Chef Andrew Zimmern to Emcee ProStart Fundraiser at Buck’s T-4

andrew-zimmernChef Andrew Zimmern to Emcee ProStart Fundraiser at Buck's T-4

Chef Andrew Zimmern is heading to Big Sky to Emcee the Belgrade High School’s culinary competition. The Belgrade team recently won the state ProStart contest and is raising money for their upcoming trip to the ProStart nationals in Minneapolis in May.

The contest will take place April 16, 2014 at Big Sky’s Buck’s T-4 Lodge. Students will pair up with professional chefs from the region for a “black box” cooking competition. Teams will have one hour to prepare dishes using a surprise ingredient. Tickets are $50 and can by obtained from the Montana Restaurant Association at 800-388-0236 or any Belgrade ProStart student.

Heavy Hors D’Oeuvres will be served at 6:00, the competition begins at 7:00. There will be a live and silent auction.

For a very special, more personal experience, a VIP meet and greet reception with Chef Zimmern will be held from 5:00-6:00 with hosted cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for this reception and the main event are available for $200

Chef Zimmern appears thanks to a generous donation from the Rapier Family Foundation

With national and local support from industry members, educators, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and state restaurant association partners, ProStart reaches more than 95,000 students in 1,700 high schools across 47 states. By bringing together the industry and the classroom, ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents to open doors for fulfilling careers. It happens through a curriculum that includes all facets of the industry, and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry.

The National ProStart Invitational is the country’s premier high school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. Annually, 350 student competitors put their skills to the test in front of industry leaders, NRAEF Trustees, state restaurant associations, and family and friends – all with an eye on scholarship to pursue further industry education.

“We are tremendously excited to bring Chef Cora to Big Sky and treat her to Montana hospitality”, said Chuck Schommer, Buck’s Owner/F&B Director. “Her dedication and commitment to education and her passion for teaching families healthy eating habits at home make her an excellent role model for these aspiring chefs”. Schommer has been a mentor to the Belgrade ProStart program since 2007, and has helped them win four consecutive state competitions. Schommer, a mainstay of the Montana culinary scene and former guest chef at the James Beard House, has been the culinary force at Big Sky’s renowned Buck’s T-4 for nearly 30 years.

The Belgrade High School ProStart program was started by Family & Consumer Sciences teacher Bev Tompers. Since instituting the program in 2007, Tompers, Schommer and mentor Debbie Finkbeiner of Belgrade’s Black Cat Catering have given over 100 aspiring culinary professionals a head start in their careers. Many are working in the industry today.

In addition to the black box competition, the evening will feature a live and silent auction. Hors D’oeuvres will be served at 6:00 and the competition begins at 7:00. Tickets are $50 and are available from the Montana Restaurant Association at 800-388-0236 or