In early August, I attended the kick-off for Taste America, a ten-city culinary tour organized by the legendary James Beard Foundation. I spent most of the night devouring appetizers created by Bryan Hunt, executive chef at soon-to-open Fowler & Wells.
Uni custard? Why not. Mini beef-wellington? Yes, please!
When I wasn’t shoveling hors d’oeuvres into my mouth, I gawked at the circle of culinary powerhouses, including Amanda Frietag, Missy Robbins, and Scott Conant. While the fangirl in me wanted to walk up and introduce myself, my instincts told me otherwise. Later that night, I nearly dropped fois gras onto Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Clarkson.
But back to the important stuff.
Taste America, which kicks off September 23rd, will give attendees an inside look at the world of local and all-star chefs. In each city, duos will create a “one-of-a-kind collaborative dinner” that celebrates culinary talent and regional cuisines, according to JBF’s Editorial Director, Alison Tozzi Liu.
In addition to these dope meals, Taste America features cooking demos that are appropriate for a home cook, but that teach a specific technique, according to Liu.
“Every city and every event tells a different story of American cooking,” Liu said.
But Taste America goes beyond just great food. A portion of the proceeds will go to scholarship funds in each location. Moreover, dinner in Charleston (Friday, November 4th), spearheaded by Chefs Dan Barber and Sean Brock, will focus on food waste reduction and will highlight underutilized ingredients. Kick-off host Tom Collichio said it’s “really great to see the Foundation get behind promoting better food through better policy.”
For more information and a full schedule of events, check out James Beard Foundation’s website. For those who can’t make it, the James Beard Foundation plans to live stream all cooking demos.