One of the things I love about our community is the outpouring of love and support for the people here.
Last night I had the honor of being MC of the Chef of the Year Awards because of being Mrs. Missoula America. I thoroughly enjoyed the Spanish theme and being able to learn about the work the chefs here in Montana do. But the thing that impressed me most about this unique group was the commitment to scholarships for future culinary artists. These people are all about growing the dreams of others and celebrating those accomplishments.
Tom Campbell, the outgoing Chef of the Year, made sure all of his students at the U of M Culinary Arts School had plenty of opportunity and recognition. He and his wife are humble, caring, and genuine people. He definitely deserved the title. The Campbells made sure that past recipients were honored and displayed as not only recognition but also as encouragement. There were photos of award winning culinary specialties and many Then and Now displays of past awards. People could easily see how their support mattered and grew fruit.
Announcing the new Chef of the Year, Tom Siegel, was also an honor. He stressed the importance of mentorship and teaching what you know to the next generation.
The crowd consisted of quite a few chefs from around the state. Each one so kind and courteous.
Heather Adams brought dancers to share the Tango and Salsa from the Downtown Dance Cooperative. As they danced to the music of a local band, Salsa Loca, they added to the charm of the Spanish evening.
Lake Missoula Cellars was the newly relocated venue. They shared some fantastic new wines created by the owners and uncorked for that special evening. We all sipped a new orange riesling and a white port. Honestly, I thought these new creations were unique and wonderful. Something else unique about Lake Missoula Cellars is the luncheons from 2-8pm Tuesday through Saturdays.
I had a wonderful time, excellent entertainment, memories of food from Spain (I used to live there), and met some of the nicest people! It was a joy to participate in helping other people's dreams come true through the scholarship fundraiser. I knew nothing about this program before meeting Tom and Donna Campbell. I am grateful to have had a moment in their lives to see how they help others continue to live their dreams.
I'll add some pictures later today, it's been a whirlwind week!