23rd Taste of the Nation Orlando raises nearly $250,000 to fight childhood hunger!

Taste of the Nation Orlando

Share Our Strength’s 23rd Annual Taste of the Nation® Orlando was a huge success this past Saturday, raising $248,785 to fight childhoodTaste of the Nation Orlando hunger! Local beneficiaries are Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, along with the statewide Florida Impact.

More than 2,300 people enjoyed delicacies prepared by 37 of Central Florida’s leading restaurants, bubbly and other beverages from 18 top providers, and live music by local band, Crash Reality.

The night included a silent auction presented by Neiman Marcus, chance drawings for Jet Blue tickets and an island getaway, a live auction, and an instant “wine cellar” of 100 prime bottles to the lucky person whose key opened the lock.

Taste of the Nation OrlandoEmceed by DJs Scott McKenzie of MIX 105.1 and Paco of 1059 SUNNY FM, the event featured the Creekstone Farms “throw-down” cooking competition rematch. Honorary Event Chair Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Restaurant Guide’s Scott Joseph, and WFTV anchor Bob Opsahl were the judges. Winning for the second year, by just two points, chef Dan Nester of Rosen Shingle Creek Resort had the privilege of signing a generous check to Taste of the Nation Orlando from Creekstone Farms.

Beyond the great food and great drinks, the evening had a greater cause though – feeding hungry children.

Presented by Darden Restaurants, the fundraiser was organized by a 37-person volunteer steering committee representing a variety of local businesses and organizations. Committee co-chairs were Michele Byington of Regions Bank and Bill Sullivan of I. Wanna Distributors, Inc. This video helps portray our gratitude to them:

Thank you, Taste of the Nation

In addition to Darden, many thanks go to major local sponsors, including: the Orlando World Center Marriott, the Harris Rosen Foundation, Cadillac, Creekstone Farms, Walt DisneyTaste of the Nation Orlando World, Regions Bank, BB&T, Hilton Grand Vacations, Randy Schimmlpfennig of Morgan & Morgan, Whole Foods Market, CBS Radio’s MIX 105.1 and 1059 SUNNY FM, and WFTV Channel 9 Family Connection. National Taste of the Nation sponsors are the Food Network, Sysco, American Express, and Acqua Panna & S.Pellegrino fine dining waters.

We would also like to thank Progressive Communications for donating their printing services and Frank Mitchell, Brion Price Photography, and DSW Photography for their time and talents as the official event photographers.

What an evening!