Good news, Valley foodies! The James Beard Foundation’s 2019 Taste America presented by Capital One returns to the Valley for the seventh time Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 for a weekend of food-filled events. The series travels to 20 cities this year, honoring the nation’s diverse culinary culture and the important role that chefs play. Expanding for the first time to span nearly a full year, Taste America 2019/2020 will also be traveling to Atlanta; Boston; Charleston, SC; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles; Louisville, KY; Miami; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Nashville; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
Sept. 19: Raising the Bar
Phoenix’s weekend-long itinerary will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 19 with a Raising the Bar reception at Seventh & Union at Young’s Market Company at 6 p.m. Guests will enjoy a walk-around reception, meeting and greeting participating rising star mixologists Kyla Dahl from Pigtails Cocktail Bar, Keifer Gilbert from Toca Madera, Chanel Godwin-McMaken from Little Rituals, Matt Steward from UnderTow, and Henry Whittaker from Century Grand. At the reception, the guests will be able to enjoy an array of cocktails prepared by the mixologists and a variety of tasting items prepared by the chefs – Christopher Brugman of Castle Hot Springs, Dom Ruggiero of Hush Public House, Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper, Brett Vibber of Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine and Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood.
Sept. 20: Gala Benefit Dinner
Taste America’s weekend in Phoenix will continue on Friday, Sept. 20,, starting at 7 p.m. with a Gala Benefit Dinner at The Royal Palms Resort & Spa featuring a culinary dream team comprised of Arizona’s top chefs, including Taste America’s Visiting All-Star Tiffany Derry. The evening commences with a pre-dinner reception featuring five celebrated local chefs Cat Bunnag from Glai Baan, Stephen Jones from The Larder & The Delta, Tandy Peterson from Mowry & Cotton, Ryan Swanson from Kai, and Claudio Urciuoli from Pa’La .
Visiting National All-Star Roots Chicken Shak Chef Tiffany Derry and Local All-Star Chef Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit and Rum Bar (pictured) will create a three-course menu for the guests. The evening also includes a silent and live auction and will conclude with a dessert reception created by Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop Chef Danielle O’ Day and Royal Palms Resort & Spa Chef Hollie Layman-Sanders.
A portion of the proceeds from the benefit dinner will directly contribute to the Foundation’s Scholarship Programs. The Foundation has partnered with Food Recovery Network to ensure that Taste America events are Food Recovery Verified, meaning that all surplus food from these events will be recovered and donated to hunger-fighting nonprofits, who support food-insecure individuals, in each city. Through Food Recovery Verified, the Foundation can do its part to reduce food waste and hunger at the community level.