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From The Co-Chairs

Welcome from the Festival Co-Chairs

Co-Chairs Photo

Welcome to the 2015 Wine & Food Festival!

The MSU Billings Wine & Food Festival was developed 23 festivals ago to raise funds to benefit the students of MSU Billings. The Festival has expanded from two nights to a week-long series of events, and multiple pre-events throughout the year, raising over $4.6 million (net) 
to date in support of an often underserved population in our community. Through the Lots for Scholarship lot, which started in 1999, we have awarded $616,000 in Wine & Food Festival scholarships to 558 students. In the 2015-2016 academic year, we will be awarding $48,000 in scholarships. Thanks to the generosity of our partners, sponsors, volunteers and guests, hundreds of students have benefited due to your support.

Once again, our corporate partner Briggs Distributing has sagely invited two outstanding winemasters. Please welcome Joe Shebl, Renwood Winery, and Tyler Tennyson, Gordon Estate. We are thrilled to have these winemakers join Executive Chef Tim Freeman at the stunning Northern Hotel for the Winemaster Symposium celebration.

The week kicked off with what’s sure to be another spectacular Guest Chef Dinner starring Chef Nick Steen, Executive Chef, Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, MT, joined by Executive Chef David Maplethorpe of The Rex. This elegant evening is one of the premier events of the entire festival, and delivers increasingly spectacular food and wine pairings. Once again, we thank Gene Burgad and his exceptional staff at The Rex for welcoming our chefs and guests.

Our cooking schools continue to bring inspirational cuisine to this corner of Montana, and as always are showcased in stunning Billings homes. Cooking-school chefs include Executive Chef/Owner Jason Wilson of CRUSH and Miller’s Guild in Seattle, WA; Jeremy Berg of Chico Hot Springs & Day Spa in Pray, MT; Executive Chef Michael Callaghan of Callaghan Enterprises in Billings, MT; Executive Chef Nick Steen of Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, MT; Executive Chef Matt Israel of Sacajawea Inn in Three Forks, MT; Executive Chef Mason Zeglen of 14 North in Bozeman, MT; and Chef/Owner Carole Sullivan of Mustang Fresh Food & Catering in Livingston, MT.

A hidden gem of the week’s events in store for guests this year is Sushi and Sake: A Hands-On School, presented by well-known restauranteurs Lin-Lin and CW Lo, formerly of Sweet Ginger Restaurant in Billings, MT.

The MSU Billings Foundation’s Wine & Food Festival would not be possible without our generous and eager volunteers. We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks in recognition of our wonderful festival volunteers. More than 400 dedicated community members provide the festival with countless hours of expertise, commitment and energy to make these events an outstanding success. Thank you so much for all that you do. Cheers!

Susan Walton
Wine & Food Festival Co-Chair

Randy Holbrook
Wine & Food Festival Co-Chair