The 22nd anniversary celebration of Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Atlanta raised $695,000 to end childhood hunger in Atlanta and across America. Approximately 950 people gathered at the Georgia Aquarium on May 12 for the gourmet food and wine event that featured specialty food samplings from nearly 50 of the city’s top chefs, as well as live and silent auctions, wine tastings and live entertainment.
All of the net proceeds from Taste of the Nation Atlanta help fund the development and implementation of Share Our Strength’s strategy to end childhood hunger, and support organizations, such as the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline and Genesis, A New Life.
“We were very pleased to raise so much money with the support of our sponsors and guests, especially in a time when families and children have an even greater need for food assistance,” said Allison Palestrini, incoming Atlanta Director of Share Our Strength.
Highlights of the live auction included a in-home chef dinner hosted by Ted Turner and George McKerrow at Ted Turner’s penthouse that was sold for $21,000. This gourmet five-course meal for ten with wine pairings features courses by Chefs Pano Karatassos (Kyma), Gerry Klaskala (Aria), Ian Winslade (Buckhead Bottle Bar), Gary Donlick (Bistro Niko), Piero Premoli (Pricci) and Jonathan St. Hilaire (Concentrics’ Bakeshop). Honorary Chef Dean Fearing was so moved during the event’s auction that he joined the stage and offered to fly in for the Ted Turner auction winner when the dinner is hosted.
Pano Karatassos, founder of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, started the Taste of the Nation Atlanta event in 1988 and has chaired the event each year since. He was joined this year by George McKerrow, President/CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill. Dean Fearing, chef/partner Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, served as National Honorary Chef. Fearing’s Restaurant was named “Restaurant of the Year” and “Table of the Year” by Esquire Magazine in 2007 and was named No. 1 in “Hotel Dining in the U.S.” by Zagat in 2009. Actress and fitness icon Jane Fonda served as honorary chairperson.
Applauded as the first-ever culinary benefit in the nation and a model for successful fundraisers throughout the country, Taste of the Nation Atlanta is one of nearly 40 events hosted throughout the United States and Canada. The Atlanta event has raised nearly $7 million since its inception and for the last decade it has been the country’s top fundraising city.
“An end to childhood hunger in the United States is within reach,” said Bill Shore, Founder and Executive Director of Share Our Strength. “With all the participants in Taste of the Nation Atlanta sharing their strengths, we are creating more resources for the greater good of Atlanta and our great nation.”