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August 20, 2006 - Pick up a fork for Taste of the Nation

What: Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation

Where: Westin Tabor Center

When: August 20th, 2006

Time: 4:00PM-7:00PM

Ticket Prices: $65

Mistress of Ceremonies: for the Cookoffs Sissy Biggers of Ready....Set....Cook!

Sponsors: Presenting Sponsors: American Express and Jenn-Air Sponsors: Sysco, Jack Daniels, Coors, Integer, Rocky Mountain News, Qwest, Izze, While Foods Cherry Creek, Metropolitan Mudd Coffee Co. Beneficiaries: Operation Frontline Colorado, Women's Bean Project, Food Bank, Volunteers of America

Donors: Participating Restaurants: The Avenue Grill, Buca di Beppo, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Cru, Ellyngton's at the Brown Palace, Fancy to Fantasy Catered Affairs, India House, Jazz at Jack's, La Tour Restaurant, Lifestyles Catering, The 9th Door, O's Restaurant, The Oven, PF Chang's, Palace Arms, Palm Restaurant, Pearl Street Grill, Sparrow, Tamayo, Tuscany Restaurant, 240 Union, Vesta Dipping Grill, Via Trattoria and Bar, Zengo; Participating Wineries: Acacia, Alfredo Roca, Antinori, Black Chook, Budini, Castello Banfi, Casa de la Ermita, Chateau St. Michelle, Columbia Crest, Concha y Toro, Crios, Devil's Lair, Falveley, Firestation Red, Fleur de California, Glen Carlou, Grant Burge, Green Point, Gundlach Bundschu, Hess, Kenwood Vineyards, Lake Sonoma, Lindemans, Mahoney Vineyards, Mas Igneus, Michael David Vineyards, Moet & Chandon, Newton Vineyards, Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Robert Craig, Robert Young Estate, Rosemount, Rutherford Hill, Santa Margarita, Schramsberg, Silverado Vineyards, Sonoma Coast, Steltzner, Sterling Vineyards, Taft Street, Tatiarra, Valckenberg, Valley of the Moon, Ventana, Villa Diana, Wolf Blass, Yellowglan, Zaca Mesa

Blacktie Photos by: Chelsea Wyatt

 Chris Clarke, winner of the Denver's Top Home Chef Competition
Chris Clarke, winner of the Denver's Top Home Chef Competition

by Chelsea Wyatt

There are few nobler causes today than fighting hunger. Fighting it by picking up a fork and sampling the best gourmet restaurants in Denver at Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation is one experience every Coloradoan should have.

Amazingly, although the United States is touted as the richest nation in the world, more than 33 million Americans cannot afford enough food to meet their basic needs. This is one in ten households! In other words, these 13 million children and 20 million adults live on the edge of hunger because they lack sufficient resources.

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation on Sunday, August 20th is taking leaps, bounds, and bites toward solving the problem. Jazz at Jack's set the tone for a classy, relaxing evening with some classic jazz, as hundreds of Coloradoans got to partake the best that the state's restaurants and world's wines have to offer!

Share Our Strength is one of the nation's leading anti-hunger organizations. They are committed to building the first hunger-free generation in America. Share Our Strength understands that although most poor families in America are working families, the low wages earned by millions of Americans are just not enough to cover the cost of housing, medical care, child care, transportation, clothing, and food. Employment is simply not enough to safeguard against hunger and poverty.

Their Taste of the Nation truly takes a bite out of hunger. It is the largest nationwide culinary benefit to fight hunger. The event takes place in more than 100 cities and has raised over $25 million to improve communities all over America.

Taste of the Nation is also THE best and most cost effective way to experience the choicest of Colorado's restaurants and worldly wines. Two dozen of the city's top restaurants came together to offer hors d'oeuvres from cities all over Colorado. It would actually cost more in gas to drive to each of the restaurants, from The Avenue Grill to Zengo! And here, all of the gourmet samples are literally right around the corner....all that was needed was to stroll to the next booth, and view the next delectible creation.

A personal favorite was an incredible whitefish Tuna dressed in Hawaiian style with mango dressing and greens from O's Restaurant. One of the best parts of the event was discovering new, or new-to-you restaurants with samples so tasty you know you'll have to go just to sample the whole menu.

The backdrop of the Westin Hotel this year certainly made the event even more cozy than ever, perfect for an evening out. An evening out would not be complete without entertainment, however, and Taste of the Nation provided this as well. First, the hottest new jazz club in Denver, Jazz at Jack's was present. They were represented by the actual owners, Dotsero, which is a very well known local jazz duo.

Secondly, and definitely not least, was the Jenn-Air Cooking Competition. This is an always interesting and fun chef battle for the best.This year, professional chefs Rollie Wesen of Via Trattoria and repeat contender Elise Wiggins of Panzano joined in friendly competition in the "For the Love of Cooking" professional chef contest.

The heat got really turned up, however, in the Denver's Top Home Chef contest, where Jenn-Air actually offers each year's winner appliances for their home valued at $5,000! This year, they also threw in a $600 knife set. It was battle of the best amateurs, and in the end, Chris Clarke took home the prize.

Don't miss out next year for Denver's original tasting event, Taste of the Nation. If not for the food, come for the silent auctions. These items included things like two nights at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Aspen, worth $1,300 and a fully stocked Jenn-Air wine cellar worth $1,850!

With the help of the city's best chefs, restaurants, wineries, and hungry Coloradoans, Taste of the Nation Denver has raised over $2,470,000 since 1988 for the fight against childhood hunger. Come pick up your fork and chime your glass next year and join SOS in the fight against hunger.

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