Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation last night packed two floors of the Mcnichols building with a driven team of chefs, an array of dedicated bartenders, and staff of enthusiastic volunteers committed to the mission of ending childhood hunger in Colorado. Before the greater crowd of the night rolled in, Chef Matty Selby of Corner House presented the Noel Cunningham Award to chef Tyler Wiard of Elway’s. The award recognizes one chef a year that has displayed a selfless amount of effort to aiding Share Our Strength in their mission to end childhood hunger. A humbled Tyler Wiard continued to motivate his peers by reminding them that it’s not about the award – ‘that’s not why chefs do these things’ – ‘they’re just the right things to do’.

The recognition was an exciting introduction to Taste of the Nation and a strong reminder of the why the event is such a vital cause for the food and drink community to rally around – and rally they did. Over 40 restaurants and bars were represented through the culinary and beverage mediums, showcasing some of the best new offerings in Denver. A full beast breakdown by Mark DeNittis of the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat drew a crowd around the table throughout the night, new openings like La Biblioteca (formerly Al Lado),The Matador, and Session Kitchen gave exciting previews to coming fare, and truly the most prestige class of bartenders and chefs were heads-down shaking and serving all night.

Each table more unique than the next, each bite or sip at Taste of the Nation was composed and thought-out and there were definitely a few standouts. Allie Geppert and Justin Lloyd of Star Bar made the sexiest of cocktails with Spring 44’s Old Tom and both Randy and Ryan Layman brought tastes of their known-for juicing and soda programs from Ace and Steuben’s – Randy with beet juice, Ryan with blackberry soda syrup. TAG Raw’s Shaun Matoda presented a killer scallop, Zengo rolled out an amazing quick-prep ahi ceviche, and even Snooze was making a big impression on the breakfast-for-dinner types.

For the past 25 years, Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation has been raising funds to fight childhood hunger and poverty in the U.S. and beyond. Today, the funds are focused sharply on providing critical financial support and awareness for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, helping to make sure every child in America gets the nutritious food they need, every day.  We value the effort of Share Our Strength and applaud their effort on last night’s Taste of the Nation Denver – the experience was amazing and shared in great company.

Kyle Dill - Industry Denver

Justin and Allie represent Star Bar at Taste of the Nation 2013.

Justin and Allie represent Star Bar at Taste of the Nation 2013.