Taste of the Nation® Orlando Posts Fundraising Record

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We are excited to report that 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.  That’s a 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 Saturday, August 9, 2014 to dazzle more than 2,000 guests with their culinary delights and raise critical funds for childhood hunger relief in the community.

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Along with delicious food and spirits, guest enjoyed live music by the Mud Rooster Band and an exciting silent auction.  An Instant Wine Cellar game awarded 170 bottles of wine valued at more than $3,500 to the person with the key that opened the wine door. Other amazing prizes were awarded throughout the evening to lucky winners, including  an all-expense paid trip for two to Oktoberfest in Munich.

The highlight of the evening was the Creekstone Farms Chef Throwdown, a culinary cook-off 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, each chef was given 20 minutes to create a dish using Creekstone Farms sirloin flap steak and pantry staples donated by Whole Foods Market. Judges Scott Joseph from Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, WFTV’s Bob Opsahl, and Honorary Chair Helen Donegan determined Gawlak’s tostada deserved the chef throwdown title. She was granted the honor of signing over a $5,000 check from Creekstone Farms to Taste of the Nation Orlando.

Funds from the event will help the Coalition provide food, shelter and services to more than 150 children and their families each night in the coming year.  For this, we are deeply indebted to the Taste Committee and Co-Chairs Michele Byington and Bill Sullivan, the Orlando World Center Marriott, as well as the chefs, volunteers, guests and sponsors, such as Quality One Wireless, AmeriFactors, Darden Restaurants, Regions Bank, Rosen Foundation and many more. For our complete list of sponsors, please visit http://ce.strength.org/orlando.

Thank you everyone for a wonderful evening that will help safeguard so many of our vulnerable neighbors from hunger in the months to come.

Why not relive the evening here through photos?

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