MISSOULA, Mont. - A new event is coming to Missoula and it's just around the corner. It's called Carnivores Classic, and it's a benefit for the Missoula College Culinary Arts program. The two-day event includes a VIP dinner, auction and a big barbecue bonanza.
There are several event planners involved, including culinary students from Missoula College. Wednesday was a busy day of cooking for the them in the kitchen, as they wrapped up for the end of the semester.
"We're training our students to be professionals in Missoula," said chef instructor Suzanne Phillips.
Some students will be involved with a larger-than-life first-time event. Carnivores Classic will feature an Asado buffet barbecue, or in other words, South American traditional food.
"I personally am going to be gaining some cooking experience, learning from these other barbecuing chefs," said student Delfino Forrest.
Phillips is preparing a few of her students, like Forrest and Samantha Robinson. They get credit and learn something new.
"I'm a real creative person and I just want to be able to do culinary stuff, do fun stuff," said Robinson -- stuff that will help pay for the Missoula College Culinary Arts program.
"With our new facility, we want the best equipment possible, so that is part of this and of course, continue the educational opportunities for our students," said Phillips.
Phillips wants to expand the program by three times as many students, from 50 to 150. Little wonder they want the festival to pay off.
"We're really excited that everybody's embraced this idea," said Phillips.
They'll have to serve over 1,000 people at the event and they'll start those preparations Monday.
"We can do some stuff that can be frozen until the event, so that it will be nice and fresh still. I may be preparing some of the spices or some of the sauces that will be good for a long period of time," said Robinson.
During the big event weekend, you'll be able to see what's cooking.
"We'll be cooking all night, the whole steer, on a cross on an open pit fire, as well as lambs and pigs and chickens," said Phillips.
The Carnivores Classic event will happen on Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31 at Caras Park.
NBC Montana is proud to be a sponsor.
Click here for a full list of the events and how to purchase tickets.
The festival is a learning experience for other students too.
NBC Montana went to check out the Asado grill. It's 9 feet by 8 ½ feet and weighs around 2,000 pounds. It rotates a full 360 degrees and includes a large fire metal pit underneath.
It took just two friends to do it -- Dallas Anderson and Levi Bessette took 600 hours to build their unique design. They even tried to match it to Grizzly colors.
Both learned their welding skills at Missoula College and even took time to come in over weekends and out of school hours.
"A lot of hard work. You know, it wasn't just the work in school but we were also at home, designing, writing papers," said Anderson.
"It was an honor to be able to be chosen for something like this and we really wanted to wow everyone. We wanted to do something that's never been done before," said Bessette.
They were both chosen to do the project by Tom Campbell, the program director of the Culinary Arts program.
The Asado grill will be the centerpiece of the Carnivores Classic event. You'll be able to see it in person in about two weeks.