BIG SKY RESORT

Big Sky Resort is boosting the educational component of the fourth annual Vine & Dine festival, taking place now through Aug. 20, by offering an entry-level sommelier class and inviting high school students interested in the hospitality industry to learn from some of the top figures in the business.

Eight Montana high school students will learn side-by-side with local and special guest chefs. The students are members of ProStart, a collaboration between schools and the food service industry to provide real-world skills in the culinary arts and restaurant management.

Vine & Dine will feature Google’s culinary team, American chef and TV personality John Besh, Big Sky Resort’s culinary team and Chuck Schommer, food and beverage director of Buck’s T-4. These chefs and their sous chefs will pair up with a student and give them a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to execute a major culinary and wine event.

“I am thrilled to work with ProStart’s Montana students at this year’s Vine & Dine,” said Google’s Global Program Chef Scott Giambastiani. “As chefs and hospitality leaders, it’s not only our obligation to mentor tomorrow’s talent, but it’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job. The responsibility we have as leading professionals to inspire and engage tomorrow’s talent is huge.”

Twelve Montana high schools participate in the ProStart program. The students selected to participate at Vine & Dine attend high schools in Bozeman, Whitefish and Drummond.

“Having worked with ProStart for the last eight years, it is always exciting to host these young future culinarians in my kitchen,” said Todd Christensen, Big Sky Resort executive chef. “This year is very exciting to have not only the Big Sky chefs working with ProStart but also them having the opportunity to work with Chef Scott Giambastiani and his Google team of chefs.”

The goal is to inspire and excite the students about working in the hospitality industry by giving them a real-world, behind-the-scenes look at working in the food service business.

“Growing up in the hospitality industry, I have always had chefs and mentors that I looked up to,” said Schommer, director of food and beverage at Buck’s T-4. “Now as a chef and restaurateur, ProStart is the natural fit to give back to an industry that has taken such good care of me.”

For more information about the ProStart program, visit goprostart.com. For a full schedule of Vine & Dine events, visit bigskyresort.com/vine.