Those who enjoy their food best when it’s served with a big side of philanthropy should mark their calendars, as we’re looking at a couple of four-star events in the coming days.
TASTE OF THE NATION: On Sunday, May 19, Share Our Strength will host its sixth annual Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara event. The afternoon will feature food from more than 30 chefs and restaurants, wine from a who’s who of area vintners, and a little friendly Chopped-style competition, in which three teams will prepare a meal in 30 minutes using ingredients provided by Whole Foods and Fairview Gardens. Each team will include one pro chef (David Reardon, Bacara; Jason Tuley, Anchor Woodfire Kitchen; Jason Paluska, The Lark), one community leader (SBFD Captain Michael Hoose; Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin; SBCC President Lori Gaskin), and one junior high student from Fairview Gardens’ internship program.
The event goes to benefit the S.B. Foodbank, United Boys & Girls Club of S.B., California Food Policy Advocates, California Association of Food Banks, and No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength’s campaign to end childhood hunger in America. “There’s no better cause,” said Bacara Executive Chef Reardon. Anchor’s Chef Tuley agreed, adding, “As a father, as well as a member of the Santa Barbara community, opportunities like Taste of the Nation resonate with me. I’m honored to be involved in an event that brings together the culinary strength of our region in order to fight childhood hunger.”
REACHING FOR STARS: Then, next Thursday, May 23, yet another impressive roster of gastronomic talent will come together to serve up a five-course dinner at Reaching for Stars, the annual fundraiser to support Youth and Family Services YMCA. The event, which takes place at the Santa Barbara Women’s Club (Rockwood), will feature a wine-paired meal orchestrated by the Valley Club of Montecito’s Executive Chef Vincent Vanhecke, along with a stellar lineup of S.B. chefs that includes Alessandro Cartumini (Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara), Charlie Fredericks (SBCC and Anchor), Charlie Rushton (Four Seasons Biltmore), Christine Dahl-Hutchings (Christine Dahl Pastries), Greg Murphy (bouchon), James Sly (Sly’s), Michael Blackwell (Montecito Country Club), and several others.
Among the YMCA programs that will benefit from the event’s proceeds are Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, Support and Outreach Services, the I.V. Teen Center, and My Home at Artisan Court, a supportive housing program for emancipated foster youth ages 18-21, and a cause that really spoke to Chef Rushton: He’s taken his involvement beyond just a one-night event, teaching monthly cooking classes for the residents of My Home.
Taste of the Nation takes place Sunday, May 19, 3-6 p.m. at the Montecito Country Club. Tickets are $75-$100. Call (877) 26-TASTE or visit tasteofthenation.org. Reaching for Stars takes place Thursday, May 23, 5:45 p.m., at the S.B. Women’s Club (Rockwood). Tickets are $200; call 569-1103 x32.