By Doug Hare EBS STAFF
BIG SKY — Dozens of resort guests and Montana locals were treated to a gastronomic extravaganza from Aug. 15-18 at Big Sky Resort. The sixth annual Vine & Dine Festival attracted foodies, oenophiles, spirit connoisseurs and bon vivants who spent four days rubbing elbows with master sommeliers, top culinary talent and prestigious winemakers from around the world.
Featuring dinners, wine tastings, wine and cheese pairings and talks from Chef Scott Giambastiani, Kent Torrey from the Cheese Shop of Carmel, CA, and world-renowned Master Sommeliers Fred Dame and Jay Fletcher set against the backdrop of a late summer Lone Mountain, even Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and festivity, would have been impressed.
Highlights of the event included “Pinot on the Peak,” a wine and food tasting on the summit of Lone Mountain; The “Master’s Dinner,” a five course meal (prepared by Giambastiani himself) with exquisite wine pairings chosen by Dame and Fletcher hosted at Everett’s 8800, and “Cheese & Wine…One Stinky Good Time,” which explored the art of pairing fine wine and cheese. Big Sky Resort’s Master Chef Sunil Malhotra reported that his favorite activity was the speakeasy event.
“This is our sixth year since starting Vine & Dine in Big Sky. I feel this was the best event to date. The resort did a great job in pulling off an immersive, fun and impactful community event, drawing guests from around the country,” said Scott Giambastiani, Food Program Director for Google, who has participated in the event since its inception.
Kudos to Master Sommeliers Fred Dame, Jay Fletcher and Kent Torrey for making this an unforgettable destination event. I look forward to working alongside these gentlemen year after year.”
Giambastiani noted that he is proud to continue to collaborate with ProStart students during the festival, taking time to help mentor tomorrow’s culinary talent. Besides the scenery, the underlying mission of helping a handful of Montana high school students get a jump-start in the world of culinary arts is what brings him back to Big Sky year after year, he said.
This year, six Prostart students were exposed firsthand to high-end food and wine, the knowledge of famous sommeliers and the talents of master chefs. Giambastiani said he finds it rewarding that he’s been able to help Prostart students who participated in the event in the past find jobs as food industry professionals.
“I thought the event went as smooth as a baby’s [bottom] this year. This was by far the best one yet,” said Sunil Malhotra, after winning the long putt competition in the 9-hole golf tournament at a festive brunch and Bloody Mary tasting at The Bunker Deck & Grill to close out what seemed like a gourmand’s dream. “I think I might go take a nap.”