Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

South Florida Taste of the Nation

July 16, 2015

VIP: $250
6:00pm - 10:00pm

General Admission: $125
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Loews Miami Beach

1601 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, Florida


South Florida's

Taste of the Nation® For No Kid Hungry


South Florida's Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry is the nation’s premier culinary benefit, featuring top chefs and mixologists — all of whom are coming together to donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in America.

Big names bring bold flavors to Taste of the Nation South Florida. Join the likes of legendary Chef Allen Susser, Chef Timon Balloo of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grille for South Florida's premiere culinary affair.

An elegant evening of gourmet food and wine, Taste of the Nation features chefs and gourmet cuisine from over 50 restaurants and vendors catering to both Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The evening will also include live entertainment along with live, silent and wine auctions. Chef Allen Susser, chair of Taste of the Nation Miami for 25 years, will pull together an incredible line-up of local restaurants committed to Share Our Strength’s vision to end childhood hunger. 

Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has been delighting diners by bringing together the greatest culinary experts to donate their time and skill for a good cause. Produced by Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit fighting childhood hunger, the goal of each Taste of the Nation event is to raise much-needed funds to help end childhood hunger. You'll feast on a number of dishes from a bevy of chefs, take part in a silent auction, relax in a lounge area, enjoy cooking competitions, special wine and spirits, and gift bags. Doing good has never tasted better. 100 percent of ticket sales from this Taste of the Nation event benefit Share Our Strength's mission to fight and end childhood hunger.

Contact Andy Villabona at with any questions. 

Social media savvy? We'd love for you to share the event on your social networks! Please see below for the Hashtags and Handles we use for Taste of the Nation South Florida.


Hashtags: #NoKidHungry #TOTNSFla

Twitter and Instagram: @TOTNSFla



Founding Chair

Chef Allen Susser


Allen Susser is a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award. His personal culinary viewpoint has been established since 1986 upon opening Chef Allen’s as chef/owner of his groundbreaking Miami restaurant. The New York Times called Allen the “Ponce De Leon of New Florida cooking”. Chef Allen’s cuisine is fresh and flavorful, like a tropical vacation on a plate. Food & Wine magazine named Chef Allen "One of the Best 10 Chefs in America".
In 2000 Allen launched Chef Allen's Consulting a boutique restaurant and hospitality consulting firm - providing strategic initiative, culinary resources, and innovative direction for the industry.  Allen has consulted for American Airlines, Kitchen Aid, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, McCormick Spice, Kraft and Sunkist. In 2008 was named consulting chef for Jade Mountain Resort and this year added Anse Chastanet Resort also on St Lucia in the West Indies.  In 2011 he debuted a new casual direction of comfort food launching Burger Bar by Chef Allen at Fort Lauderdale  - Hollywood International Airport and is  currently developing a privately held QRS national brand concept. Current clients include Daily Melt, Slainte Irish Pub + Kitchen and Books & Books Cafe.
Susser is currently the spokesman for the National Mango Board and is a Culinary Ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium for its sustainable seafood watch. He received an honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University. His Alma Marta- Florida International University award Allen the President's Award for community service. Allen was recognized as Chef of the Year for Share Our Strength and later was honored nationally as Humanitarian of the Year by Share Our Strength for his commitment to End Childhood Hunger. He is currently active on the Board of Feeding South Florida. Susser is an advisory member of the James Beard Foundation, The Florida Commissioner's Seafood and Aquaculture Committee, and has served on the National Board of Directors for the American Institute of Wine and Food. Susser served as president of the Miami chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. He is the original author of New World Cuisine and Cookery (Doubleday, 1995), The Great Citrus Book (Ten Speed Press, 1997) and The Great Mango Book, (Ten Speed Press, 2001).





Restaurant Chair

Chef Timon Balloo


Born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents, Timon Balloo’s scrapbook of memories leads with days on the farm, ethnic recipes and a favorite pastime of watching not-so-traditional childhood television - PBS’ Yan Can Cook. So, in 1998 when Balloo enrolled in Johnson & Wales University, it came as no surprise to family and friends that he would pursue a career behind the stove.
While Balloo has since been recognized as a Distinguished Visiting Chef (2012) by the University, his first real lesson in the kitchen was on humility, taught by “Professor” Allen Susser.  “In Susser’s kitchen, you were broken down and then built back up,” Balloo explains. “My time cooking at Chef Allen’s gave me a new respect for food.”
Through the international program of extended studies, Balloo traveled to Belgium to work at Hotel Métropole under French Master, Chef Dominique Michou. From Entremetier Comis (hot line) to Patisserie Comis, Balloo honed his classical culinary training skills. “The vegetables and animals would often come straight from the farm,” Balloo explains.  “It wasn’t unusual for us to have to skin and pluck the next dish… now that was farm-to-table cooking!”
Returning to the United States, Balloo became Junior Sous Chef at the five-star AZUL in Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, under the leadership of Michelle Bernstein. Identifying Bernstein as his greatest mentor, Balloo recalls, “She taught me to cook from my heart and, as such, I started to craft my own approach to food with Asian-Caribbean soul.”
From La Broche in Miami to SUSHISAMBA park in New York City, Balloo cooked his way to the top, earning the title of Executive Chef. Among his favorite dishes at SUSHISAMBA was the Moqueca Mista, “It touches a depth of flavors, is simply prepared - void of ‘fancy’ techniques - and has personality when it enters the dining room.  Food is about life and excitement, but it’s also very much about integrity.”
Through the use of simple ingredients to fuel great food, Balloo’s signature juxtaposition of bold flavors on small plates started to take shape.  A brief, one-year departure (2007-2008) from the SUSHISAMBA restaurant group resulted in a partnership with Amir Ben-Zion to launch Domo Japones in Miami’s Design District. The Japanese-concept highlighted one-of-a-kind ingredients in a former post office turned restaurant setting.  Though brief, Balloo’s menu was awarded three stars by The Miami Herald and voted “Best Japanese 2008” by Miami New Times. 
An opportunity to reconnect with the SUSHISAMBA restaurant group in 2009 as the Executive Chef and partner of SUGARCANE raw bar grill (SUGARCANE) brought Balloo back to their kitchen. “I’ve always appreciated the brand’s contribution to the industry, from the great ingredients to the warm environment.”
Opening with much fanfare in 2010, SUGARCANE has been celebrated locally with a three star review from The Miami Herald; a nod for “Best New Restaurant,” and “Best Up-and-Coming Chef” from Miami New Times; and the titles, “Restaurant of the Year” and “Chef of the Year” (Miami) by Eater. On a national level, the restaurant earned recognition as a semi-finalist for “Best New Restaurant” by the James Beard Foundation and Balloo received a nomination for “The People’s Best New Chef” by Food & Wine in 2011.  Most recently, Balloo was honored as Distinguished Visiting Chef by Johnson & Wales University, not to mention the restaurant’s AAA Four Diamond rating for 2013.
Today, Balloo’s zeal and vivacity continues to manifest in his dishes. Dana Cowin, Editor-In-Chief of Food & Wine said it best, calling Balloo’s menu at SUGARCANE, “A greatest hits of delicious dishes.” 



Loews Miami Beach Hotel

Room Block details to be released shortly.

For more information on Loews Miami Beach Hotel, please click here.

The following wines will be available throughout the event:
New World Beverage
Herdade do Esporão Assobio Douro 2011
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca 
Herdade do Esporão Reserva Red Alentejo 2010 
Aragonês, Tricadeira, Cabernet S., Alicante Bouschet 
Excelsior Wines
Concha Y Toro Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2012
Concha Y Toro Gran Reserva Malbec 2011
Organic Cellars
Wyland  Pinot Grigio
Vindegour Cava Brut Nature   $$21.52
Quaderna Via Especial  
Santa Ema Sauvignon Blanc 
Santa Ema Amplus One 2010
Maison Marque and Domaines
Domaniers d’Ott Rose 
Les Deux Tours Sauvignon Blanc 
Ferguson Crest Winery
2012 Ferguson Crest Viognier Santa Ynez Valley 
2011 Ferguson Crest Syrah Santa Ynez Valley      
2011 Ferguson Crest Fergalicious Santa Ynez Valley          
Pali Wine Company
Enjoy these wines in the VIP area: 
Hilliard Bruce Winery
Hilliard Bruce Pinot Noir Sun Vineyard Santa Rita Hills 2010
Hilliard Bruce Pinot Noir Sun Vineyard Santa Rita Hills 2011
Hilliard Bruce Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills 2011
Opici Wine Company
Cain Concept Napa 2009              
Bodegas Pesquera Reserva Ribera Del Duero 2009       
Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa 2009         
Mount Eden Estate Chardonnay    
Duckhorn Wine Company 
2012 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay
2011 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot
2011 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 
New World Beverages
Private Selection 
Quinta dos Murças Reserva 
Esporão Touriga Nacional 

National Presenting Sponsors

Media Sponsor

This Event Sponsored By

Join Us on Facebook Share our strength

© 2014 Share Our Strength

1030 15th Street, NW, Suite 1100 W
Washington DC 20005

Educational Content