Taste of the Nation Orlando – 2011 – recap

Originally posted on Blogger on August 14, 2011

I had the opportunity to attend the 22nd Annual Taste of the Nation event at the Orlando World Center Marriott last weekend as a local blogger, and it was an experience for which I am so glad I got the opportunity. Between the amazing food, the huge amount of participation in both the silent auction and the raffles, and the entertainment, the evening was certainly one to remember, not to mention wildly successful.

Thirty-six restaurants from the Orlando area donated their time and experience, making the almost 2000 attendees (and especially this foodie!) very happy as they made their rounds, trying one tasty morsel after another. For those that drink, there was plenty to go around, between the Blue Martini table in the VIP section, the Veev table, and several others.

Between ticket sales, the silent auction, and the raffles for both an “instant wine cellar” (seriously, the amount of wine the winning key-holder went home with was almost obscene) and a trip to Cancun, Share our Strength’s event raised a total of $167,500, all of which will go towards fighting childhood hunger. This constitutes 100% of the proceeds, as all of the food, drink, entertainment, auction/raffle items, and the venue itself were generously donated. Locally, both the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida will benefit from these proceeds. 



This car, located outside the ballroom entrance, demonstrated how much food just
one ticket to Taste of the Nation could purchase for a child in need
There was a chef showdown held between two local chefs using meat from Creekstone Farms (which is OMG good…you could cut it with a plastic fork, so tender), with Chef Dan Nester from Rosen Shingle Creek Resort coming out on top
A portion of the silent auction tables at the beginning of the event
Artwork at the Cafe Tu Tu Tango table
Charcuterie offerings from The Ravenous Pig
This tempura lobster taco from the Marriott was amazing
Cakes from Empress Sissi
The bread display for Cusano’s Bakery – after chatting with them, I found that they do much of the supplying for local restaurants and hotels. Unfortunately (for me, at least…the bread was SO good), they don’t sell anything other than commercial. They had a great reason for this, though. All of their bread is baked fresh daily with no preservatives, so it would just never last in stores and for home-purchasers. I’m thinking us Americans need to just embrace the French way of buying our bread daily 🙂
Rosen Shingle Creek Resort red velvet cake shot
I had a great time chatting with the folks at Le Cordon Bleu’s table, and their sugar displays are AMAZING. If you were not already aware, they hold one day classes for anyone to attend throughout the year. The schedule can be found on their website, here. Not only that, you can get a gourmet, multiple course meal at their on-site restaurant Technique for an insanely low price! I know I’ll be checking it out soon.

If you did not make it to this year’s event, I would strongly encourage you to go next year. There is very little better than an extraordinary evening out, and when it benefits an amazing organization like Share our Strength, it makes it a million times better.

Want to see more photos from this year’s event? Check out the OrlndoFoodie facebook page!



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