Probably so, and how privileged we are to be able to do so.
Taste of the Nation is a benefit for Share our Strength nationally. Locally, it supports Coalition for the Homeless and Second Harvest Food Bank. 100% of the ticket purchases for Taste of the Nation went towards feeding children. There were also silent auctions during the evening.
A few things I learned during the event and from the Coalition for the Homeless and Second Harvest web sites: Coalition for the Homeless served 300,000 meals last year. Nearly 732,000 people received food from Second Harvest in 2009 and over 47% of the households served were children. 55% of Second Harvest clients had to choose between paying utilities and purchasing food. Nationally, there are 17 million starving children - that's 1 in 4 kids. 637,000 of those children live in Florida.
The food at Taste of the Nation is nothing short of top notch: it's from the best restaurants and chefs in Orlando. Now, I feel the need to mention the dichotomy of indulging in such luxurious food at a benefit for hungry children. However, I think it is important to note that the food is donated and the chefs are providing their time gratis. The tickets are $150.00 each and go straight to feeding children. It's a big, splashy affair that is intended to shine a bright spotlight on the problems that our neighbors face, and the target of the event (I think) is people who have the resources to truly make a different.
I hope that the attendees paused at some point in the evening to notice their swanky surroundings and be grateful for all that they have, and that this served as a call to action. After all, talk is great, but action is better. I know that I need to do a way better job of contributing to my community.
OK - onto the food. Carolina did a great job covering the vegetarian options in her post. Like her, I loved the spaghetti squash from the Rosenshingle Creek Resort and went back for seconds. Below is a lobster, caviar, and tomato gratin dish that was just amazing.
Filet from Del Frisco's
Duck breast with an arugula salad and wine-poached pear from Universal Studios.
Universal's dessert buffet - my favorite dessert of the night!
Rosenshingle chefs hard at work
Gnocchi station from Portebello's restaurant at Downtown Disney
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and restaurant critic Scott Joseph judging the Orlando World Marriott Chef during a cook off.
My Mom and me - would you say there's a little resemblance?
Carolina and me and the shirt I'm going to borrow from her one day.
Taste of the Nation was amazing and I can't wait to go back next year, especially when I can partake in the wine and champagne. My Mom tells me the selection was fantastic.