Wednesday night at the Taste of the Nation in Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion, more than 30 chefs and restaurateurs will fill small plates with samples of some of their best foods. It’s so some kids from Palm Beach County can eat nourishing meals at school or summer programs – often, their only meal of the day.
The dine-around event that restarted in Palm Beach County last year for SOS is again being led by chefs Zach Bell and Clay Conley – with help from chef Allen Susser of Miami, a long-time Taste of the Nation supporter.
“We wanted to keep it going – it’s a great cause. Now with summer coming up, we’ll get the backpack meals to kids,” Bell said. The chef at Addison Reserve Country Club in Boca Raton cited statistics that show that on average, 75 percent of the public schoolkids in Palm Beach County are eligible for reduced-price or free meals. “Even A-rated schools. That’s just wrong,” he said. “We can do better.”
Clay Conley, of Buccan and Imoto in Palm Beach, says fighting child hunger is the reason he’s on board as a co-chair again. “While there is still a long way to go, Share Our Strength has made great strides in generating awareness of this issue. There is no reason that any kid in this country should be in want of food.”
Share Our Strength benefits a number of charities that provide food to the needy, including the food bank Feeding South Florida, the Boys and Girls Club, United Way, and No Kid Hungry Florida, which funds after-school meals, community gardens and programs that teach families about eating healthy on less.
The Taste of the Nation event is copied around the nation throughout the year, with major cities hosting their own version of the dine-around. The West Palm Beach event is staffed by volunteers and with donated foods and other items, maintains a low overhead, so nearly all of the money raised is returned to the area. Last year the event brought in close to $60,000; they’re aiming for more this year, Bell said, and hoping that those who can’t come to the dinner choose to make a donation to SOS.
Restaurants that will be serving include some newcomers to the event like PB Catch and The Wine Dive, along with Joe’s Stone Crab of Miami. Others are 3800 Ocean, Buccan, Burger Bar, Café Boulud, Café Chardonnay, Casa D’Angelo, Chops Lobster Bar, City Fish Market, Dada, Echo at The Breakers, Gazebo Café, Grease Burger Bar, Guanabana’s, Hollywood Cupcake, I Heart Olive Oil, Ironwood Steak & Seafood, Leila, Max’s Harvest, Pistache, Rocco’s Tacos, Talay Thai, The Restaurant at The Four Seasons, Angle at the Ritz Carlton, The Sugar Monkey, and Whole Foods Market.
Live entertainment and a silent auction, with event chairs Mo and Sally from Kool 105.5 radio, will be part of the event.
General admission tickets are $90; VIP tickets for early entry are $150.
Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
- Wednesday, June 20, 6-9:30 p.m.
- The Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
- For tickets and information: www.strength.org – click on Taste of the Nation