Photo by Gamma Nine
The James Beard Taste America tour highlights phenomenal chefs, outstanding food and making an impact.
The James Beard Award is the most prestigious honor in the culinary industry, recognizing the country’s best chefs and restaurants. Seven years ago, the James Beard Foundation (JBF) began its Taste America tour to celebrate culinary talent in cities across the country.
The most recent Taste America tour kicked off in July in New York City and is traveling to 20 cities through June 2020 including Miami, Phoenix, New Orleans, Seattle, Houston, Boston, San Francisco and Denver.
“This year’s stops are in spectacular food destinations with James Beard Award-winning chefs, like Curtis Stone, restaurateurs and restaurants, as well as chefs who have participated in the Foundation’s other leadership and sustainability programs,” said Alison Tozzi Liu, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Content for JBF.
Photo by Gamma Nine
CELEBRATING CULINARY EXCELLENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY
JBF and Taste America represent much more than great food and outstanding chefs. In addition to celebrating culinary excellence, JBF is focused on sustainability, leadership and advocacy. “The Foundation has created signature impact-oriented initiatives that include women’s leadership programs aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in the culinary industry; advocacy training through our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change; and leadership awards that shine a spotlight on successful change makers,” said Tozzi Liu.
Taste America furthers JBF’s mission to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone. In alignment with JBF’s mission, Taste America has evolved over the years to highlight sustainability and education through its events. “Taste America has always been a celebration of the American food culture across the country. Over the years, the program has evolved to incorporate more of the Foundation’s mission-based programs,” said Tozzi Liu.
Taste America has always been a celebration of the American food culture across the country.
Photo by Eliesa Johnson
HIGHLIGHTING LOCAL TALENT
Taste America includes events in different formats at different price points including pop-up dinners and Raising the Bar cocktail receptions highlighting small bites from local chefs and libations from local mixologists.
Several Taste America cities have a gala dinner to raise funds for culinary scholarships. The gala features a reception with dishes from local chefs, and a dinner menu created by a visiting all-star chef, a local all-star chef and a host chef. The Taste America Phoenix event includes a Raising the Bar reception on September 19 and a gala dinner on September 20 with visiting all-star chef and television personality Tiffany Derry, owner of Roots Chicken Shak and Tiffany Derry Concepts in the Dallas area.
The local all-star chef is Danielle Leoni, executive chef and co-owner of The Breadfruit and Rum Bar, who has participated in several JBF programs, including the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change and Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Participating chefs consider it an honor to be included in the event. Chef Tandy Peterson from Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona is excited to be participating in the Taste America Phoenix gala dinner.
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“Not only is it amazing to be selected to cook for some of the best chefs and foodies, but it is amazing to be surrounded by the incredible talent of the people participating in the event with me. I have so much respect for the chefs selected.”
“Not only is it amazing to be selected to cook for some of the best chefs and foodies, but it is amazing to be surrounded by the incredible talent of the people participating in the event with me. I have so much respect for the chefs selected,” she said.
It is Chef Peterson’s first time being involved in a James Beard event. “The James Beard Awards are given to top chefs who are consistently pushing themselves to make a bigger impact on the world, whether it is choosing sustainable food to help impact the environment or just making incredible food that will be talked about for generations to come,” she said.
Photo Courtesy of The Phoenician
Photo by Eliesa Johnson
GIVING BACK TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES
Food donations are an important component of Taste America events across the country. This year, JBF is working with the Food Recovery Network to ensure that all surplus food from Taste America events will be recovered and donated to hunger-fighting nonprofits in each city.
In addition to food donations, Taste America events also raise money for scholarships for culinary students. JBF’s robust scholarship program has distributed over $8.5 million in financial aid to more than 2,000 students pursuing their education in the food and beverage industry. While Taste America is centered around outstanding food and exceptional chefs in communities across America, these events are also an opportunity to promote sustainability.
“Taste America aims to bring food lovers across the country a unique dining experience while enabling them to learn more about the impact of their food choices from passionate leaders who are changing the food landscape,” said Tozzi Liu.