Last Thursday I got the chance to meet and interview some amazing chefs, taste their food and all for a great cause. As I wrote in my previous blog, Taste of the Nation is an event hosted by by Share our Strength (SOS). SOS is charity that fights to end childhood hunger in America. They host a series of events throughout the country called Taste of the Nation to raise money and awareness to end childhood hunger. On Thursday evening my dad and I drove down to the Broward (Fort Lauderdale) Convention Center (good thing there wasn’t any school on Friday). As I entered the convention center I couldn’t help but feel like I was at a Hollywood premier! Projectors displayed sponsor names on the wall such as Food Network, Florida Table, Whole Foods and more! There were booths filled with busy Chef’s cooking and displaying their food. We soon met up with our hosts Kelly Murphy and Sari Vatski, who were the organizer’s of the event. In the same way in which I’m passionate about food Kelly and Sari are passionate about SOS and the fact that this is taste of the nations 19th year definitely shows.
Jeremy and Taste of the Nation's Event Chairperson, Kelly Murphy
As I interviewed different Chefs from restaurants such as 3030 Ocean, Café Maxx, Chops Lobster Bar, III Forks, Karl’s Catering, and Sister’s in pink catering, I got to try some extraordinary food. Pulled pork, ceviche, sweet corn seafood chowder (made by award winning Chef Dean James Max), skirt steak, truffle French fries (my favorite of the night) and so much more.
Jeremy with award winning Chef (and event Chef Chairperson) Dean Max
Cooking demonstrations were also being held at the event and Ingrid Hoffman of Food Network’s Simply Deliscioso was their cooking up some Latino favorites. I wanted to get an interview with her but I didn’t know if she had the time. Fortunately someone tapped me on the shoulder and low and behold it was Ingrid’s manager, with Ingrid! We sat down and talked (felt like the SOBE Fest), she was upbeat and full of Latino flare.
Jeremy with Food Network star Ingrid Hoffman
I also got to talk to Dean James Max of 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale. Chef Max grew up cooking like me and originally attended FSU (Florida State University) for a business degree. After taking a trip to Florence, Italy everything changed and he was hooked on food and cooking more then ever. He has a real passion for seafood and it was a privilege to talk to such a dedicated and passionate chef. It seemed to be an ongoing theme throughout the evening, every chef I talked to was incredibly passionate about what they were doing and inspired me since I feel the same way. The event ended with an auction hosted by Celebrity Chef Ralph Pagano, host of his own show Pressure Cook (on Spike TV).
All of the contributing Chefs on stage
The whole evening was amazing and to think that all of this was for such a great cause made it even better. I ask all of you who are reading to roll up your sleeves and cook up your own way to help end childhood hunger. Keep On cooking!