Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

Taste of the Nation Atlanta

May 08, 2014

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.

Share Our Strength's

26th Annual Taste of the Nation Atlanta

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 


Taste of the Nation Atlanta 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.



Taste of the Nation Atlanta 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 & Paul’s in
1979. Today, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group owns a dozen
of Atlanta’s top restaurants, has expanded into Boca Raton,
Florida and will be reopening the highly-anticipated Pano’s
in early 2013. 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 for the cause. He also developed
the country’s first freshly “prepared food program” for the
hungry and was a founding member of Atlanta’s Table. All
of these things contributed to him winning the Cornerstone
Humanitarian Award, presented by the National Restaurant
Association. He says, “My work 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 Taste of the Nation Atlanta 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,
  • Host an incomparable backyard barbecue and beer-pairing extravaganza. Gunshow’s Kevin Gillespie will reign as pitmaster for 100 of your friends. This includes Classic Party Rentals Event Specialists, who will pull out all the stops as they transform your lawn for this ultimate BBQ bash.
  • Make it a monumental weekend when you and a guest hit the nation’s capital for two days of sightseeing and romance. Stay in the heart of it all at the upscale Capella Washington DC Georgetown. After days spent exploring the city, dine in decadence at top restaurants like BLT Steak.
  • You’re on top of the world! Soar in luxury as you and a guest jet-set to a surprise locale aboard one of ImagineAir’s premier private planes.
  • Take on NYC in grand fashion as you embark on an unforgettable trip for two. Enjoy a whirlwind tour of the city’s top restaurants and grab some R&R during your first-class round-trip flight.
  • Indulge in an extraordinary trip for two to gorgeous Miami Beach. Delight in a fresh-caught feast at the stylishly sleek Lure Fishbar; stay in paradise at the jaw-dropping Loews Miami Beach Hotel; and boost your foodie cred with a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience.
  • Plus, additional live auction items - like specialty in-home dinners by our featured chefs.

Taste of the Nation Atlanta after party 5 seasons

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