By Scott Mechura EBS Food Columnist
A chef’s day-to-day grind can get monotonous. We create and prepare great food and experiences, but one of the most important elements of our repertoire is consistency. That consistency can at times get shrouded in boredom, but once in a while you get to be a part of something that turns the minutia upside down.
In late February, I attended the Democratic Governors Association conference in Washington, D.C., along with Chuck Schommer, one of our owners at Buck’s T-4 Lodge, and Valerie Edwards, our director of sales and marketing.
Chuck and I were fortunate to be invited back for a second consecutive year. I say fortunate because they only invite 10 chefs from states with Democratic governors, and rarely invite chefs a second time.
While this is, in fact, a Democratic event, the platform for this particular gathering is “Share our Strength” with its main campaign being “No Kid Hungry.”
Founded in 1984 by siblings Billy and Debbie Shore after being struck by the devastating hunger ravaging Ethiopia, the mission of Share Our Strength’s NKH is to end childhood hunger by ensuring all kids get the healthy food they need every day.
In addition, they strive to improve food access by increasing participation in school breakfasts, summer meals, and after-school meal programs; improving resources for families to empower kids and parents to make healthy food choices; and raising awareness for this important issue by engaging youth.
After watching a documentary last year called “A Place at the Table,” put together by some of the nation’s top chefs, Valerie was so moved that she felt compelled to attend this year’s event with me and Chuck.
Nearly 800 guests attended the event, and the format called for each chef and mixologist to prepare one small appetizer and cocktail, respectively. Following customary protocol, chefs made plates to deliver for the other visiting chefs to taste. That included mixologists as well.
The chefs concocted everything from foie gras panna cotta to roasted beet salads, and fish tacos to salmon pastrami. While they are a competitive bunch, chefs simultaneously possess unusually strong support and respect for one another. We love sharing our dishes, especially with chefs from around the country.
After attending the DGA for the second year – and having already been invited back next year by NKH– the Buck’s T-4 team has become increasingly passionate, so much so that Buck’s is hosting our own NKH event in early April.
I enjoy every day I come to work here at Buck’s, but when we have an opportunity to be part of something as meaningful as this event, I’ll gladly leave Buck’s behind for a weekend.
Scott Mechura has spent a life in the hospitality industry. He is a former certified beer judge and currently the Executive Chef at Buck’s T-4 Lodge in Big Sky.