2013 Taste of the Nation Deals Blow to Childhood Hunger

Written By Scott Joseph On August 12, 2013

totn judgesJared Thate, center, sous chef at Cask & Larder serves his entry in the Creekstone Farms Chef Throwdown cooking competition to judges Bob Opsahl and Lucille O’Neal at the Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation fundraiser at the Marriott World Center Satuday night. The event raised $245,192.50, with every cent going to the charity.

totn fonzoKevin Fonzo of K restaurant was one of dozens of area chefs who stepped out of their kitchens to help raise money to end childhood hunger. Fonzo was serving beef cheeks. Other highlights of the evening included meatballs from Bram Fowler of Journeys Catering and duck confit from the Marriott team. 

totn contraptionThis contraption was the most interesting food delivery system of the evening, a conveyor belt like you might see at the dry cleaners with hanging platters of desserts.

totn riojaThe Rioja wine station was mobbed most of the night, and why not when you’ve got the lovely and talented Dhane Chesson, left, and Erin Allport doing the pouring.

totn jaredThe highlight of the evening was the cooking competition, which pitted Thate, above, against Lindsey Vandentoorn of the Marriott culinary crew. The chefs had 20 minutes to create an entree from a pantry of ingredients. Inasmuch as Creekstone Farms was the sponsor of the cookoff, the chefs pretty much knew the main ingredient would be beef. What they didn’t know is that the cut would be one neither one of them had ever heard of before, let alone worked with: the Vegas Strip Steak, a newly discovered cut of beef.

totn judingIt was not easy to decide the winner — both were very good.

totn wide shotSome of the commotion that surrounded the judges’ table as we contemplated our choices.

totn winnerBoth chefs did a terrific job with the entree, and the results were very close, but you can’t do better than a perfect score, which is what Vandentoorn received from the judges. Here she is presented with a ceremonial check for $5000. But although the check bears her name, the proceeds go directly to Share Our Strength to benefit local charities that work to put an end to childhood hunger.

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