Share our Strength’s 22nd Annual Taste of the Nation Orlando 2011 event recap
Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation is the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to
ending childhood hunger in America. Each spring and summer, national celebrity chefs
and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 events across the
United States and Canada with one goal in mind: to raise critical funds needed to help end childhood hunger.
This was my first time ever going to the Taste of the Nation event here in Orlando and I must say it is the foodie event of the year.
The Taste of the Nation Orlando was held at the Marriott Hotel at World Center Drive right outside of Epcot in a beautiful ballroom. Tables lined the ballroom with chefs and their foods, a silent auction for charity, and a center stage with live music and a friendly “cook off” competition featuring Creekstone Farm’s angus steak.
Over 35 restaurants from all over Central Florida presented “tastes” ranging from pork belly dishes, desserts, lobster tacos, bratwurst sandwiches, prime angus beef cuts, and much more all in the name of charity. Many of the dishes were truly outstanding, loaded with complex flavors, textures, and made from the utmost quality ingredients. I felt like I was in some foodie heaven.
Taste of the Nation 2011 Highlights
- Over $167,500 raised at Taste of the Nation to Fight Childhood Hunger
- Local beneficiaries are Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, along with the statewide Florida Impact.
- Close to 2,000 people attended
- Food was prepared by 36 of Central Florida’s leading restaurants, bubbly and other beverages from 12 top providers, and live music by local band, Bucksworth.
- The winner of the Creekstone Farms “throw-down” cooking competition, judged by Orlando City Mayor Buddy Dyer, along with Orlando Restaurant Guide’s Scott Joseph and WFTV anchor Bob Opsahl was chef Dan Nester of Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. Creekstone Farms (who has the absolutely most delicious cut of angus steak I have ever had) donated $5000 to the cause in the name of Rosen Hotels.
Last year, Coalition for the Homeless provided over 302,000 meals to homeless individuals
and families, including over 220 children each night with an average age of under 10 years old; Second Harvest Food Bank distributed more than 30 million pounds of grocery product,
the equivalent of over 20 million meals.
Some of my favorite items of the night and a few photos follow:
Maria Diestro of Second Harvest Food Bank, Katy Widrick of Katywidrick.com, Mr. Tasty Chomps, and Pearleen Buchala of Megayummo.com at Taste of the Nation!
Cress’ Chef Pulapaka is a 2011 James Beard Regional Award Nominee for the South
My favorite dessert of the night!
Molten Lava chocolate cake from JW Marriott
Watermelon Brulee from Emeril’s Tchoup Tchoup
A pork belly dish from Cafe TuTu Tango
Sliced Salumi cones from The Ravenous Pig
Bratwurst on Pretzel bread with mustard seeds – The Ravenous Pig
Technical Education Center of Osceola County
BBQ Pork Belly with baked beans, apricot chips
A delicious flan dessert with white chocolate and coconut crisp from Renaissance Hotels
Slow roasted pork taco from Nestle Professionals
Vanilla Ice Cream made via liquid nitrogen
Fellow UCF SGA alumni and current blogger Julie F from PBFingers.com
One of my favorite dishes of the evening: Spicy Durban chicken with basmati rice, chutney, and papadum from Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
MegaYummo workin it at the dessert bar!
Happy Birthday Cake to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
Happy Birthday time – break it down Mayor Dyer!
Judges Scott Joseph, Buddy Dyer, and Bob Opsahl for the Creekstone Farms throw down!
The winning dish from Chef Dan Nester of Rosen Shingle Creek Resort
Cash money! to charity !