Taste of the Nation Orlando Celebrates 25 Years of Fighting Hunger

Returning for its 25th year, Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® Orlando, locally presented by Quality One Wireless, will take place Aug. 9 at the Orlando World Center Marriott celebrating Orlando’s culinary excellence and Taste of the Nation’s legacy of combating childhood hunger.

Showcasing the culinary delights of 35 of Central Florida’s leading chefs and restaurants, this year’s Taste of the Nation Orlando will feature two James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalists – Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant and Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Longtime philanthropist Helen Donegan, vice president for Community Relations at the University of Central Florida, will serve as honorary chair of this year’s Taste of the Nation Orlando. At UCF, Donegan coordinates programs for the community and helps cultivate, maintain and enhance the links between the university and the organizations that it serves.

Along with appetizers, entrees and desserts from the area’s finest chefs and restaurants, guests can sample wines, beers and spirits while enjoying the silent auction, exciting raffle prizes, and entertainment by the Mud Rooster Band at this premier culinary fundraising event. This year’s event will also be home to a European-style bier garden sponsored by World of Beer.

Food Network celebrity chef Melissa d’Arabian, best known for her TV series Ten Dollar Dinners, is cooking up her support for this year’s milestone event as a featured guest. D’Arabian, along with Orlando Sentinel food writer Heather McPherson and Scott Joseph from Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, will serve as celebrity judges for the annual Chef Throwdown, where two chefs go head to head in a cooking challenge to determine whose culinary creation reigns supreme. Natural and organic foods supermarket chain Whole Foods is providing the pantry staples for the culinary cook-off, and leading premium beef producer Creekstone Farms will award a generous check to the winner of the chef throwdown title to present to Taste of the Nation Orlando.

This year’s silent auction invites guests to bid on luxury apparel and accessories, stays at upscale hotels, gift cards to the area’s top restaurants, rounds of golf on area courses, and tickets to coveted sporting events. Guests can also enter a grand prize drawing for an all-expense paid trip for two to Oktoberfest in Munich.

Tickets to the event are $150 per person, and all proceeds benefit Share Our Strength's efforts to eradicate childhood hunger. Local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

“The longstanding support of Taste of the Nation has been phenomenal,” said Brent A. Trotter, president and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. “The funds raised help us provide food, shelter and services to more than 150 children and their families each night and serve more than 300,000 nutritious meals every year. Just $50 provides a week of nutritious meals to 34 homeless children, so each ticket purchased makes a significant impact.”

Benefits Connection is one of the primary feeding programs Taste of the Nation Orlando’s proceeds will help fund. Since 2008, Benefits Connection has secured more than $80 million in unused SNAP benefits for thousands of Central Florida families in need.

Second Harvest Food Bank’s Benefits Connection specialists help qualified candidates overcome the challenges associated with accessing these benefits, such as lack of access to a computer, skills to navigate an online application, lack of awareness, misinformation on eligibility factors, and language and literacy barriers by providing one-on-one assistance with applications, support documentation and interviews, education, information and referrals to a network of agencies.

“For 25 years, Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Orlando has provided a meaningful outreach for hungry kids and families across Central Florida,” said Dave Krepcho, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “This support has literally put millions of additional meals on the table for our most vulnerable neighbors, and we’re so grateful for that.”

WHEN:

Saturday, August 9, 2014 6:45 p.m. - 10 p.m.

WHERE:

Orlando World Center Marriott 8701 World Center Dr., Orlando

ATTIRE:

Cocktail / Semi-Formal

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS

  • Bahama Breeze
  • BB Kings Blues Club
  • Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
  • Cafe Tu Tu Tango
  • Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  • The Capital Grille
  • Captain's Grille @ Disney's Yacht Club Resort Cress Restaurant
  • Crimson Tavern at Orlando Airport Marriott Cuisiniers Catering
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Emeril's Orlando
  • Emeril's Tchoup Chop
  • Empress Sissi Cake & Pastry Specialties
  • FreshPoint
  • Journeys Catering
  • JW Marriott Orlando - Grande Lakes
  • K Restaurant and Wine Bar
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
  • LongHorn Steakhouse
  • Marlow's Tavern
  • Pirate Chefs of Central Florida sponsored by Nestlé Professional Orlando World Center Marriott
  • Red Wing Restaurant
  • Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • Second Harvest Food Bank Culinary Training Program
  • Soco Southern Contemporary Cuisine
  • Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, A Land Remembered Restaurant Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Cala Bella Restaurant
  • Sushi Pop Restaurant
  • Taverna Opa
  • Three2OH
  • T-Rex Orlando at Downtown Disney

ABOUT THE EVENT

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation Orlando event brings together the area's top chefs who donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in Central Florida. Along with culinary delights, guests have the opportunity to sample select wines, cocktails and premium beers and enjoy silent and live auctions and entertainment. Every dollar raised fights hunger and homelessness in the Central Florida. Local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

For more information:

ABOUT SHARE OUR STRENGTH

Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid Hungry® campaign—a national effort to end childhood hunger in America—Share Our Strength ensures children in need are enrolled in effective federal nutrition programs; invests in community organizations fighting hunger; teaches families how to cook healthy, affordable meals; and builds public-private partnerships to end childhood hunger, at the state and city level. Working closely with the culinary industry and relying on the strength of its volunteers, Share Our Strength hosts innovative culinary fundraising events and develops pioneering cause marketing campaigns that support No Kid Hungry. For more information, visit http://www.nokidhungry.org/

Photos:


Gustavo Hernando

Orlando, FL, USA