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



Share Our Strength's

25th Annual Taste of the Nation Orlando

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Orlando World Center Marriott

8701 World Center Drive

Orlando, FL 32821

Event Chairmen: Bill Sullivan & Michele Byington


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25th Annual 
Taste of the Nation Orlando

Taste of the Nation Orlando 2013 Recap:

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® Orlando raised $245,192 to support the feeding programs of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, along with statewide organization Florida Impact.
Thirty-five of Central Florida’s finest chefs gathered for this premier culinary fundraising event at the Orlando World Center Marriott on Aug. 10 to feed more than 2,000 guests with a delectable array of appetizers, entrees and desserts.
A silent auction presented by Neiman Marcus and a live auction added another element of entertainment to this year’s Taste of the Nation Orlando offering guests chances to win exotic trips and adventures, objects d'art, memorabilia, dining experiences at restaurants, and one-of-a-kind items. An instant wine cellar raffle awarded 150 bottles of wine to the person who purchased the winning key that opened the locked wine door.
The highlight of the evening was the Creekstone Farms Chef Throwdown, a cooking challenge that pitted Chef Jared Thate from Cask & Larder against Chef Lindsay Vandentoorn from Orlando World Center Marriott. Emceed by radio personalities Dana Taylor from MIX 105.1 and Paco from 1059 SUNNY FM, the Creekstone Farms Chef Throwdown gave each chef 20 minutes to create an award-winning meal using Creekstone Farms Premium Black Angus Beef. Celebrity judges WFTV anchor Bob Opsahl, Scott Joseph from Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide and Honorary Chair and philanthropist Lucille O’Neal awarded Vandentoorn the chef throwdown title and the honor of signing a generous check to Taste of the Nation Orlando from Creekstone Farms.
“We’re pleased to have put on another successful event,” said Michele Byington, co-chair for Taste of the Nation Orlando. “I wish the problem of childhood hunger wasn’t so prominent in our community, but I hope that our event continues to raise awareness and provides relief to the kids in Central Florida through our friends at Coalition for the Homeless and Second Harvest Food Bank.” 
The funds from Taste of the Nation Orlando will help Coalition for the Homeless assist 250 children every night and Second Harvest Food Bank supply 70,000 meals a day.
Celebrating its 24th year, Taste of the Nation Orlando was locally presented by Darden Restaurants and sponsored by Orlando World Center Marriott, Regions Bank, Harris Rosen Foundation, Creekstone Farms, Walt Disney World, Whole Foods Market, AmeriFactors, Bags, Inc., Hilton Grand Vacations, Noble Marketing, Westgate Foundation, CBS Radio’s MIX 105.1 and 1059 SUNNY FM, and WFTV Channel 9 Family Connection. 
Local band Crash Reality provided live music for the evening, Orlando World Center Marriott donated the event space, Progressive Communications donated printing services, DSWfoto contributed their talent as event photographers, and DeMarco Films donated their videography services. 
Eola Wine Company and The Ancient Olive joined this year’s Taste of the Nation Orlando’s fund-raising efforts in unique ways. Eola Wine Company hosted a weekly wine series on the event’s behalf, while The Ancient Olive donated a dollar for each bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar it sold throughout the month of July.
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.
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; local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. 
For more information:
Twitter: @OrlandoTaste
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



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 wasn’t able to provide for my kids,” Bridges said. See the video here.


Locally Presented By:

Darden Logo

2013 Live Auction Items:

Pre-register your phone for 2013's bidding by clicking here!

2013 Silent Auction Highlights:

(Scroll Down to View Live Auction Highlights)



Universal Orlando: Two-Park VIP TourFour admissions to Bok Tower/Gardens



Food & Beverage

Chef Keith R. Esbin: Hands-on, in home sushi class for 20JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes: Chef's Table-dinner for six




JetBlue: 12 roundtrip ticketsHilton Grand Vacations: Four nights in a two bedroom suite at Las Vegas.



Regions Bank: Green Regions Beach Cruiser bicycleA pair of lifetime Taste of the Nation Orlando tickets.



Sports & Leisure

Celebration Golf Club: Four rounds of golfOrlando Magic: Autographed Arron Affalo Basketball



2013 Live Auction Items



You deserve a little time in paradise. Get away to Cancun Mexico for a  5 day/4 night stay at The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort. You will stay in a beautifully furnished one-bedroom/one-bath premium villa that comfortably accommodates up to four people. Overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea, The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort enjoys  a tranquil setting along a beautiful beach. Intuitively designed to suit your personal needs, this five-star resort will refresh your spirit while placing you only minutes from Cancun's energetic nightlife. This trip also comes with 2 roundtrip plane tickets from our friends at JetBlue.

Sushi Party

Are you ready to be a sushi master? How about a sushi making party in your own home for 10 people? Local celebrity chef Keith R. Esbin a.k.a. The Greyhound Chef, will teach you how to make nigiri, maki, and hand rolls. There will be plenty of food and fun for everyone! And that's not all. We will throw in a bottle of saki for everyone. 

Exotic Supercar Driving Experience in Las Vegas

Do you have the need for speed? Here's your chance to drive some of the world's most desirable dream cars in one of the world's most exotic locations, Las Vegas, NV. You and a guest will fly round trip to Sin City and stay 3-nights at the Renaissance Hotel. Then, you'll head to the Dream Car Garage on the Las Vegas Strip to pick the four cars you'll drive from the fleet which includes cars like the Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari 458, Jaguar XKR-S, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Audi R8, and Bentley Continental. You'll be behind the wheel for a guided tour through Red Rock Canyon, part of the Mojave Desert.  

Fighter Pilot

Do you have the need for MORE speed? Experience what it's like to be a fighter pilot in a real military aircraft in search of enemy airplanes. You'll have a military style briefing and be given your own jumpsuit before taking off with an experienced pilot practicing formations, basic maneuvers, and of course, mid-air dogfights utilizing a state-of-the-art laser system which shows hits and strikes. When you're finished, you'll get a DVD of your flight recorded by three on-board cameras to take home to make sure this is an experience you'll never forget. 

World Golf Hall of Fame Getaway

Fore! Make your way over to St. Augustine for a golf weekend you'll never forget including a round of golf for two, a 2-night stay at the Marriott World Golf Village Renaissance Resort, two tickets to the World Golf Hall of Fame, and lunch for two at Bill Murray's Caddyshack Restaurant. 


You and a guest will enjoy the experience of a lifetime attending either the American Music Awards or ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, CA. Both experiences come with tickets to the show, accommodations at a 4-star hotel, an airfare credit, and more. 
AMA's (November 2013)
" 2 prime tickets to the American Music Awards - orchestra level
" 2 VIP Pre-party passes
" 2 Red carpet Viewing area passes
" Walk into Nokia theater on the same red carpet that the celebrities walk in on
" Limo parking pass
" Commemorative gift package
" Three Course Dinner for 2 at a local restaurant
" 2-night deluxe accommodations at a 4-star Hollywood/LA property
" $650 airfare credit
ESPY Awards, Los Angeles, CA (July 2014)
" 2 tickets to ESPY awards
" 2 tickets to the ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic
" 3-night deluxe accommodations at a 4-star Hollywood/LA property
" $650 airfare credit








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

Event Chair

Michele Byington 407-246-5504

PR/Marketing Chair

Matt Harrison, 407-616-7517

Restaurant & Beverage Chair

Bill Sullivan 407-292-0299

Silent & Live Auction Chair

Collen Herrick 407-679-5150

Website Maintenance

David Sikes 407.463.2925

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.


National Presenting Sponsor

National Sponsors

This Event Sponsored By

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© 2013 Share Our Strength

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

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