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Amuse-bouche: Third time’s a charm, well actually all three times

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By Scott Mechura EBS Food Columnist

There are times in our careers, as well as in our personal lives, when we hesitantly get involved with a project—hesitant because it’s a strain on our already busy life or schedule. But we do it because it’s the right thing to do. Then, as its full magnitude is felt, we can’t imagine ever not being a part of it.

A few weeks ago, representatives from Buck’s T-4 Lodge attended their third consecutive Democratic Governors Association event in Washington D.C. It was the annual DGA gala in conjunction with Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry.

Our attendance this year was significant for two reasons: One, because unofficially, inviting a restaurant three years in a row has never happened before. From thousands of restaurants across the country for NKH to choose from, inviting little old Buck’s from Big Sky, Montana, makes all of us very proud and honored.

Secondly, it’s significant because this cause has grown increasingly near and dear to our hearts at Buck’s T-4 Lodge.

During the first year of the event, our management team all agreed that No Kid Hungry Montana should be one of the charities we chose for Round It Up Montana, a program that allows patrons to round up cents on their bill to the nearest whole dollar in support of a good cause.

The second year, after returning from Washington D.C., we decided to host our own NKH Montana fundraising event and it was well received. The NKH Montana team attended the event, as well as Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney. He was moved enough by our event and efforts that he promised continued support and attendance at future events hosted at Buck’s.

This year, we were met with many familiar faces in Washington. Truthfully, it felt good to show up among far better known restaurants, chefs and mixologists and be received with such warmth and familiarity. It was great to see the “who are those guys” faces from the other invitees.

It was, of course, a tremendous event. Anytime you get a group of chefs and mixologists together for an evening, it’s nothing short of entertaining. And we also got our annual photo with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

Sure, the kitchen we catered out of was a total disaster—it has not been operational for five years—and sure some of the chefs began cocktailing before the event even started. Some of them even decided that a T-shirt and backwards hat was sufficient attire, but in the end they all produced a wonderful, heartfelt product.

Our weekend concluded with a visit to the national Share Our Strength headquarters and we had the opportunity to meet Bill Shore who founded the nonprofit with his sister Debbie Shore.

So what came out of this year’s attendance at the DGA? Both Lisa Lee, the NKH Montana director, and Gov. Bullock’s wife, Lisa Bullock, have expressed a strong interest in hosting a statewide No Kid Hungry event at Buck’s this summer, and we couldn’t be more proud to host it. There is a belief at NKH Montana that we could be the first state to end child hunger

While there is certainly no guarantee that Buck’s will be invited for a fourth consecutive appearance in our nation’s capital, words cannot describe how proud we would be to accept the honor.

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.

Joseph T. O'Connor is the previous Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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