Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

Atlanta Taste of the Nation

May 07, 2015

VIP: $350
6:30pm - 10:00pm

General Admission: $250
7:30pm - 10:00pm

Georgia Aquarium

255 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, Georgia

One in Five Children in America Struggles with Hunger. You can help.

Atlanta's 26th Annual Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Georgia Aquarium

255 Baker Street NW

Atlanta, GA 30313

Event Chairmen: Pano Karatassos & George McKerrow

Honorary Chair: Sam Masell, Buckhead Coalition

Honorary Chef: Carmen Quagliata, Executive Chef/Partner at Union Square Cafe 


Atlanta's Taste of the Nation is the city's preeminent culinary benefit supporting the fight to end childhood hunger. So you better believe we’re gonna go big. 

Eat dishes from more than 50 local restaurants and mingle with all of the big guns: Karatassos, Rathbun, Gillespie, Quatrano, Hopkins. 

Drink award-winning wines from all over the world.

Collect rare wines in our much-anticipated Beverage Auction.

Listen to live music.

Bid on world-class trips, incomparable dining and luxury culinary experiences. (More info on the Live Auction Sneak Peek tab.)

It takes more than food to fight takes you.



Atlanta's Taste of the Nation would not be possible without the continued leadership and support of our chairmen. Thank you, Pano and George!


Pano Karatassos Taste of the Nation Atlanta Share Our  Strength No Kid Hungry

Atlanta owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Buckhead
Life Restaurant Group and its charismatic founder and CEO
Pano Karatassos. The company raised Atlanta to a new level
of dining, and earned it a spot on the country’s culinary map
when it opened its flagship restaurant Pano’s and Paul’s in 1979.
Today, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group owns nine of Atlanta’s
top restaurants, has expanded into Boca Raton, Florida, and
most recently Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with the opening of
Lobster Bar Sea Grille. Pano spends a great deal of time working
with local charities, particularly hunger-related causes. As the
Atlanta chairperson for Share Our Strength, he has helped to
raise more than $10 million. He also developed the country’s
first freshly “prepared food program” for the hungry and
was a founding member of Atlanta’s Table. As a result of his
lifelong commitment to hunger relief and his contributions
to the community, Pano was presented with the Cornerstone
Humanitarian Award by the National Restaurant Association.
A humble man, Pano has been known to say “My works is my
hobby. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”


George McKerrow Taste of the Nation Atlanta Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry

George McKerrow Jr. is a 40-year veteran of the restaurant
business with a history of success in both fine dining and
casual concepts. He opened the first LongHorn Steakhouse
as a neighborhood restaurant in 1981, a time when Atlanta
had few choices in casual dining. He successfully evolved that
single location into RARE Hospitality, which owns LongHorn
Steakhouse and The Capital Grille and was sold to Darden
Restaurants in 2007. McKerrow retired from RARE in 2000.
He co-founded We’re Cookin’ Inc. (owners of restaurants Aria
& Canoe) in 1996 with Atlanta chef Gerry Klaskala and Ron
San Martin. In addition to serving on the board of directors
for the National Restaurant Association (1997-2003) and
the Culinary Institute of America (1996-2002), McKerrow
received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia
Restaurant Association in 2007. In 2008, he was inducted
into The Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame by the Atlanta
Convention & Visitors Bureau. Along with his partner, media
entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist Ted Turner,
McKerrow founded Ted’s Montana Grill in January 2002
and serves as the company’s CEO. McKerrow has served as a
co-chair for Atlanta's Taste of the Nation for 13 years.



Carmen Quagliata
Executive Chef/Partner of Union Square Cafe
Carmen Quagliata Taste of the Nation Atlanta Honorary Chef Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry
At Union Square Cafe, with the Greenmarket at his doorstep, Executive Chef and Partner Carmen Quagliata explores and develops his passion for his native Italian cuisine in one of the country’s most beloved restaurants. Carmen’s culinary style was formed by the Sicilian matriarchs of his family, who made sausage and bread by hand and grew pole beans from seeds carried across the Atlantic by their Italian kin. 
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Carmen became an apprentice at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia under Chef Hartmut Handke. Three years later, he headed west to work for Michael Chiarello at Tra Vigne in Napa Valley. There he quickly advanced from Sous Chef to Executive Sous Chef to Executive Chef/Partner.
In 2001, Carmen was hired to work for Lydia Bastianich at Felidia in New York City. He then moved to Boston and became Chef at The Vault, which quickly earned three stars from both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. After researching opening a restaurant in Boston, Carmen realized his heart lay in New York, and a fortuitous introduction brought him to Union Square Cafe. 
It was immediately apparent that Carmen was the perfect complement to Chef Michael Romano’s kitchen, and in January 2005, he was hired as Chef de Cuisine. Carmen was promoted to Executive Chef in September 2007. Within a year the restaurant received four stars from Time Out New York, and reclaimed the title of New York City’s Most Popular Restaurant from the Zagat Survey – an honor Union Square Cafe has received an unprecedented nine times. Carmen’s cooking continues to show his respect for all that has come before at USC, as well as his creativity, taste and appreciation for the seasons, as he shapes the restaurant’s future.  
Carmen lives in Verona, NJ, with his wife Palma and sons Tino and Gabriel. He spends his free time maintaining a vegetable garden from which he creates fresh meals for his family and fulfilling his duty as a Yankees fan by passing the tradition down to his sons.


Full of impressive vacations, dinners and much more - grab your paddle at this year's live auction to raise money to end childhood hunger in Georgia and across the nation,
L1 – Girls Day Out
Ladies (or those who love them!), get your paddles ready for this fun day of spa, shopping and delicious dining. Your party of four women will visit the normally closed-to-the-public Showroom Ampersand for a VIP shopping experience. You’ll privately peruse the latest fashions from lauded Atlanta-based designers Abbey Glass and Megan Huntz, both of whom are known for their innovative designs and shapes that flatter. Each lady will have a $250 gift card to put toward a purchase, to add extra style and sophistication to any wardrobe. Next up on this day escape: a spa treatment, tailored to each woman’s preferences at the beautifully appointed in-town retreat, Blue Med Spa. Each woman will receive a relaxing massage as well as their choice of an expert facial or manicure and pedicure, you’re sure to find a new level of calm. Cap off the day with a classic Italian lunch or dinner for four at Veni Vidi Vici, right in the heart of Midtown. 
Compliments of Blue MedSpa, Veni Vidi Vici and Showroom Ampersand along with Abbey Glass and Megan Huntz.
*Expires May 10, 2015. Does not include ground transportation or gratuity.
L2 – Luxe Lake Getaway
If some fun in the sun is calling your name, this is the lot for you! The lucky winner will enjoy two relaxing nights (and three sun-filled days!) in a palatial six bedroom Legacy Villa on sparkling Lake Lanier. Your 4,500 square foot home-away-from-home comes complete with a dedicated concierge, gated access for privacy, nightly turndown service, a welcome basket of Georgia-produced products and spectacular views of the lake. Your party of up to 12 guests will soak up the rays in style with a two hour wine cruise on a pontoon boat (bring your sunscreen and your thirst for vino!). A real highlight to your time just north of Atlanta will be a private in-villa dinner, prepared by Lake Lanier’s Executive Chef Michael Klein, who brings more than 25 years of culinary experience to delight you with every course. This is one you don’t want to miss! 
Compliments of Chef Michael Klein and Lake Lanier Islands Resort.
*Expires April 27, 2015. Hotel rooms subject to availability and must be reserved 30 days in advance. Does not include ground transportation, gratuity or any other incidentals. 
L3 – Monumental D.C. Weekend
Few cities are steeped in an intoxicating blend of history, power and romance quite like Washington, D.C.. The lucky winner of this lot will experience it like never before! You and a lucky guest will be whisked away with two first-class tickets on Delta Air Lines, a fitting start to the first-class weekend ahead. Your home-away-from-home for two luxurious nights will be Horst Schulze’s palatial, 5-star Capella Washington D.C. Georgetown. The refined hotel is tucked between the historic C&O Canal and the cobblestone avenues of Georgetown, in close proximity to cultural destinations, culinary offerings and world-class shopping. You’ll explore, intrigue and learn of double agents at the International Spy Museum and indulge in decadent dinners at BLT Steak and Nopa Kitchen & Bar. It’s a fitting way to experience America the Beautiful!
Compliments of Capella Washington D.C., BLT Steak and Nopa Kitchen & Bar.
*Expires May 1, 2015. Accommodations, airfare and dinner reservations based on availability. Taxes, service charges, gratuity, incidentals and ground transportation not included.
L4 – Calling All Jetsetters & Fishermen!
Bring a lucky jet-setting guest and hop aboard your own private ImagineAir plane, captained by one of their expert pilots. You’ll fly the friendly skies in style on a day-trip escape to stunning St. Simons Island. After safely landing at McKinnon St. Simons Island Airport, you’ll step aboard a privately chartered boat to fish with Chef Dave Snyder. After reeling in a pristine catch, Chef Dave will take you back to one of his restaurants - Halyards or Tramici - to prepare a meal to remember. Then it’s back aboard your private plane for a return flight home to Atlanta.
Compliments of Chef Dave Snyder, Halyards and Tramici restaurants and ImagineAir. 
*Expires May 15, 2015. Date based availability, some blackout dates may apply. Does not include ground transportation or gratuities.
L5 – Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Priceless Braves Experience
Calling all die-hard baseball fans. If you’ve ever wanted to experience an Atlanta Braves game like a true VIP, get your bidding paddle ready. Win this lot and you’ll score six tickets to a 2014 Braves home game. They’re not just any tickets - they are the personal seats of Braves President John Schuerholz, so you’re assured that they’re stellar. Your unforgettable evening will kick off with an exclusive dinner at the members-only 755 Club, overlooking the pristine Turner Field turf. You and your five lucky guests will enjoy delicious fare and fine beverages before heading to your ultra-VIP seats. For you, the host, you’ll have a special keepsake: an official Braves jersey, signed by Schuerholz himself. Batter up!
Compliments of John Schuerholz and the Atlanta Braves.
*Must be used during 2014 season, based on availability and some blackout dates may apply. Does not include ground transportation or gratuity.
L6 – Getaway to Magical Miami
Get ready to soak up the sun, with this extraordinary trip for two to Miami’s gorgeous South Beach. You and a guest will be whisked away with first-class, round-trip airfare on Atlanta’s Delta Air Lines. Once your feet hit the ground in the “Magic City,” retire to your hip, luxurious Deluxe Room at the jaw-dropping Loews Miami Beach Hotel, situated right on South Beach. Your Art Deco-outfitted room is designed to inspire, with sweeping views of the skyline. Bring your appetite along and prepare to delight in a fresh-caught feast at the stylishly sleek Lure Fishbar, where Executive Chef Josh Capon will select each course of pristine seafood, paired with complementing wines. For a huge boost to your culinary cred, this trip comes with two seats to the highly anticipated opening of Siena Tavern in  Fall 2014, with BRAVO “Top Chef” favorite Fabio Viviani at the helm (he will even come by to greet you personally!). If you’re not able to make it the day of the opening, we’ve got you covered: indulge when it best suits your schedule and the restaurant will host you at the chef’s tasting table, working closely with you to create a personalized menu, designed to delight your own food and wine preferences.
Compliments of Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Lure Fishbar/Chef Josh Capon, Siena Tavern and Chef Fabio Viviani.
*The hotel certificate is valid from May 15, 2014 until May 15, 2015 and is subject to guestroom availability. Blackout dates may apply. Does not include ground transportation, gratuity or incidentals.
L7 – Get Cooking with Cookbook Authors Virginia Willis & Rebecca Lang 
Grab your favorite cast iron skillet and join esteemed authors and dames of southern cuisine Virginia Willis and Rebecca Lang for this once-in-a-lifetime cooking event for 40 at Cook's Warehouse Ansley Mall. Whether you choose a cooking demonstration, a hands-on class or a team building event, you'll be sure to savor and sip through their 3-course southern inspired menu with wine pairings. Virginia Willis is a French-trained chef who has cooked with Julia Child, written several best-selling cookbooks and is a frequent contributor to numerous print and television publications such as USA Today and Martha Stewart Living. Rebecca Lang is a food writer, cooking instructor and television personality. Born and raised in South Georgia, she also has authored several cookbooks as well as featured in numerous print and television publications such as Taste of the South and Fox & Friends Weekend. Tonight's winner will also take home Virginia Willis' Basic to Brilliant, Y'all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company and Rebecca's Southern Living's Around the Southern Table. Whether you purchase this for fun with friends or as a business event, it promises to be fun, delicious and educational.
Compliments of Virginia Willis, Rebecca Lang and The Cook’s Warehouse.
*Expires May 15, 2015. Based on chef availability, some blackout dates may apply. A minimum of 30-90 days advance notice recommended. Does not include gratuity.
L8 – Cheers to a Custom Tailored Northern California Wine Tour
You and three guests will enjoy this 6-night, 6 day trip to the premiere wine growing region of the US - California's Napa Valley and Sonoma Wine Country. Your foursome will fly coach to the home of more than 800 wineries nestled throughout California's 28 AVAs (viticulture areas), each producing a product with distinct flavors and characteristics representative of the area. Start your trip in Sonoma Valley at Thomas George Estates. This recently redesigned property includes luxury accommodations, a VIP Tour/Tasting and will be your home base while visiting additional top wineries specializing in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. From there you will be off to Napa Valley for 3 additional nights at the luxurious Raymond Winery, owned by the world renowned Jean Claude Boisset and Gina Gallo. Raymond Estates will enjoy hosting you for a VIP Tour/Tasting and serving as your home base for visiting top Napa Cabernet Sauvignon producers. Additional tours and lunches in both Napa and Sonoma will be determined based on the winner's schedule, tastes, preferences and winery availability.
Compliments of Thomas George Estates and Raymond Winery.
*Expires May 15, 2015. Trip does not include ground transportation, gratuities or any other incidentals.
L9 – Gourmet Bite of the Big Apple
Get ready to embark on an unforgettable culinary adventure in New York City. The whirlwind tour of the city’s top restaurants will include two first class seats on Delta Air Lines and a two night stay at in an executive city view suite at the palatial Trump Hotel, adjacent to Central Park. A three-course dinner at Jean-Georges, the namesake restaurant of Michelin three-starred chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is just the start of your epicurean escapade. Get ready for a special wine dinner at Union Square Cafe, with pairings by Master Sommelier John Ragan. Taste of the Nation Honorary Chef Carmen Quagliata will present an unforgettable meal for a grand finale. Get ready to feast!
Compliments of Chef Carmen Quagliata, Union Square Cafe/Union Square Hospitality Group, Jean-Georges, Delta Air Lines and the Trump Hotel. 
*Expires April 30, 2015. Hotel subject to availability, not available during blackout dates and Nov 1 through Jan 1. Does not include ground transportation, gratuity or any other incidentals.
L10 – Mediterranean Rivalry: Greece vs. Italy
Get your paddle - and your tastebuds - ready for this ultra-fun in-home dinner. When you win, you’ll have a choice to make: are you taking your guests to (the flavors of) Greece or Italy? Make your pick and Kyma’s Chef Pano I. Karatassos (Greece) or Pricci Chef Piero Premoli (Italy) will create an unforgettable four-course meal, with perfectly paired wine from National Distributing Company, for 12 guests right in your own home. These two Buckhead Life Restaurant Group chefs are great friends, but that won’t stop their on-stage rivalry from heating up - they’ll be vying for you to pick them, much to your guests’ delight. Regardless of your choice, this in home dinner will be one to remember! 
Compliments of Chef Pano Karatassos/Kyma, Chef Piero Premoli/Pricci and National Distributing Company. 
*Expires May 15, 2015. Based on chef availability, Sunday-Thursday. Gratuity not included.
L11 – Vacation Like the Stars: Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
It’s easy to see why St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain is consistently ranked one of the Caribbean’s best resorts (recently by CondĂ© Nast Traveler): stunning beaches, palatial open-air sanctuaries, world-class fare and round-the-clock butlers will make your stay one to remember. For four nights you and a guest will luxuriate in your own 1,600 square-foot Moon Sanctuary, guaranteed to exceed your expectations in every way. Your accommodations include a 650 square-foot infinity pool, and you'll be attended by round-the-clock butler service. You'll see why this is one of the top-rated hotels in the world for service. And whether you want to simply relax on the sandy beach or choose from world-class snorkeling, SCUBA diving, yoga, jungle biking, spa services or boating, you won't be bored! The dining at Jade Mountain is something to write home about too: with renowned Miami Chef Allen Susser as consulting chef, all meals are exquisite and the ingredients sourced locally. Pack your bags for the trip of a lifetime, only a short four-hour direct plane ride from Atlanta, on Delta Air Lines (first class!).
Compliments of Jade Mountain, Chef Allen Susser and Delta Air Lines.
*Expires September 30, 2015. Subject to availability and excludes all major holidays, ground transportation, gratuities and any incidentals.
L12 – Ultimate Pitmasters Barbecue for 100
Be the toast of 100 of your favorite friends and family when you host an ultimate backyard barbecue. A trifecta of star pitmasters - Gunshow’s Chef Kevin Gillespie, Veni Vidi Vici’s Jamie Adams and Rosebud’s Ron Eyester - will pull out all the stops to turn your lawn into delicious, smoked and sauced feast. Classic Party Rentals will transform your lawn into a real party, complete with tables, chairs, linens and serving ware. You won’t have to lift a finger! Of course, no BBQ would be complete without refreshing brews. United Distributors will bring the beer and the educators to talk about the 25+ selections including Abita, Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, New Holland, Mother Earth, Sweetwater, Terrapin, Boulevard, Ommegang, Blue Moon, Leinenkugels, Eventide, Crispin, Rogue and Ballast Point. All of the fun of your own private beer festival! Plus, guests will remember this party for years to come, since Chef Kevin will provide 50 copies of his top-selling cookbook, Fire in My Belly. Party on! 
Compliments of Chefs Kevin Gillespie, Jamie Adams and Ron Eyester, Classic Party Rentals and United Distributors.
*Expires May 15, 2015. Based on chef and beef educator availability, Sunday-Thursday. Gratuity not included.
L13 – Priceless In-Home Chef Dinner by Six Ultra Star Chefs
Always one of the most highly anticipated lots of the night, you won’t want to miss this priceless in-home chef dinner. Some of Atlanta’s best chefs will converge on your own kitchen to create a one-of-a-kind meal for your group of 12 guests. When else can you host a meal prepared by Chefs Gerry Klaskala (Aria), Linton Hopkins (Holeman+Finch/Restaurant Eugene), Kevin Rathbun (Kevin Rathbun Steak/Krog Bar/KR Steakbar/Rathbun’s), Ford Fry (JCT. Kitchen/King + Duke/No. 246/St. Cecilia/The Optimist), Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia/Quinones at Bacchanalia/Abattoir/Star Provsions/Floataway CafĂ©) and Gary Donlick (Bistro Niko), all at one time? The expert wine curators at National Distributing Company will thoughtfully select wine pairings for each stunning course. Six chef-created courses, six spectacular wines and six BIG culinary personalities all in your own kitchen... get your paddles ready and prepare to be the talk of your friends for years to come! 
Compliments of our participating chefs, their restaurants and National Distributing Company.
*Expires May 15, 2015. In home dinner based on availability of chef scheduling, offered Sunday – Thursday. Gratuity not included.


Georgia Aquarium/Wolfgang Puck Catering
Empire Distributors, Inc.
Georgia Crown Dist. Company
National Distributing Company
Prime Wine & Spirits
Quality Wine & Spirits
United Distributors, Inc.
Pulte Homes
Celebrity Cruises
Coca-Cola Foodservice
The Reynolds Group
Atlanta Wholesale Wine  
Classic Party Rentals
Marcus Foundation
Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation 
Buckhead Life Restaurant Group
Blockbuster Linen
A&D Linens
Cook's Warehouse
Platinum VIP Reception Sponsor
Delta Air Lines

National Presenting Sponsors

Media Sponsor

This Event Sponsored By

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