Atlanta’s Taste of the Nation

Atlanta’s Taste of the Nation

April 18, 2019
7:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center
Galleria Parkway
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Event Details

Join Us to End Childhood Hunger in America

Prepare your taste buds for the return of the city’s most anticipated culinary event of the year, Atlanta’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry. 100% of proceeds support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America.

Together, we will end childhood hunger in America.

Interested in learning more about the 2019 event? Please reach out to Emily Palmer at


Event Chairmen

CEO Pano KaratassosAtlanta owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Buckhead Life Restaurant Group and its charismatic founder and CEO Pano Karatassos. The company raised Atlanta to a new level of dining, and earned it a spot on the country’s culinary map when it opened its flagship restaurant Pano’s and Paul’s in 1979. Today, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group owns nine of Atlanta’s top restaurants, has expanded into Boca Raton, Florida, and most recently Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with the opening of Lobster Bar Sea Grille. Pano spends a great deal of time working with local charities, particularly hunger-related causes. As the Atlanta chairperson for Share Our Strength, he has helped to raise more than $10 million. He also developed the country’s first freshly “prepared food program” for the hungry and was a founding member of Atlanta’s Table. As a result of his lifelong commitment to hunger relief and his contributions to the community, Pano was presented with the Cornerstone Humanitarian Award by the National Restaurant Association. A humble man, Pano has been known to say “My works is my hobby. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

George McKerrow JrGeorge McKerrow Jr. is a 40-year veteran of the restaurant business with a history of success in both fine dining and casual concepts. He opened the first LongHorn Steakhouse as a neighborhood restaurant in 1981, a time when Atlanta had few choices in casual dining. He successfully evolved that single location into RARE Hospitality, which owns LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille and was sold to Darden Restaurants in 2007. McKerrow retired from RARE in 2000. He co-founded We’re Cookin’ Inc. (owners of restaurants Aria & Canoe) in 1996 with Atlanta chef Gerry Klaskala and Ron San Martin. In addition to serving on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association (1997-2003) and the Culinary Institute of America (1996-2002), McKerrow received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Restaurant Association in 2007. In 2008, he was inducted into The Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame by the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. Along with his partner, media entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist Ted Turner, McKerrow founded Ted’s Montana Grill in January 2002 and serves as the company’s CEO.

Honorary Chairs

2018 Honorary Chef

Alton Brown
Producer, Author and Food Network Host

2018 Honorary Chair

Evander Holyfield
Olympic Medalist, Entrepreneur and Only 5x Heavyweight Champion of the World



Atlanta Community Food Bank

The Atlanta Community Food Bank works closely with the food and hospitality industries to collect and distribute more than 50 million pounds of food annually. Groceries and meals are provided for children, families and individuals suffering from hunger and food insecurity through a network of more than 600 local nonprofits that receive food from the Food Bank. Reaching beyond its core focus of food distribution, the Food Bank helps families increase their economic security, grow food with neighbors and ensure their children’s success in school through projects such as the Prosperity Campaign, Community Gardens and Kids In Need. Nearly 40% of households served through the Food Bank network include children.

Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters

Cooking Matters empowers low-income families with the skills to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home, as part of the No Kid Hungry® campaign to end childhood hunger in America. Cooking Matters serves families across the country through hands-on, six-week cooking courses; interactive grocery store tours; and mobile, online and educational tools. Participants learn to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals. Cooking Matters is nationally sponsored by the Walmart Foundation. To learn more, visit Cooking Cooking Matters is implemented in the Atlanta Area by Open Hand.

Our House

Our House is non-profit resource for families experiencing homelessness, offering programs designed to meet the unique needs of each family member: Early Childhood Education, Emergency Shelter, Employment Readiness Training, and Family Advocacy. In addition to a gold-standard education, Our House childcare centers provide hundreds of nutritious meals every day for children who might otherwise go hungry. Their shelter program meets the basic needs of families, including healthy daily meals and infant formula for newborns, so that families have space to focus on achieving stable housing. Our House has served thousands of families over 28 years of operations, and continues to address the challenges of homelessness, poverty and hunger; striving to empower families with the skills to create and maintain the path to self-sufficiency.

The Georgia Citizens’ Coalition on Hunger

The Georgia Citizens’ Coalition on Hunger is a nonprofit organization located in southeast Atlanta. Our mission is “to end hunger, homelessness and poverty in the state of Georgia” though a holistic and comprehensive approach in addressing the conditions of hunger and poverty. The Hunger Coalition has played a critical role in increasing participation of eligible households in the Food Stamp Program. We also launched a statewide campaign effort to expand the WIC program, School Breakfast and the Summer Feeding Programs across the state. They coordinate several community projects that serve low income families.

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute produces research and state budget analysis to show Georgia ways to provide better education, health care and opportunity for everyone.

Captain Planet Foundation

Captain Planet Foundation was founded by Ted Turner in 1991 and now chaired by his daughter Laura Turner Seydel. The Foundation supports high-quality, hands-on environmental stewardship projects that have enabled more than 1.1M youth across the U.S. and around the world make significant environmental improvements to their schools or communities.

Auction Items

Dream DC Dining Experience

Win this exciting lot, and you and a lucky guest will jet (business class on Delta!) to Washington, D.C. for the June 13 dinner honoring famed chef Jose Andres, who will send you home with autographed aprons. The multi-course meal with wine pairings, benefitting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program, will be held at Union Market’s gorgeous Dock 5 event space, with courses by chefs Matt Friedman (The Red Hen), Nick Stefanelli (Masseria), Kevin Tien (Himitsu), and Kwame Onwuachi (Kith & Kin).

You’ll spend your nights at the posh Intercontinental Washington D.C. The Wharf. While you’re in town, Chef Onwuachi will welcome you to Kith & Kin for dinner and a behind-the-scenes tour

Compliments of No Kid Hungry and Kith & Kin. Package includes $1200 in flight vouchers and $600 in hotel stay

Atlanta Eats Co-Host Experience

Instead of merely being a fan of the popular Atlanta-based TV show Atlanta Eats, the lucky winner of this exciting lot will be a guest co-host! You’ll get to choose a restaurant scheduled during the 2018 season, and then you’ll attend the filming to co-host the behind-the-scenes kitchen action with Atlanta Eats founder and host Steak Shapiro.

During the taping, you’ll feature prominently in the storyline, chatting with one of Atlanta’s hottest chefs and tasting along the way. Then, after the fun of filming, settle in with nine of your friends for a multi-course wine dinner at the featured restaurant. After a fantastic meal, look out for “your” episode of Atlanta Eats, the premier resource for food enthusiasts across metro Atlanta, which will run at least six times this year.

Compliments of Atlanta Eats.

SweetWater Brewery Takeover with Marlow’s Tavern

Round up 50 of your friends for a private party at the mammoth indoor-outdoor brewery. You can’t buy this kind of VIP access! You and your guests will enjoy private brewery tours, tastings and explanations of the award-winning flavors that put SweetWater on the map and specialty glassware to take home.

As the host, you’ll even choose the flavors for a custom cask to serve at the party! All that tasting and drinking will leave your crew hungry. The chefs at Marlow’s Tavern will be on-site with burgers and bites sure to fuel you up for even more fun.

Compliments of SweetWater Brewery, United Distributors and Marlow’s Tavern.

NYC Curated by Food Network’s Alton Brown

You and a lucky guest will fly to the city in Delta’s plush first class cabin. Once you’re on the ground, you’ll settle into one of Alton’s favorite boutique hotels, The Beekman, a historic Thompson Hotel built in the 1700s. Two nights here are sure to make guests feel like Manhattan royalty.

Stretch your legs with a Brown-designed food tour including breakfast at Zucker’s Bagels and coffee at 9th Street Espresso.

Finish your culinary experience with a meal at award-winning Chef Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto, where the team will make sure your experience is unforgettable.

Johnny’s Hideaway and Vintage Sign

There’s nowhere more iconic to dance the night away in Atlanta than Buckhead’s Johnny’s Hideaway, which has been keeping grown ups young since 1979. So round up 30 of your closest friends for a dance party to remember. You’ll take over the dance floor to tunes from Sinatra to Ludacris and everything in between.

Often called “the Cheers of Atlanta,” Johnny’s expert bartenders will keep the cocktails flowing for three exciting hours. Best of all, the lucky winner of this lot will take home a piece of Atlanta history: the original Johnny’s Hideaway Roswell Road street sign.

Compliments of Johnny’s Hideaway. Dates upon availability, Fridays and Saturdays excluded. Expires May 3, 2019.

New Zealand Ultimate Wine Experience

You and a lucky guest will embark on the trip of a lifetime, hosted by Villa Maria Estate, New Zealand’s most awarded winery, during which you’ll explore both the North and the South islands. Upon arrival in Aukland, you’ll stay two nights at the world-class hotel within the Viaduct Harbour and enjoy a private VIP tour, tastings and lunch at Villa Maria Aukland.

Next, you’ll jetset to Marlborough, the Sauvignon Blanc capital of the world. There, you’ll stay in your very own apartment tucked among the vines of Villa Maria for two nights and enjoy a Kiwi-style BBQ on the grounds. Next you’ll spend one night in Napier in the Hawkes Bay region and taste your way through the award-winning wines of Villa Maria’s boutique winery, Esk Valley.

Compliments of Villa Maria Wine Estate and United Distributors. Trip includes $2,000 in flight credit, expires 5/3/19.  Dates must be scheduled 3 months in advance with Villa Maria, subject to availability.

In Home Dinner by Atlanta’s Most Exciting New Chefs

Say you “knew them when” with this dinner! This group of chefs – including Andrew Isabella (Beetlecat), Chris Grossman (Atlas), Jonathan Kallini (Bacchanalia), Matthew Ridgway (Cooks and Soldiers) and Matt Basford (Canoe) will pull out all the stops for a thrilling five-course dinner, right in your own home. Your party of 12 guests will never forget this outstanding meal, which will be custom-designed to your taste, paired with wine and cocktails, courtesy of National Distributing Company.

Compliments of the participating chefs, their restaurants and National Distributing Company. Based on chef and sommelier availability, Sunday – Thursday. Minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Expires 5/3/19.

VIP Sunset Cruise with Atlanta’s Favorite Chefs

This VIP sunset party will take summer fun to the next level, as Chefs Kevin Rathbun (Rathbun’s, KR Steakbar, Kevin Rathbun Steak), Chris Hall (Local Three Kitchen and Bar), Jamie Adams (Il Giallo), Gerry Klaskala (Aria) and Peter Kaiser (Kaiser’s Chophouse) become your hosts for the evening, grilling and whipping up their signature specialities, paired with wine, beer and cocktails from an open bar.

Aboard The Amistad, Tommy Bagwell’s gorgeous three-level houseboat, this floating party will be set to tunes spun by DJ Fernando Fernando. Instead of competing for this exciting lot, encourage your friends to raise their paddles too, since we’re selling 100 tickets, priced at $250 per person. You won’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime summer soiree, hosted by some of Atlanta’s favorite culinary personalities!

Bon-Voyage with Award-Winning Chefs

What can bring together the best cuisine of Italy, Greece, Belgium, South Africa and Japan? Raise your paddle and some of Atlanta’s talented international executive chefs will bring an unforgettable dinner for 12 right to your home.

The meal will be tailored to your tastes by Pricci’s Piero Premoli (“Reader’s Choice Best Restaurant” – The Atlantan and Atlanta’s only restaurant recognized by prestigious Accademia Italiana Della Cucina), Umi and Himitsu’s Fuyuhiko Ito (“Best sushi in the South” –The New York Times and “Top 21 sushi restaurants in America” –Time Out Magazine, New York), Cape Dutch and Yebo’s Phillipe Haddad (“Hottest Restaurant 2016” –Jezebel and The Atlantan), and Kyma’s Pano Karatassos (“Reader’s Choice, Best Chef 2016” –The Atlantan and “Best Greek Restaurant in the Country” –The Rosengarten Report). Each course will be paired with top-tier wines provided by National Distributing Company.

Compliments of the participating chefs, their restaurants and National Distributing Company.

Cheer on the UGA Dawgs with Evander Holyfield

Taste of The Nation Atlanta Honorary Chair Evander Holyfield is no stranger to championship titles. What could be better than watching Georgia’s Bulldogs along side the only 5 time heavyweight champion in history? \

On November 17th, you and a guest will accompany the boxing legend for VIP tailgating before the UMass game in Athens’ Samford Stadium. Once the team takes the field “between the hedges,” you’ll experience all the action. Whether coach Kirby Smart’s Dawgs win or lose the day, the high bidder on this priceless sporting package will score memories to last a lifetime.

Compliments of Evander Holyfield

Legends of Atlanta Dining In-Home Dinner

In-home dining experience for 12 from Atlanta’s most famous chefs.

Get ready to bid on a stellar lot – for an unforgettable dinner with some of Atlanta’s biggest culinary stars. Your party of 12 guests will experience a dazzling six course meal customized to your preferences by Chefs Gary Donlick (Bistro Niko), Doug Turbush (Seed Kitchen & Bar, Stem Wine Bar, Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar), Jamie Adams (il Giallo), Chris Hall (Local Three, Muss and Turner’s, Eleanor’s), Kevin Gillespie (Gunshow, Revival, Communion and forthcoming Gamechanger) and Gerry Klaskala (Aria). This priceless dinner will be served in the comfort of your own home and with wine and cocktails, courtesy of National Distributing Company. Bidder, up!

Compliments of participating chefs, their restaurants and National Distributing Company.

*Based on chef and sommelier availability, Sunday – Thursday – minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Expires 4/20/18.

For more information on live auction packages, please contact Allison Palestrini (678)-516-8317


Jeff Dauler, The Jeff and Jenn Show on Star 94.1

Jenn Hobby, The Jeff and Jenn Show on Star 94.1

Christine Pullara, Atlanta & Company on WXIA-TV / 11 Alive


Continue your wonderful evening out by booking a room right at the venue! The Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel is offering a special group rate of $135 for the evening of Atlanta’s Taste of the Nation. Guests can make individual reservations before the cut-off date of Thursday, March 28th by calling Marriott Reservations at 1 (888) 391-8724 or online using the reservation link.

Ticket Levels

Grand Tasting

Includes admission from 7:00 – 10:30 p.m.


Participating Restaurants


National Sponsors

National Co-Presenting Sponsors

Citi Sysco

Media Sponsor

Food Network

National Sponsor


Local Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors

Georgia Crown Distributing Co.Empire DistributorsPrime Wine and SpiritsActive Production and DesignRepublic National Distributing CompanyUnited DistributorsPulte HomesWinebow Fine Wine and Spirits

Platinum Sponsors

Coca-Cola FoodserviceThe Billi Marcus FoundationRenaissance Hotels

Gold Sponsors

Atlanta Wholesale WineAtlanta Falcons Youth FoundationAtlanta United FC

Silver Sponsors

Premier AgencyAlscoBuckhead Life Restaurant GroupTreebird Branding

Media Sponsors

Simply Buckhead17th South11 AliveFlavors MagazineAtlanta Homes & LifestylesAtlanta EatsEncore AtlantaRestaurant InformerSouthern SeasonsDining Out AtlantaAtlanta Journal ConstitutionThe Atlantan

Bronze Sponsors

AmeriPrideThe Cook’s WarehouseMoore Colson CPAs and AdvisorsPeachtree Tents and Events

Thank You To

Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co.