Courtesy Photo

Taste of the Nation

The Nonprofit Celebrates 30 Years

That the Foodbank of Santa Barbara is celebrating its 30th anniversary is both a great thing and a horrible thing — after all, in the best of all possible worlds, it wouldn’t need to exist. But this isn’t that best of worlds, as one in four people in our county are helped by the Foodbank, and 45 percent of those served are children.

The good news is it’s easy to improve the situation by going to Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation on May 20. If you go, 100 percent of your ticket will support alleviating childhood hunger. Even better, each dollar donation enables the Foodbank — this year’s sole beneficiary from Taste of the Nation — to distribute $17 of food.

And if you need another “even better,” you don’t just do good; you eat and drink well, too. Taste of the Nation will feature food from more than 25 area restaurants and beverages from more than 20 wineries and breweries. And these aren’t just any restaurants, either, or just any taste left too long in a chafing dish. We’re talking items like baby octopus braised al nero with porcini and white polenta, and frico cheese from Chef Alessandro Cartumini from Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore. When I asked if that wasn’t a bit complex an item to serve, Cartumini replied, “We will braise the octopus at the Four Seasons and finish the polenta at the Taste of the Nation. Actually, the serving part of it is the easiest side. The flavor combination of porcini, squid ink, and octopus, with a bit of tomato, is a match in heaven.”

Along with the Four Seasons Biltmore, other food providers will include Santa Barbara Independent Foodie winners like Jessica Foster Confections, New West Catering, and Ca’Dario’s ravioli al burro e silvia. The wine will be equally stellar, with everything from Alma Rosa to Whitcraft, with stops at Beckmen, Core, and Kaena along the way.

Those who prefer a bit of eye candy with their culinary delights won’t mind a cooking demo featuring Top Chef Season Five Fan Favorite Fabio Viviani and his head bartender, Jacopo Fellini, crafting a special cocktail. There’s also a VIP area for those who want to give, and get, a bit more; this special lounge area features passed items from the restaurants in attendance (so no walking about and no wait) plus a swag bag with locally donated items.

In the past 20 years, Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara has raised over a quarter-million dollars to fight hunger. Here’s your chance to help start raising the next $250K.


Share your strength at Taste of the Nation, Sunday, May 20, 3-6 p.m., Montecito Country Club (920 Summit Rd.). Advance tickets are available online at for $65 (general admission) and $95 (VIP admission); both cost more at the door.

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