Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

Taste of the Nation Orlando

August 09, 2014

VIP Admission : $150
6:45pm - 10:00pm

Orlando World Center Marriott

8701 World Center Dr.
Orlando, Florida

One in Five Children in America Struggles with Hunger
 

TASTE OF THE NATION ORLANDO POSTS FUNDRAISING RECORD FOR 25th ANNIVERSARY 

ORLANDO, FLA. (AUGUST 15, 2014) – Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® Orlando raised $301,317 to support the feeding programs of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and statewide organization Florida Impact, setting a new fundraising record for the event’s 25-year history.
 
Thirty-eight of Central Florida’s finest chefs united for this premier gastronomic fundraising event at the Orlando World Center Marriott on Aug. 9 to dazzle more than 2,000 guests with their culinary delights and raise critical funds for childhood hunger relief in the community.
 
Along with appetizers, entrees, desserts and spirits, guest enjoyed live music by the Mud Rooster Band and an exciting silent auction featuring signed memorabilia, stays at upscale hotels, dining experiences, rounds of golf on area courses, and exotic adventures and getaways. An Instant Wine Cellar game awarded 170 bottles of wine valued at more than $3,500 to the person who purchased the winning key that opened the locked wine door. A Count the Corks drawing awarded the person who came closest to guessing the correct number of wine corks a stay at the Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection in Tampa. An all-expense paid trip for two to Oktoberfest in Munich was awarded to one lucky winner as well as 99 bottles of beer to three winners.
 
The highlight of the evening was the Creekstone Farms Chef Throwdown, a culinary cookoff that pitted Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant against Alexia Gawlak of Siro: Urban Italian Kitchen at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Emceed by Food Network celebrity chef Melissa d’Arabian, the Creekstone Farms Chef Throwdown gave each chef 20 minutes to create a dish using Creekstone Farms sirloin flap steak and pantry staples donated by Whole Foods Market. A judging panel that included Scott Joseph from Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, WFTV's Bob Opsahl, and Honorary Chair Helen Donegan determined Gawlak’s tostada topped with the grilled meat, cheese crumbles, chimichurri sauce, and a fried egg deserved the chef throwdown title. She was granted the honor of signing a $5,000 check from Creekstone Farms over to Taste of the Nation Orlando.
 
“We are so grateful to the chefs, sponsors, volunteers and guests who joined us this year to help combat hunger in Central Florida,” said Michele Byington, co-chair for Taste of the Nation Orlando. “We are proud to supports the efforts of Coalition for the Homeless and Second Harvest Food Bank who safeguard our most vulnerable neighbors against hunger.”
 
The funds from Taste of the Nation Orlando will help Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida provide food, shelter and services to more than 150 children and their families each night in the coming year. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida will direct the funds raised from Taste of the Nation Orlando to Benefits Connection, one of their primary feeding programs. Since 2008, Benefits Connection has secured more than $80 million in unused SNAP benefits for thousands of Central Florida families by helping qualified candidates overcome the challenges associated with accessing assistance.
 
Celebrating its 25th year, Taste of the Nation Orlando was locally presented by Quality One Wireless along with local sponsors AmeriFactors, Darden Restaurants, Regions Bank, Rosen Foundation and many more. For our complete list of sponsors, please visit http://ce.strength.org/orlando. Special thanks to Orlando World Center Marriott who donated the event space, Progressive Communications who donated printing services, Whole Foods Market who donated pantry staples for the Creekstone Farms Chef Throwdown, and Christopher Rank who contributed his talent as event photographer.
 
Eola Wine Company and The Ancient Olive returned to support Taste of the Nation Orlando’s fund-raising efforts for the second consecutive year. Eola Wine Company hosted a weekly wine series for six weeks leading up to the main event with all proceeds benefitting Taste of the Nation Orlando’s beneficiaries. The Ancient Olive donated $1 for each bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar it sold throughout the month of July at its four Florida locations while the Spice & Tea Exchange of Winter Park donated $1 for each gourmet salt grinder sold.
 
World of Beer - Dr. Phillips toasted Taste of the Nation Orlando with a craft beer tasting night with proceeds from sales benefitting Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. These same brews were also served inside Taste of the Nation’s European-style bier garden sponsored by World of Beer.
 
Taste of the Nation Orlando was organized by a volunteer steering committee representing a variety of local businesses and organizations and is led by committee co-chairs Michele Byington of Regions Bank and Bill Sullivan of I. Wanna Distributors, Inc.

ABOUT SHARE OUR STRENGTH’S TASTE OF THE NATION® ORLANDO 

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: 
Website: tasteofthenation.org/orlando 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OrlandoTaste 
Twitter: @OrlandoTaste 
 
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/
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25th Annual 

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 withOrlando 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.” 

TASTE OF THE NATION ORLANDO 

WHEN:  

Saturday, August 9, 2014  
6:45 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.  

WHERE:  

Orlando World Center Marriott  
8701 World Center Dr., Orlando  

TICKETS:  

$150 each  

ATTIRE:  

Cocktail / Semi-Formal  

ABOUT SHARE OUR STRENGTHS TASTE OF THE NATION® ORLANDO  

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:  

Website: tasteofthenation.org/orlando  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OrlandoTaste  
Twitter: @OrlandoTaste  

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® campaigna national effort to end childhood hunger in AmericaShare 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/

 

JEFF BRIDGES HELPS TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD HUNGER:

 

Actor Jeff Bridges fights childhood food insecurity with the No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength campaign. As the national spokesperson, Bridges advocates for increased awareness of the problem and solutions, including universal breakfast in schools and summer meal programs.

It affects me in a personal way thinking about what that would feel like if I wasnt able to provide for my kids, Bridges said. See the video here.

 

Locally Presented By:

Darden Logo

2014 Silent Auction Highlights:
 

Bidding has begun! To register or bid, click here.

 

Entertainment

LIMO Cycle TourNight Out With the "Fat Guy"


Food & Beverage

Dinner for 8 at Eddie V's With Brand PresidentSamuel Adams Brewery Tour


Getaways

Rogers Hotel and JetBlue TicketsGiant Recreation World RV Rental


Gifts

Tiger Woods PIN FlagLeBron James Autograph


Sports & Leisure

Foursome of Golf at Celebration for 8Classic Wrigley Field Rooftop


 

Social Media Ambassadors:


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2013

2012

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2010

Please contact us regarding event details, PR/media, restaurant participation, volunteering or donating an auction item. Thank you!

 

Ticket Information

Andrea Patenaude, 407-808-7508
AP6433@att.com

Event Chair

Michele Byington 407-246-5504
Michele.Byington@regions.com

PR/Marketing Chair

Matt Harrison, 407-616-7517
MattHarrison78@aol.com

Restaurant & Beverage Chair

Bill Sullivan 407-292-0299
sully32751@aol.com

Silent & Live Auction Chair

Collen Herrick 407-679-5150
colleen@careerchoice.cc

Website Maintenance

David Sikes 407.463.2925
David@SikesPC.com

Local Beneficiaries:

  • Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida - Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida’s mission is to transform the lives of homeless men, women, and children by providing crucial services to end their crisis of homelessness. Every day, the Coalition helps an average of 650 homeless individuals, about 200 of whom are children with an average age of less than eight years old.
     
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida - Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects and distributes donated food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia.
     

Statewide Beneficiaries:

  • Florida Impact - Florida Impact's mission is to inspire and enlist the people of Florida to secure justice for and with those whose economic rights have not been realized. We also work to increase access to food programs by conducting aggressive outreach strategies and public policy advocacy.

 

Venue Information:

The 25th annual Taste of the Nation Orlando will be held at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

Address and directions can be found at the top of this page. Rooms can be booked at a special event rate using this reservation link.

 

National Presenting Sponsor

National Sponsors

This Event Sponsored By

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Washington DC 20005

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