The upcoming Vine & Dine music festival in Big Sky is a fancy event, yes, but it has an underlying mission, more important than eating and drinking: helping a handful of Montana high school students get a jump start in the world of culinary arts. 

"For the kids to be able to be exposed to high end food and wine, the sommeliers and the chefs, it really launches their careers off on the right foot," said Scott Giambastiani, one of the star chefs at the festival. (Giambastiani stressed that the kids aren't allowed to drink any wine at any point during the festival, but that they are introduced to the basic idea of wine and food pairings). 

Giambastiani is the head chef for Google, and he's been part of the festival since it began six years ago. For Vine & Dine, Giambastiani works alongside fellow culinary star Kent Torrey and star sommeliers Fred Dame and Jay Fletcher. Torrey owns fine cheese and wine store The Cheese Shop in Carmel, California, and Dame and Fletcher have starred in several wine and sommelier shows and movies, including 2012's "Somm." 

The high school program is called Prostart, and Giambastiani said it was one of the biggest reasons he got involved with the festival (in addition to the beautiful setting). 

"I wanted to do something that was a little more impactful in the community," said Gambastiani, who has been cooking for over three decades. "You get to a point you want to mentor and give back to the next generation." This year, six Montana high schoolers will be part of the program. In the past, Giambastiani said he's been able to help students find jobs in the culinary industry. He's even helped one student who partook in the program find a full-time job at a Google cafe in the Bay area. 

"We're exposing these students to a lot of foods they probably haven't seen," he said. An example of one of those foods is black truffles, to be flown in from Europe for the festival. "We want to be able to showcase that to them, to get them excited." 

In addition to kickstarting young Montanan's culinary careers, Vine & Dine features dinners, wine tastings, wine and cheese parings and talks from master sommeliers and chefs. A few standout events are "Pinot on the Peak," a wine and food tasting on the summit of Lone Mountain; "Master's Dinner," a five course meal (prepared by Giambastiani) with wines chosen by master sommeliers, and "Cheese & Wine...One Stinky Good Time," a wine and cheese tasting Giambastiani says always sells out. 

"We sit on a panel and we just kind of ham it up, answer questions from the audience, talk about the pairings," he said about "One Stinky Good Time." "It's just a jam packed weekend." 

Vine & Dine takes place in various locations around the Big Sky Resort on Aug. 15 to Aug. 18. Tickets to events and a full schedule of the festival can be found at www.bigskyvine.com