Photos by Aaron Agosto.
On May 12th, BHA hosted our most anticipated and talked about dinner of the year - Field to Table - at the Teller Wildlife Refuge in Corvallis, Montana. Made possible by presenting sponsor Finex Cast Iron Cookware Co., it was one of our best dinners yet, complete with the usual camaraderie, shenanigans and unparalleled wild game food.
We owe tremendous thanks as well to our participating sponsor, Planetary Design, and auction donors, Teller Wildlife Refuge and G&H Decoys. Generous donations for the dinner were also made by Benchmade, Burch Barrel, First Lite, Traeger, Weston and Weatherby. Without them, this dinner would not have been possible!
Guests arrived by bus and were greeted by panoramic views of the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains and the smell of food sizzling on Burch Barrels and Traeger Grills in front of the Teller Wildlife Refuge Slack Barn. Appetizer chefs Shannon Waters, Jaime Teigen and Randy King were hard at work whipping up unique and savory wild game appetizers for guests. Cocktails were made from wild bitters and syrups by Jamie Carlson using Spotted Bear Spirits. Beer and wine were provided by Highlander Beer and Osito Wine Distributing.
"Oro Oso Croqueta" Golden Bear Croquette from chef Shannon Waters.
Smoked Trout and Rhubarb Risotto Cakes with Dandelion and Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Five Spice Beaver Meatballs with Gochujang and Mountain Dew Sauce from chef Randy King.
Jalisco-Style Antelope Birria with Grilled Street Corn Salad from chef Jaime Teigen.
After a healthy amount of hugs, handshakes and high-fives guests moved to the barn loft for a one-of-a-kind three-course dinner prepared by a trio of accomplished wild game chefs: Adam Steele, Justin Townsend and Nathan Parrish. Before the toast could begin, we called recognition that we were on the aboriginal territories and current homelands of the Salish and Kalispel people, a number of whom were in attendance. We also called attention to a small table at the entrance of the room where BHA's Armed Forces Initiative coprdinator, Trevor Hubbs, recognized Prisoners of War, Missing in Action, and all of those who could not join us.
Our North American board and College Club leaders then began plating and serving our main courses.
First Course: Wild Florida Ceviche with Plantain Chips, Guava and Sweet Pea Granita, and Hibiscus Dust from chef Adam Steele.
Second Course: Smoked Wild Pork Green Chili with Cojita Cheese Grits with Roasted Pinon Nuts and Pickled Onions from chef Justin Townsend.
Third Course: Braised Mule Deer with Spring Greens and Barley, Grilled Venison with Miso Squash Puree, Grilled Raab, and Sunflower Seeds from chef Nathan Parrish.
After speeches were made and toasts were had the auction began for a Weatherby Orion O/U shotgun, full First Lite package personalized by Ryan Callaghan, and waterfowl hunt on the refuge. Inspired by the enthusiasm in the room, G&H Decoys CEO Ray Perry spontaneously jumped up and joined in on the action, generously donating a duck hunt for four, decoys and a tour of the G&H Decoys facility to the auction.
With full bellies and hearts, guests finished the night by satisfying their sweet tooth with decadent, locally inspired desserts from Montana-based chefs Hannah Nikonow, Riley Egan and Zoey Osborne.
Saskatoon Berry-Whiskey Dark Chocolate Truffles from chef Hannah Nikonow.
Crustless New York Style Cheesecake with Fermented Hand-Picked Plum Coulis and Elk Bone Marrow Cracklins and Dusted with Local Lavender from chef Zoey Osborne.
Huckleberry Rosemary Shortbread from chef Riley Egan (not pictured: Handmade Huckleberry Ice Cream).
There is perhaps a no better celebration of the quarry we pursue than hours of painstaking preparation put into a dish that highlights its most fundamental elements and delectable notes, ensuring no bite goes to waste as it's shared with friends and family. Field to Table brings the BHA family together to revel in the best part of the pursuit - the food we bring to our tables - that will fuel us for the continued work to come.