Chefs and sommeliers join forces to end childhood hunger

An estimated one in six children in America lives with hunger, including more than one in five kids in California.

San Francisco’s Taste of the Nation will be Thursday, March 28, from 6:30-9:00 PM at the Regency Ballroom. (Dustin Downing/ Special to S.F. Examiner)

An estimated one in six children in America lives with hunger, including more than one in five kids in California. There is no doubt that working together to generate increased public awareness and resources can solve this problem. Luckily, an upcoming San Francisco event affords opportunities to be part of the solution while exploring your inner gourmand.

On March 28, in the historic Regency Ballroom on Sutter and Van Ness, San Francisco’s Taste of the Nation will bring together more than 50 local chefs, mixologists and vintners. The evening, which will also include live music, will raise money to help end childhood hunger in California and across the nation.

The event will “ bring together a diverse and dedicated group of culinary professionals, both to recognize the creative talent in the Bay Area as well as the generosity of the restaurant industry, said Kathy A. Saile, Director, CA No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Among the more than 30 restaurants participating are Octavia, Perbacco, The Slanted Door, One Market Restaurant, Credo and FARM at Carneros.

“Credo will be featuring a spring appetizer, with first of the season white & green asparagus, sauce gribiche and fines herbs, “ said Chef Larry Finn. “Our delicious white asparagus are imported from France and our local green asparagus are from Zuckerman Farms in Stockton. We couldn’t be more excited for spring and the bounty of vegetables that it brings.”

Among the participating Bay Area vintners are DuMol Winery, HALL and WALT Wines, Ladera Vineyards, MacRostie Winery and Vineyards and Patz and Hall. There will be plenty of cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chardonnay and other varietals to choose from. I anticipate there will also be some trendy “designer” rose showcased throughout the evening.

“All of the wines we’re pouring are medium in body, with great intensity of flavor, and an underlying beam of acidity to keep the palate refreshed and ready for another sip…and bite,” said MacRostie’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Don Davis. The vineyard is proud to participate, he said, and excited about sharing new releases like the 2016 Thale’s Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Taste of the Nation has raised over $100 million in the US since 1988. There is a nice symmetry for the food and beverage industry to take the lead in addressing childhood hunger. “By showcasing each market’s unique local food scene, this series of distinct events unites under the common goal of ensuring every kid in the United States gets three meals a day,” says Jessie Niewold, Director, Taste of the Nation.

One-hundred percent of the event’s proceeds support the No Kid Hungry campaign and Taste of the Nation is partnering with California Food Policy Advocates, the California Association of Food Banks and the non-profit 18 Reasons cooking school to target funds.

For years, educators have pointed to childhood hunger, specifically the lack of a balanced breakfast, as a major obstacle in a child’s ability to focus and learn. Last year’s San Francisco event raised over $250,000

that was distributed among Bay Area schools including the San Francisco and Oakland Unified School Districts.

In addition to exceptional food, wine and cocktails, this year’s event will feature a macaron station from Food La La, where attendees can decorate their own macarons and have them packaged to take home.

Chef Chair Melissa Perello of Frances and Octavia restaurants, who will be hosting this year’s event along with Chef Josh Even of Tofino Wines, has high expectations for a great event that supports a noble cause. “I’m proud to partner with No Kid Hungry for a fun evening that’s serious about ending childhood hunger.”

San Francisco’s Taste of the Nation will be Thursday, March 28, from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the Regency Ballroom. General admission tickets are $150 per person with a variety of VIP ticket options and sponsorship opportunities available.

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Lyle W. Norton is a wine enthusiast and blogger in Santa Rosa who has written a wine column for 15 years. Visit his blog at or email him at He is a guest columnist.

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