April 10, 2008



Jeanne Moller, MSU Billings Foundation, 657-2244
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Signature event for wine and culinary enthusiasts raises funds for MSU Billings scholarships


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Tickets for the popular Montana State University Billings Foundation’s Wine and Food Festival will go on sale Monday, April 14, at 8 a.m., offering a host of new events after 15 years of good times for a great cause.


The 16th annual event, scheduled for May 12-17, 2008, is a week of wine seminars, gourmet dining and cooking schools with local, state, and nationally-renowned chefs and wine masters. The week culminates with two grand evenings; a Friday night food, wine-tasting and social event and a Saturday night formal dinner and auction. "Wine Fest," as it is now known to many, has become the signature event in Montana and the region for wine and culinary enthusiasts.


The event raises money to support student scholarships and academic programs at MSU Billings. Last year’s event netted $360,000 and over the course of the past 15 years, more than $2.5 million has been raised to support scholarships and other special projects at the university.


Culinary talent from around the world is recruited to come to Billings each year, providing the community unique opportunities to learn about wine and food. This year, the Wine and Food Festival will feature two new events as a complement to the traditional winemaker symposiums and festive weekend activities.


Tickets range in price from $60 per person for the new dessert and wine pairings session to $200 per person for an exclusive culinary preparation class by Executive Chef Garry Waldie of Le Cordon Bleu Schools at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz.


Tickets for the popular Friday, May 16 wine and food pairings evening are $75 per person and the tickets for the Saturday, May 17 reception and dinner auction are $125 per person.  Tickets can be purchased in person at the MSU Billings Foundation office, 2615 Virginia Lane, or by phone at 406-657-2244 or toll-free at 888-430-6782.


Co-chairs for this year’s event are Susan Carlson and Stella Fong, longtime supporters of the university. Both women said this weeklong event is not only a perfect chance to have fun with friends, but to learn more about wine and food.


“No matter what your level of understanding, you can learn at these different schools,” Fong said. “They present great opportunities.”

More than 400 volunteers help organize, plan and execute the weeklong event and Fong and Carlson said their assistance is invaluable in this fund-raising event.


Kicking off the event will be Billings’ own Executive Chef David Maplethorpe, as he hosts the Guest Chef Monday Night dinner at the Rex with Rainbow Ranch's Executive Chef Tommy Donohue and proprietor Patrick Hurd. Regional expertise will also be on hand from other popular chefs — Marcella Tartarka, Laurent Zirotti, Amy Smith and Matt Wallop — who will share their culinary knowledge in home cooking schools throughout the week.


For hands-on instruction, Scottsdale Culinary Institute’s Waldie will lead a half-day workshop that will expose participants to new foods, cooking techniques and recipes so that they can develop new skills to use in their kitchens every day.


Also this year, the Wine and Food Festival will be hosting culinary experts and authors Elizabeth Andoh and James Dodge. Andoh, from Japan and author of “Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Kitchen” and contributor to the New York Times and Gourmet Magazine, will host a cooking demonstration emphasizing the harmony of food from its preparation to its presentation. The beauty of Andoh’s food will be showcased with works created by the MSU Billings Potter’s Guild and local artists Greg Jahn, Nancy Halter and Theresa Gong.


San Francisco pastry chef James Dodge, a celebrated author of “The American Baker” and “Baking with Jim Dodge” and contributing editor to Food and Wine magazine, will teach a seminar on partnering wine with chocolate and dessert.


Two wine masters will join efforts this year to present at the same venue. Together, winemakers Dave Lattin from Kuleto Estate Family Vineyards and Linda Trotta from Gundlach Bundschu Winery will illuminate minds and palates on the topic of wine and food with Executive Chef Daniel Roberts of Q Cuisine providing the creative culinary fare.


Here is an outline of some of the special events this year:


Rainbow Ranch and The Rex present "Big Sky Flavors"
Monday May 12

6- 10 p.m.
The Rex, 2401 Montana Ave.
This special meal will be prepared by Executive Chef Thomas Donohoe and Patrick Hurd, proprietor of the Rainbow Ranch in Big Sky  in collaboration with Executive Chef David Maplethorpe of The Rex.

Sponsored by The Rex Sysco Food Services of Montana and High Tech Construction, tickets are $150 per person.

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Sweet Samplings to a Savory Dinner
Tuesday May 13

3-8 p.m. 
MSU Billings Student Union Building
This is a culinary preparation class by Executive Chef Garry Waldie of Le Cordon Bleu Schools at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz. Participants will have the opportunity to spend five hours in the kitchen working alongside Waldie learning about explore new foods, techniques and recipes.  This class is limited to 20 students who will work with Waldie to prepare an extraordinary menu that all students will enjoy at the end of the evening. Each student will be able to invite one guest to join in the evening enjoyment.  Sponsored by the Montana Beef Council, Sysco Food Services of Montana and Mike Joan Matz, tickets to this event are $200 per person

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WASHOKU: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen
Wednesday, May 14

10:30 a.m.
MSU Billings Student Union Building
An illustrated talk and cooking demonstration by Elizabeth Andoh from Tokyo, Japan. She has written three books on Japanese cooking, has been a writer for Gourmet Magazine for more than 30 years. She lectures around the world on Japan's food and culture. Washoku, literally "the harmony of food," is a way of thinking about what we eat, and how it can nourish us. The term describes both a culinary philosophy and the simple, nutritionally balanced and aesthetically pleasing food prepared in that spirit.
Sponsored by Van Rensselaer Jewelers, Stella Fong and Dr. Joseph Dillard and Susan and Gary Carlson, tickets are $75 per person.

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The 5th Course — The Grand Finale — Dessert and Wine Pairings
Wednesday, May 14
7- 9 p.m. 

MSU Billings Student Union Building
Presented by Chef Jim Dodge brings years of experience in the hospitality and food industries conduct a class that will feature chocolate and pastries pairings with wine. Dodge, Director of Specialty Culinary Programs at the Bon Appetit Management Company in Palo Alto, Calif., is an award-winning author and has appeared on several national television programs. Sponsored by Simply Wine, Jane and Joe Howell and Stacey Suydam of D.A. Davidson Company, tickets are $75 per person.

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Winemaker Symposium
Thursday, May 15

7 p.m.
The Carlin, 2501 Montana Ave.
Presented by 2008 winemasters Dave Lattin of Kuleto Estate Winery and Linda Trotta of Gundlach Bundschu Winery, this symposium will allow participants to taste exquisite wines with the guidance of experts who crafted them. The winemasters have carefully chosen wines to illustrate some of the subtleties of the winemaker’s art. In a relaxed setting, participants can expand their knowledge of wine while enjoying superb wine and food pairings by Q's Executive Chef Daniel Roberts.

Sponsored by The Carlin and NorthWestern Energy, tickets are $100 per person.


Area corporate partners for the 2008 Wine and Food Festival are Briggs Distributing Co., Wells Fargo, Computers Unlimited, Billings Gazette Communications, Sodexho and the MSU Billings Foundation. The 2008 sponsors are Albertsons, Fortin Enterprises, Underriner Motors – Bill and Mary Underriner, Heins Creative, Party Time Plus, Travel Café and RBC Wealth Management.


For more information on the 2008 MSU Billings Foundation Wine and Food Festival, contact Marilynn Miller, president and CEO of the MSU Billings Foundation or Jeanne Moller, development officer, at 657-2244.  More information and full descriptions of all the events can also be found online at www.winefoodfestival.com.



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