked why she wanted to become involved with the museum, Melanie explains, “Two years ago when I joined the Board, I was excited by the plans and prospects for the expansion of the campus to include the new building.  I thought it would be a way to contribute my time to the community, while also becoming involved with something that is completely different from what I do at the office.  At the same time, my involvement with the museum is something that I can share with our clients; I think the ability to bring Smithsonian exhibits to Bellingham is something many Multop clients will be excited about.  I know I am.”

Melanie has been working in the capacity of office manager at Multop Financial since 1991.  She assists with the daily operations and marketing of the firm.

To learn more about the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, visit www.whatcommuseum.org.

Lifestyles Archives

For past issues, please visit the Lifestyles & Events archive.